Archive for the ‘Golden State Warriors’ Category

Monta Ellis

Two teams with nothing to play for… except their pride. OK, probably not that, either. The Warriors have lost six straight and have allowed an average of 115 points in those games. If nothing else, I expect this to be a high-scoring, entertaining game — although I suspect many of you will only catch the second half because you’ll be watching Sweet 16 games, and I can’t say I blame you.

Fun fact: The Warriors and their 30-42 record would only be two games behind eighth-place Indiana in the Eastern Conference. Another way of looking at it is that they might actually be a playoff team in the East because they’d have an easier schedule. Whichever team they faced in the first round would probably score 500 points against them over a four-game sweep, though.

Injury report

Toronto: Amir Johnson and Reggie Evans are out, Leandro Barbosa and Joey Dorsey are game-time decisions.

Golden State: Andris Biedrins is out with a sprained ankle, which means we’ll miss the beautiful artistry of his free throw shooting stroke.

Five questions

1. If Reggie and Amir are going to be out for a few games, would you like to see Joey Dorsey get some burn to see if he’s worth keeping around?

2. What were the Warriors thinking when they drafted Ekpe Udoh as a 23-year-old with the sixth overall pick in the 2010 draft?

3. Will Jeremy Lin surpass Saul Mariaschin as the best NBA player to ever come out of Harvard?

4. Do you think Keith Smart would ever have landed an NBA coaching job if his name was Keith Stupidhead?

5. How suicidal will you be if the Raptors draft Jimmer Fredette?

Start time: 10:30 PM ET
Channel: Sportsnet One
Probable starting lineups
Toronto: Jose Calderon, DeMar DeRozan, James Johnson, Ed Davis, Andrea Bargnani
Golden State: Stephen Curry, Monta Ellis, Dorell Wright, Ekpe Udoh, David Lee

Tonight’s pregame song is “Bumpin’ Bumpin’” by Kreayshawn because she’s from Oakland and because Chris Dart loves her. You, however, might find that this song makes you long for the soulful warbling of Rebecca Black. To each their own, I suppose.

Andrea Bargnani

Andrea Bargnani finished with 11 points and one rebound in 21 minutes last night. In his fifth season, he's averaging a career-low 4.8 rebounds per 36 minutes. (Getty Images)

Well, now we know. Most of us knew going into this season that the Raptors wouldn’t be a playoff team, but it took seven games for us to truly measure how bad this team was going to be. After last night’s lackluster effort against the Warriors, there is a strong possibility that the Raptors are the worst team in the Eastern Conference.

This team lacks star talent, plain and simple. Not a single one of these players is an above-average NBA starter. Their supposed “best player”, Andrea Bargnani, is a sixth man paid like a quality starter. Improbably, his help defense and rebounding effort appear to have worsened since last season. Whether it’s due to frustration because of the losing environment or the fact that he doesn’t seem to be held accountable for anything other than his offensive contributions, it’s time to acknowledge that he’s an abject failure as a frontcourt starter. I don’t even think that playing him next to a defensive-minded center would solve anything — power forwards need to rebound and defend, too.

The Warriors are a formidable offensive squad, without question. Stephen Curry and Monta Ellis make up one of the most dangerous backcourts in the league and they combined for 62 points on just 38 field goal attempts last night. The Raptors couldn’t guard them on the perimeter and they were met with minimal resistance when they drove to the basket. More importantly, the Warriors played harder and smarter than the Raptors. Let’s look at a couple of examples of the Raptors’ lazy, dumb play.

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Garrett Ellwood/Getty Images

Foolish people disguising themselves as basketball experts will tell you that the Raptors lost tonight simply because the Warriors are a better basketball team, or blame the fact that the first home game after a West coast trip is always tough.

While the facts themselves are probably both true, neither is a valid reason for tonight’s debacle.

Simply not being good enough was the case in Utah, L.A. and Portland, not tonight.

The “tired after a West coast trip” excuse might hold water, but not when your opponent is a West coast team coming off of a game last night.

The truth is the Raptors lost to the Warriors because for too long a period of time tonight, they played like they didn’t give a crap.

