As the season begins to wind down (this weekend will the be the last time the Warriors play at home), David Lee is emerging as the only All-Star player the Warriors have left. Will he be left off the ballot like Monta Ellis because he plays for a lousy team?
With tanking in mind, the Warriors continue the slide of downward with a loss to the Memphis Grizzlies. In the middle of their four game road trip, the Warriors opened up with a hard fought but losing effort against the Lakers. They followed up with a hard fought, but evental loss to the Grizzlies.
They were actually leading this game for a moment. They even had a 12 point lead in the fourth quarter. But maybe it was the trip. Or maybe because the Grizzlies aren’t a bad team. Either way or a combination of both, the Warriors dropped their sixth consecutive game. David Lee being David Lee, led the Warriors with 22 points, 13 points and four assists. Having Nate Robinson return has proven useful for offense as he contributed with 18 points and five assists. Brandon Rush continues to prove his worth coming off the bench and finished the night with 13 points.
The good news is that all Warriors that played, scored at least one bucket. The problem is that they didn’t score enough in the fourth quarter. They were outscored in that quarter alone 28-15. Statistically, the Warriors hung with the Grizzlies. And when I mean hung around, I mean both teams shot horrendous from the floor and the charity strip. The Grizzlies helped their cause by shooting 53% from beyond the arc while the Warriors only shot 32%.
The first three quarters belonged to the Warriors. The Grizzlies looked like the dog house team from the past and not like the team that just beat OKC. But in the fourth, probably after a fire was lit under their butt, they came out firing and didn’t stop, running over anything that was in their way.
Following the loss to Memphis, the Warriors headed to Minnesota to take on
Kevin Garnett, Al Jefferson Kevin Love and the Timberwolves. Love is quietly having a good season and has been a corner stone in the rebuilding process for the Wolves. But David Lee reminded Love what power forward is having a better year. Lee put up season high numbers in scoring with 31 points, eight boards, three assists and two blocks. Five players helped out the cause, as five Warriors scored in double digits.
While Lee scored his season high, Charles Jenkins owned the Wolves. He shot 8 for 13 from the field and exploded for 19 points and four boards. He even scored the eventual game winning bucket with about 1:30 minutes to go in the game, with a lay-up.
And the lack of having a consistent big guy didn’t stop the Warriors to outscore the Wolves in the paint (a rare occurrence), scoring 44 to 38. Both teams shot pretty horrendous from the field, three point range and the charity stripe. The Warriors were just a little better in scoring, when the offense finally came alive in the second quarter. The Wolves had no answer and were playing short handed without big star Ricky Rubio (out with a torn ACL) and Michael Beasley (out with an injury for his big toe). But Love kept the Wolves in the game, chipping in with 29 points, 12 boards and five assists. JJ Barea fired 15 shots for 15 points, eight assists and five boards.
And if the Warriors don’t have a lick to make the playoffs (and they want to improve their chances on keeping their top 7 pick without having to “buy” off the Jazz) they might as well be the guys who make it more difficult for those who are fighting for the last spot in the playoffs.
The Warriors finish this mini trip with a trip to Utah to take on the Jazz on Friday. Then they turn around and come home to take on those same Jazz on Saturday.