The Golden State Warriors are on a cusp of winning 73 games and losing less than 10 games in a single NBA season. They have won consecutive NBA games because they did not allow their flaws and weaknesses be exposed on the basketball court, instead they showed 29 other NBA teams their strengths and what they can do with a basketball. It is truly gifted basketball players at work. We can appreciate a seven footer like Andrew Bogut facilitating like a point guard and running the break after a rebound and he can pass very well too. Draymond Green is the Warriors’ hustle and flow for rebounds, defense, and blocks. He can really handle a basketball for a point forward and he can run with the best of them. Harrison Barnes is a talented three-point shooter and he is one of the better perimeter defenders. Klay Thompson is also another talented three-point shooter and he can run with the best of them also. Klay has the ability to make shots from anywhere on the court. Stephen Curry is the Warriors’ MVP and he doesn’t have a lack of enthusiasm for taking and hoisting a lot of three point shots. He makes more three-pointers than he misses usually and rarely will he have an off-night. If the Warriors reach 73 wins, they will be in the record books forever as the 2015-16 Warriors that broke the record of the 1995-96 Chicago Bulls 72-10 record.
Golden State Warriors head coach Steve Kerr knew what he was doing when he stepped in to coach these players. He made sure they knew to play the right way and to show up professionally and make correct decisions on the basketball court. From Stephen Curry to Klay Thompson to Draymond Green to Andrew Bogut to Harrison Barnes, these Warriors showed up to play ball and contribute in each and every way as possible. There wasn’t anything to ask from them. They’d do it for the team.
The New Orleans Pelicans face the Golden State Warriors, the basketball squad coached by first timer Steve Kerr. What becomes of the behemoth that Kerr has gotten here to the first round of the playoffs? Can Stephen Curry help these Warriors get to the Finals and eventually the NBA title? We’d like to see that. We also can’t rule out Anthony Davis and these Pelicans. Davis will make Andrew Bogut work, because he is more athletic, faster, and agile than Bogut is.
Steve Kerr’s Warriors are rotating on defense, contesting open shots, and playing man-to-man suffocating defense that is made to make anyone look tight trying to play basketball. They do trap in the half court set, but they don’t seal off the baseline as fast as the San Antonio Spurs do it for their coach, Gregg Popovich. Led by big men Mareese Speights, David Lee, Draymond Green, Andrew Bogut, and Festus Ezeli, and foreign Ognjen Kuzmic, the Warriors have a supply of rebounders and defenders. Kerr has his Warriors buying into his defensive system and they are on a roll since the start of the NBA season.
The Golden State Warriors, led by coach Steve Kerr, have the best record in the NBA. Kerr has the Warriors buying and adjusting to the coaching system in his first season. Now, there is no need for having David Lee starting because Draymond Green is doing his best, if not better job than David Lee at playing basketball. Stephen Curry is still the NBA’s best perimeter shooter and Klay Thompson is also a lights-out shooter. If I were playing against the Warriors, I wouldn’t give Curry or Thompson the green light to shoot from three-land or from anywhere on the court. Golden State has two backup guards in Leandro Barbosa and Shaun Livingston who can create shots as well as Andre Iguodala who can manage to play some point for them. You can expect Andrew Bogut to play his all. He is ably-bodied for the assignment to play basketball. The Warriors are playing the basketball and stopping the ball from going into the basket. That’s how they are succeeding as a team.
The addition of Andre Iguodala in the Golden State Warriors offseason made a dividend now when he made a clutch last second shot against the Oklahoma City Thunder to win it 116-115. Iguodala had 14 points and 9 assists. Warrior teammate Klay Thompson had 27 points to pace the Warriors in their thrilling victory. Stephen Curry had 22 points also to pace Golden State as well. Moving Iguodala to the small forward position and having Harrison Barnes come off the bench may seem a savvy move for Warriors head coach Mark Jackson, but worries to Mark Jackson on how to divvy up the minutes between both Iguodala and Barnes, because both are worthy of having 20+ minutes.
The Warriors have a very good defensive team, worthy of breaking down the game with their fast-paced pack of steals and blocked shots anchored by Andrew Bogut. With Andre Iguodala, they have a perimeter player who can defend the other team’s best perimeter scorer and make mad baskets on the other end. They may have a better basketball team statistically ahead of the San Antonio Spurs and the Indiana Pacers, because of what they can do on the defensive end in terms of generating steals for their offense. The best offense is their defense, as always the saying, “defense wins championships.”
The Knicks are clawing back against a balanced Indiana Pacers squad. New York is down 3-2 against Indiana and are forcing the Pacers to play a Game 6. What gives? Why are the New York Knicks giving the Indiana Pacers a fight in their playoff series? The Pacers haven’t exactly solved containing Carmelo Anthony’s scoring neither have they played solid defense against New York’s streaky perimeter shooters. Indiana has allowed New York to shoot as many jumpers and three pointers as much as they can.
