Don Nelson notched his 1,300th victory when the Warriors beat the Thunder 133-120, putting him 32 regular season wins away from tying Lenny Wilkens’ all-time record. After watching in person how the Warriors react to their coach however, it’s hard to imagine how Nelson can enjoy coaching what looks like one of the more unhappy teams in the league.
Here’s a list of three guys who are cool with Nellie at this point:
Stephen Jackson (So ingrained as Teacher’s Pet he called Nellie’s Q&A show on KNBR last week)
Jamal Crawford (You mean I have the Capt. Jack pass to do whatever I want? Sweet!)
Ronny Turiaf (So let me get this straight…you don’t need me to rebound? Roger that.)
Everyone else on the team has some sort of issue with Nellie, be it his chumminess with Robert Rowell (Monta Ellis), his leniency with Jackson or Crawford or playing time issues (most of the team).
No less than three guys openly pouted after being removed from the game. Tony Randolph always has the bitter-beer face going so no surprise when he bites his lower lip on his way to the bench, but Monta Ellis looked as if he were about to quit the team after getting removed in the fourth quarter. Ellis had played one of his most efficient games of the year to that point, scoring 14 points on 7-of-13 shooting with 5 steals, and ended the game squashed between Jermareo Davidson and Marco Belinelli on the bench (partly because Randolph, Davidson and Anthony Morrow were taking up 1.5 seats each…this team doesn’t seem to really like each other all that much).
(Update: Monta Ellis was removed due to stiffness in his surgically repaired ankle, which will keep him out for one-to-two weeks. So he wasn’t upset at Nelllie for removing him. I should have known that, but they don’t give out injury updates in the second level of Oracle. My apologies.)
Belinelli has just about had it with Nellie, even getting a conciliatory arm around the shoulder from Andris Biedrins after getting yanked from the floor at one point. Since Randolph and Turiaf weren’t allowed to share the floor, poor Marco was left to play small forward during his 15 minutes, which often meant defending Kevin Durant without any help. Every time Belinelli was in the game the Thunder mercilessly went to Durant, Durant would hit a jumper in Belinelli’s face and Nellie would replace Marco with Jackson. Belinelli also probably didn’t appreciate getting only 2 shots in a game where both teams’ defense was about as strong as Mormon cider.
After the game Nelson announced he would be playing the youngsters more. Probably a good idea, because Nellie’s about to lose half the team.
–The trio of Durant, Westbrook and Jeff Green combined for 90 points, 20 assists, 26 rebounds, 5 steals…and 15 turnovers. Westbrook is still figuring out how to be a point guard, Green’s handle is lacking and Durant is simply careless.
–Durant is a phenomenal player. To watch him coast through the first eight minutes and then turn it on at the end of the first quarter was a little frightening. I think he scored 12 points in like 80 seconds, taking rebounds over the back of Warriors like Yao Ming over a team full of Tom Cruises.
–That said, the Thunder completely gave up midway through the fourth quarter, and their defense was somehow worse than Golden State’s. Hopefully that and Durant seemingly turning the intensity on and off throughout the night were a product of playing the second game of a back-to-back. Otherwise Oklahoma City is picking up some pretty bad habits. Maybe they should hire a head coach.
–The Warriors went 34-for-37 from the line, the Thunder went 28-for-33. It’s amazing how much easier it is to notice bad free-throw shooting than a nice, accurate night from the stripe for both teams.
–Randolph was excellent when it came to outletting the ball and running the floor, but with the ball in his hands he looked like a Labrador puppy, still getting used to his own body. Four turnovers in 17 minutes? Randolph might not see the floor when Biedrins gets back.
–Randolph looks like a puppy out there, but Durant’s feet looked freakishly big. His shoes were crazy: white with a blue swoosh on the outside half; black/orange with a white swoosh on the inside. I don’t know if Durant has huge feet or it was an optical illusion caused by his odd-looking Nikes, but I’d say he’s a size 21, minimum (update: just checked Wikipedia, he wears 18’s).
–On a related note, Durant’s dunk on Randolph was just ugly. Check it out here, about 35 seconds in.
–C.J. Watson needs to stop taking off-balance 3’s. Just sayin’.
–Turiaf had 4 rebounds in 31 minutes.
–During timeouts they kept showing this same little kid dancing in the aisles, which SGL absolutely loved. It was your standard attention-seeking kid fare, but even I had to appreciate it when he did “The Sprinkler.”
—Robert Swift must be beyond terrible not to get any run in OKC. Even Brian Scalabrine’s like, “Dude, you’re making us gingers look bad.”
–The exact point when it struck me how inconsequential last night’s game was in relation to the rest of the schedule: Halftime (when the scored was 70-70, by the way), when the entertainment was 100 women and 5 men on the floor doing Jazzercise. What happens the next time the Grizzlies come to town, the ladies from Curves Alameda doing a 15-minute session of circuit training? The Northern California Lindy Society taking Swing Dancing lessons? An Oprah’s Book Club meeting?