Golden State Warriors coach Mark Jackson was deeply perturbed that his team lost to the Bobcats. “We didn’t show up,” Jackson said. “Somehow my guys didn’t come out ready to play.” C’mon, Mark, your team’s not better than that. The Warriors have long tried to unburden free market offense by eliminating defensive uncertainty, and on Saturday the Bobcats took full advantage of the deregulation. As much as I would like to think that coach Silas’s decision to insert Kemba Walker into the starting lineup stimulated our flow, I’ll be much more convinced when it works against a team whose defensive strategy doesn’t revolve around Nate Robinson taking ridiculous dives against DJ Augustin as if he had just tried to tackle Earl Campbell.
Not that I’m complaining! After the previous night’s disembowelment at the hands of the Pistons, I’ll take what I can get. Greg Monroe and Jonas Jerebko ate our front court alive on Friday, and for awhile on Saturday it looked like the only thing that had changed were the names—to David Lee and Andris Biedrins. But Biedrins mysteriously vanished after just 14 minutes of playing time (Did he hurt his ankle? Was he kidnapped by aliens and returned to his home planet of Ken Doll Hair?), and the Warriors foolishly abandoned going to Lee down low. Why? I don’t know, because when you check out his shot chart of makes in the first and second quarters, it looks like someone emptied a Tek-9 a foot away from the rim.
I suspect that the answer is probably no more complicated than, “Because they’re the Warriors.” Monta Ellis (restrained as always) went 6-for-26, rookie Klay Thompson (0-for-5 on 3’s) has already been corrupted, and Robinson is still doing those Nate Robinson-type things. A part of me wants someone to rescue Charles Jenkins before he also turns into yet another tragic Golden State delinquent. (side note: I notice Jenkins is from Hostra, and that Hoftstra is no longer the Flying Dutchmen—why not? Was it considered racist? And when they were the Flying Dutchmen, what were the female teams called?)
Listen to me! I’m so used to watching the Bobcats play terrible basketball that when they actually win, I just start diagnosing how bad the other team is. I need to enjoy the success. How about our shot selection? We’re currently 25th in the league at getting points in the paint; if we could duplicate what we did to the Warriors every night we’d be in second (and kudos to Gerald Henderson for recognizing that he needs to go to the hoop more). Relatedly, we’re second to last in free throws per possession at 17.5%; last night we doubled that.
And then, unbelievably—or perhaps totally believably—our 20-point lead to start the 4th quarter went all the way down to 6. Make no mistake: the Warriors absolutely could have taken this game, and easily. But again, they’re the Warriors. Watching these clowns square off in the 4th quarter was like watching a fight to the death between Pee-Wee Herman and Urkel, with every silly turnover and bad shot by one team being one-upped by the other. The Bobcats also managed to go into the penalty in seemingly record time, and then Boris Diaw decided that he’d be damned if only playing 20 minutes was going to stop him from averaging 3 turnovers a game. But in a potential breakout performance, Walker saved our bacon with a sweet jumper, a layup, and a drawn offensive foul. Game and losing streak over.
With the Cavaliers in town on MLK Day, we’ll see whether the Bobcats have truly reformed themselves or if this was just a one-night stand with the slutty Warriors.