Here’s how confident I was that the Warriors were going to lose, evident in the NBA Power Poll I posted earlier this evening:
“6. (5) San Antonio Spurs (45-24): Life’s certain to get better soon: Manu’s back this week and the Warriors are in town tonight.”
Instead the Warriors frustrated the Spurs, tested them in San Antonio…and still lost, 107-106. Still, there’s a lot to be thankful for. After all, wins and losses are completely superfluous at this point, especially with Draft Lottery Ping Pong balls to collect and veterans to sit. The Warriors played hard, their youngsters look better by the minute and they even had a chance to tie the game at the buzzer. It was an awful running three by Monta Ellis that clanked off the side of the rim, but at least they had a chance.
The Warriors scared the Spurs quite a bit tonight, especially after San Antonio came in to tonight’s game after losing two games in a row and three of their last four (including a 78-76 stinker at Oklahoma City). Roger Mason got chippy with Corey Maggette, Ime Udoka undercut Tony Randolph on an absolutely VICIOUSÃ‚Â lefty 1/2 windmill (with a split-second windup beforehand…man, Randolph has cojones like an elephantitis-stricken Sam Cassell) and Bruce Bowen was in full Bruce Bowen dick-mode. In other words, the Spurs were trying.
Randolph is playing with an obscene amount of confidence right now. He had 13 points, 9 scintillating rebounds and 5 blocks, and even better is making occasional jumpers and becoming quite dependable handling the ball. In fact, Randolph has completely won over Warriors’ color commentator Jim Barnett, who was gushing about Randolph’s transformation from a turnover-prone kid to the team’s future. Barnett even chastised Bob Fitzgerald when Fitz complained about Randolph taking a jumper when Monta was the hot hand, saying “You can’t break the young colt. Have you ever broken a colt, Bob?”
That brings us to another reason to be thankful for what the Warriors bring to the table: the broadcast. Nothing drove this home more than experiencing Oklahoma City’s broadcast tonight. Not only was this evening’s Lakers/Thunder game incredibly boring (107-89 Lakers, and it wasn’t that close), but Fox Sports Oklahoma made a bad situation much worse. The crowd was muted due to either low microphone volume, lack of microphones or both, meaning the commentary of Brian Davis and Grant Long rang in crystal clear. Great. Too bad Davis has a terrible voice and Long provided no insight (unless you call yelling “short” a couple times as jumpers from the Thunder hit the front of the rim great analysis).
Maybe I should give the Thunder the benefit of the doubt since this is their first year dealing with NBA broadcasts, but screw it. Oklahoma City’s gain is Seattle’s loss, and Seattle didn’t mute the crowd, they had commentators who didn’t talk as if they were in the rotation and they definitely didn’t overrun the first four minutes of the second quarter with a Bob Stoops interview. Hey, did you know that Stoops likes quarterbacks, so that’s why he likes Russell Westbrook? Well, now you know!
The fact that Barnett and Fitz were able to argue (mildly, but there was still a disagreement going on) about Randolph was a good sign, but even more noticeable was the better voicework, the excitement in both of their voices and their knowledge of the other team (Davis was obviously reading notes when speaking on Josh Powell and D.J. Mbenga, and called Sasha Vujacic “the guard” a couple times before his producer probably whispered “Vujacic…he’s the Slovenian” into his earpiece). Comcast Bay Area actually lost their signal a couple times during tonight’s broadcast, but at least they showed replays of important plays within a reasonable amount of time. The Thunder broadcast didn’t show any replays of the game, but they did show a replay of Bob Stoops zipping up after relieving himself in Clay Bennett’s private bathroom (OK, that last part might not have happened, or it did and I missed it).
Warriors week that was (2-3: W’s vs. LAC and PHI; L’s @ LAL, NOR and SAS)
This just came in from Marcus Thompson II: Stephen Jackson may be out for the season with a toe injury that was made worse tonight when Tim Duncan stepped on it. . . Thompson also reports Jermareo Davidson will have surgery on a stress fracture in his left food, and the Warriors hope he will be ready and able to play for their Summer League team. I hope he’s able to come back. Anyone familiar with Davidson’s tragic story has to root for the kid, and he also provides a good deal of size and energy to a team that can always use both qualities. . . It was a rough week for the Warriors’ PR staff, as columnists came to the Warriors’ grave with shovels in hand. Well, Monte Poole did anyway, as he painted an organization with no plan whatsoever. Bruce Jenkins wrote in more general terms (and with fewer unnamed sources) about the team’s “train wreck of a season,” while stopping short of proclaiming that Nellie must go. Still, at this point with the whole Jamal Crawford fiasco clear as day to anyone, there’s no doubt many in the Warriors’ front office wish they could just take their ticket money and end the season now. . . The Warriors are 11-10 with Monta Ellis in the lineup. . . Golden State is 16-32 when Jamal Crawford plays. . . And, to finish off this trio of three possibly meaningless (but maybe not) facts, the Warriors are 19-39 when Andris Biedrins plays. . . Marco Belinelli has missed six of the last eight games, but he was spotted feasting on chicken parmesan at Umbria on Monday afternoon, according to a BASG source (OK, it was SGL, who works a block away. She also reports Marco is even tanner than Andris, which is hard to believe.). . . The Warriors will play the Suns in an outdoor preseason game on October 10. . . NBADraft.net has the Warriors drafting Jr. Earl Clark of Louisville with the seventh pick in their mock draft. Clark is a thin 6’9″ swingman with good athleticism. Sound familiar? . . . Draft Express has Golden State taking Oklahoma Freshman SG Willie Warren. . . Hoopshype.com has the Warriors selecting Al-Farouq Aminu, the Freshman PF from Wake Forest. In other words, nobody has any idea what’s going to happen. . . Keith Smart has become the NBA assistant coach with perhaps the most power and responsibility in the league, even acting as the head coach occasionally even when Nellie’s on the bench.