Al Harrington

I Can’t Tell…Did the Warriors Beat the Nets or the Spurs?

Thursday night’s 121-119 win over the Nets caused several outbursts of celebration from Nellie’s bunch.

About 20,000 people leaving Oracle Arena last night may disagree, but those displays were even more worrisome than the deuce they dropped against Minnesota on Monday.

(Check Below for a point-by-point analysis of the that game, if you haven’t already and have about an hour to kill)

The Martin Luther King Day Massacre was at a weird time for an NBA player to be awake (1:00 p.m.), and the Warriors had just gotten back from a long road trip through several cold, semi-depressed Midwestern cities.

But they had two nights to prepare for the Nets, a team that just concluded their sixth straight loss just two nights earlier to Sacramento – the same Nets team that has been busy looking for trade options and figuring out when to fire coach Lawrence Frank.

After not only giving up a sizable first half lead but going behind by nine points, the Warriors went on a mega-run that was twice punctuated by Al Harrington three’s. That’s fine, the NBA is built on runs, everyone knows that.

But I’m conflicted over the reaction to Harrington’s three-balls. After one gave the Dub’s a one-point lead, Stephen Jackson went over and patted Harrington on the head. It was almost like Stephen was treating Al like a little dog, a pomeranian perhaps.

Later on, another three gave the Warriors a nine point lead. After getting back on defense Stack and Al ran and did that turn-sideways-and-run-into-each-other-in-the-air thing that seemingly all NBA and NFL players do as the new “high five.”

Part of me loves the exuberance and wants to appreciate NBA players showing the excitement of a college or high school team. But, to celebrate in the middle of the fourth quarter of a game still very much in doubt against a below-average team…it just didn’t look right.

Shouldn’t the Warriors be beyond celebrating three’s against the Nets at home? Even taking into account that the Warriors’ fast-paced style leads to more possessions and scoring opportunities for both teams, isn’t it still a bit worrisome that the Nets (who currently average 94 points/game, fourth-worst in the league) scored 119 points in Oracle?

Conceding the entire painted area to Josh Boone was also disconcerting. You can make fun of him for his hair, his nose or his free-throw shooting, but Boone was the best center on the floor last night. Actually, he may have been the only center out there, since Biedrins didn’t try to block a shot until the fourth quarter.

Even with their $10 million trade exception and all the Pietruses in the world, there’s no way the Warriors are going to get their Tyson Chandler/Marcus Camby, a big man who can run and block shots, in a trade. The only way the Warriors make it out of the first round of the playoffs is if they either get an unbelievably favorable matchup (like Dallas last year) or if Brandan Wright and/or Patrick O’Bryant have an Andrew Bynum-like awakening, unlikely since Nellie is about as likely to play either player as I am to rent the movie “Hairspray” tonight.

With Baron having the best year of his career, the time to go for a championship is now, not in two or three years. That’s good news for a team that had been waiting for any speck of positivity for a dozen years. But if they are that pleased with themselves after an effort like last night’s against the Nets, they will have to be satisfied with being one of the most entertaining teams in the NBA, not one of the best.

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