I saw clearly that Scott Brooks’ Oklahoma City squad had a tough time trying to handle the grit-and-grind Memphis Grizzlies. These aren’t the Houston Rockets that the Thunder faced in round one. This is a Memphis team that is willing to back you to the basket and make you play their style of basketball. Oklahoma City tried to look comfortable playing basketball against Memphis, but it didn’t really show. We didn’t really see Serge Ibaka’s shot-blocking brilliance or Kevin Durant finding his way to the hole with easy dunks and baskets and shooting open jumpers. The Grizzlies’ best perimeter defender, Tony Allen found a way to get inside Kevin Durant’s head and Durant let it show to the referees that he wasn’t getting calls when he was getting hit by Tony Allen.
San Antonio showed Golden State what playoff basketball is all about. The Spurs played their brand of basketball as Tim Duncan showed an array of post moves as Andrew Bogut, Festus Ezeli, Andris Biedrins, and Carl Landry all were trying to deny Duncan’s points. Manu Ginobli and Tony Parker had their way around the paint as they got their points. The Warriors backcourt of Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson couldn’t contain Ginobli and Parker.
In the Miami-Chicago series, I see that the Heat weren’t quite prepared for Game 1, despite the layoff they had between series against the Milwaukee Bucks in the first round and the Chicago Bulls in their semi finals. Despite losing Game 1, the Heat recovered and beat the Bulls four games straight. Miami beat Chicago on talent alone. Chicago doesn’t have anyone in Lebron James’ caliber star power or Dwyane Wade’s athleticism or Chris Bosh’s shooting. The Bulls are clearly missing Derrick Rose and they do not have anyone who can replace Rose with Carlos Boozer’s whose solid combination of perimeter shooting and rebounding are invaluable and Joakim Noah’s rebounding and defense are key to Chicago’s success.
Nothing much has changed about the Indiana Pacers, although they have recently acquired D.J. Augustin from the Charlotte Bobcats and Ian Mahinmi. How well will they play after last season’s finish against the Miami Heat in the 2012 NBA playoffs? Will Danny Granger get any better? Will Roy Hibbert try and be a better offensive and defensive force?
If you’ve read my previous basketball posts, I am really excited by what the L.A. Clippers have done this summer. They have added Lamar Odom and Grant Hill and acquired Ryan Hollins, Jamal Crawford, and Willie Green. They really can’t and won’t do any harm for them this season, although I regret saying that if they do have had high expectations since last season, they will regress a bit this year.
I really can’t emphasize this any further, but can the L.A. Lakers get any better and bigger by trading for one of the biggest big men in NBA history in Dwight Howard. Steve Nash is also the Lakers’ biggest acquisition too. But one thing that will hold the Lakers back if they don’t win the 2013 NBA title is age.
One of the three characteristics that strike me most about the Memphis Grizzlies is hustle. They have heart and the grind. When they hustle, they really go after it. Tony Allen and Marc Gasol have to be two of the Grizzlies’ best hustle players. It’s really a shame that Memphis let O.J. Mayo go to Dallas in hopes of the Mavericks getting better last season after winning the NBA title two seasons ago.
I really liked how Miami went after Ray Allen and Rashard Lewis this summer. The starting five will give opposing teams field days with a lineup of Dwyane Wade and Ray Allen in the backcourt, Lebron James and Rashard Lewis in the front court and Chris Bosh at center. This star-studded cast of superstars will go after the NBA title again for another year. What will hold the Heat back? Repeating is harder than winning an NBA title for the first time.
The Bucks have an ultra fast back court in Monta Ellis and Brandon Jennings. They eliminated the slow and fleet footed Andrew Bogut at center and sent him to the Golden State Warriors. What about their defense? It’s nonexistent now.
I expect to see Ben Gordon contribute in some big way to the Charlotte Bobcats’ offense. I really don’t see the Bobcats having an exciting season to the NBA playoffs. Expect Charlotte to make an impact with their youth movement.
The Cleveland Cavaliers will be held back by the lack of depth. Kyrie Irving is the engine that runs the ship and he is the engine that will stop running the ship also. There will be no surprises here in the Cavs’ season.
The Mavericks get Elton Brand to pair up with Dirk Nowitzki? What are they thinking? Darren Collison has come abroad now with his scoring offense first and his assists-to-turnover ratio second. They’ve got Chris Kaman and O.J. Mayo from the Memphis Grizzlies now.
Watch and see the Denver Nuggets get hammered by Javale McGee’s personal development. He will hold back the Nuggets’ positive process as Denver is rebuilding behind their new acquisition in Andre Iguodala, their best perimeter defender.
Expect to see the Detroit Pistons rebuild in these better days behind draft pick Andre Drummond as he pairs up with Greg Monroe in the frontcourt. The Pistons aren’t expected to do any better, but is Tayshaun Prince happy in Detroit these few declining NBA seasons of missing the NBA playoffs?
The Golden State Warriors are in need of some really good bench players. They signed Andrew Bogut last season during the trade deadline. Watch and see how Harrison Barnes develops for the Warriors. He is a good NBA player who will be expected to thrive in this type of competitive and physical environment.
The Houston Rockets have too much youth. They have a lot of players on their roster who are either rookies or are 26 years old and under. They don’t have a clear-cut leader for this team. Better be Jeremy Lin or they’re really lost.