Now, there were instances during those stretches that luck wasn’t on the Raptors side. The officiating was awful, the coaching was worse and some of the bounces that go against Toronto are really hard to believe unless you see them.

But when you have as little talent and experience as this Raptors team does, you can’t afford to take a possession off, a few minutes off, let alone play half the game as if Nike started making lead shoes.

A quick note about the Warriors: If Steph Curry and Monta Ellis continue to play the way they did tonight, the Warriors, as a team, continue to rebound the ball, and they pay even a little attention on the defensive end, they will be a surprisingly good team this season.

Speaking of Monta Ellis, there was a scary incident at the end of the ball game where Ellis ended up out cold on the floor (not sure how yet), his body in a sickening position. He walked off the court very slowly. Hopefully Monta will be alright.

A note about Jay Triano. I really didn’t want to get on him this season because he doesn’t have enough talent on the roster to do much with, but tonight was an ugly performance by the Canadian skipper. He continues to find ways to cool his own hot players off by sticking to stubborn rotations while rarely cooling off the opposing players. I think he has the 2k Sports automatic coach option selected, where the computer makes the same substitutions at the same time of every game, no matter how the game is unfolding. In addition, his play calling out of timeouts remains laughable.

Lastly, I leave you with this. I believed this team would surprise some critics and win over 30 games. But even I looked at the schedule and thought coming out of November 6-11 would be an accomplishment. Now, I think this team will be doomed by something like a 4-13 or 3-14 start.

Raptors Player of the Game: Jarret Jack – 38 Min, 24 Pts, 7-13 FG, 1-3 3Pt, 9-10 FT, 1 Reb, 8 Ast, 3 Stl (the only starter with a positive plus/minus)

Warriors Player of the Game: Stephen Curry – 36 Min, 34 Pts, 12-21 FG, 2-4 3Pt, 8-8 FT, 5 Reb, 4 Ast, 3 Stl

Goat of the Game: Jose Calderon – 10 Min, 0 Pts, 0-4 FG, 1 Ast, 2 TO

Rodney Carney and Jeremy Lin

Don’t look now, but the Warriors might actually be good this season. They’re off to a 4-2 start and their defense under new coach Keith Smart is 13th in the NBA with 105.5 points allowed per 100 possessions. Nevertheless, the Raptors should view this as a winnable game and if they fall to 1-6 with a loss tonight, it’s probably time to come to terms with the likelihood that they are one of the worst teams in the league.

This is the last game on Sportsnet ONE for about a month, which is nice because I don’t particularly enjoy watching these games on crappy Internet feeds — not that I would actually do that, because that would be wrong. On the injury front, Sonny Weems has a sore ankle (possibly from overuse due to all the jumpshots he’s been taking) but he’s expected to play tonight. The Warriors are healthy except for Louis Amundson and Ekpe Udoh, who are both out indefinitely.

Five questions

1. Can Monta Ellis win the scoring title this season? He’s currently leading the league with 27.8 points per game.

2. Is Dorell Wright the early favorite for Most Improved Player? He’s averaging 18 points per game this season after averaging just 7.1 points per game last season with the Heat.

3. Is Linas Kleiza slumping or is he just not very good?

4. Warriors reserve Dan Gadzuric is in the last year of a six-year, $36 million contract and he’s averaging 10 minutes per game and 10.1 fouls per 36 minutes this season. Are we looking at Amir Johnson’s future?

5. Who would win in a shooting competition between Andris Biedrins and Reggie Evans? I’ll tell you who would lose: anyone watching.

Start time: 7:00 PM ET
Channel: Sportsnet ONE
Liveblog: Romy Aquino on theScore.com and ScoreMobile
Probable starting lineups
Toronto: Jarrett Jack, DeMar DeRozan, Linas Kleiza, Reggie Evans, Andrea Bargnani
Golden State: Stephen Curry, Monta Ellis, Dorell Wright, David Lee, Andris Biedrins

Tonight’s pregame song is “Mastermind” by Deltron 3030, featuring Oakland native Del Tha Funkee Homosapien. I defy you to listen to this track without nodding your head to the beat.