I was reading Geoff Lepper’s outstanding blog today, and a quote from Don Nelson made me almost spit out my coffee:
“Well, it was a small man’s game tonight, the way we figured it. And our small team had to play really well. And their small team outplayed us, that’s all. . . . That’s been my problem, when we go small, the other team’s small team is often better. Makes it kind of a difficult time. But I think it was a match-up that we had to do. We had to go small. I don’t think any of our bigs could’ve guarded their front line-up.”
OK, let me get this straight. When the Warriors go small, the other team’s small line-up is usually better. But against the Magic, the Warriors had to go small, because Orlando’s best players going into the game were Rashard Lewis and Hedo Turkoglu.
So the answer is to go extremely small (a starting line-up of C.J. Watson, Jamal Crawford, Kelenna Azubuike, Stephen Jackson and Andris Biedrins), a lineup so soft that Marcin Freaking Gortat is allowed to score 16 points and grab 13 rebounds (7 offensive) in 27 minutes. And even worse, the small lineup is unable to keep Jameer Nelson (generously listed at 6-0) from scoring 32 points.
Meanwhile, in a game where the Warriors never threatened to even come close to winning, Nelson decided not to use Tony Randolph until the last 2:21, when the game was already decided. Ronny Turiaf (14 min) and Brandan Wright (12 min) were barely utilized more, even though Biedrins was horribly overmatched on defense.
I guess Nelson would rather lose going small than lose going big, even though on the scoreboard they’ve been losing big all season.