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Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Late Jazz Rally Leaves Warriors Singing the Blues

Utah outscored Golden State 4-0 in the last 17 seconds to win Game One of their series, 116-112. The decisive play fittingly came on a putback by Carlos Boozer, who had an off shooting night (6-15) but still contributed 17 points and 20 rebounds, helping the Jazz to a 54-36 rebounding advantage. Boozer rebounded Mehmet Okur's missed three pointer and scored on a layup that put Utah ahead 114-112 with 17 seconds left. Deron Williams had 31 points, eight assists and five rebounds for Utah. Baron Davis led Golden State with 24 points and seven assists, while two Warriors had double doubles: Jason Richardson (21 points, 10 rebounds) and Matt Barnes (20 points, 10 rebounds). Utah's big advantage on the glass is not surprising but the fact that the Jazz beat Golden State in a high scoring game reinforces the point that I made during the Golden State-Dallas series: if your team has at least as much talent as the Warriors do then there is no reason to fear getting into a running game; the Warriors' decision-making and shot selection are questionable at times, so if you run with a purpose then you can beat the Warriors at their own game. Even the Suns, a more efficient team than the Warriors, are vulnerable when an equally talented team runs against them, as the Spurs showed in Game One of that series.

The main advantage that running teams enjoy is that during the regular season most teams do not have the time to prepare to play against that style and, after playing four games in five nights, opposing players do not have the mental or physical energy to withstand that kind of onslaught. In the playoffs, though, you get to lock onto one opponent for up to two weeks and there is plenty of rest between games. Running teams can still beat the weak (L.A. Lakers) and the scared (Dallas Mavericks, who refused to push the ball even though their only two wins came in the highest scoring games in the series) in the playoffs but a "pure" running team will always have trouble winning a championship as long as there are two or three teams that are adept at both pushing the ball and playing in the halfcourt. This is not a criticism of Phoenix or Golden State; neither team would be nearly as successful by playing a slow down, halfcourt game, so it makes sense for them to speed up the game--but that does not mean that the opposing team must react by slowing the game down or that a "pure" running style is the best formula for winning a championship; it is simply the style that best fits the Suns' and Warriors' personnel.

This was a good performance by the Warriors. They were competitive on the road against a good, resilient team. Golden State is playing with house money because no one expected the Warriors to make it this far. Game One suggests that they are not just a one trick pony that posed matchup problems for Dallas but a legit playoff team that can compete with the Utah Jazz. This should be a long, entertaining series.

posted by David Friedman @ 5:04 AM

4 comments

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4 Comments:

At Tuesday, May 08, 2007 7:10:00 PM, Blogger marcel said...

yeah this is going to be a great series no one compares to boozer for the warriors but the wariors got the better team start playing like it warriors im dissapointed in you to let a bunch of slow utah caucasins run you up and down the floor they beat you at your game we have to rebound and play defense like we did against dallas how you gonna dominate a team that won 67 games and let a team that won 51 beat you. david do you think the nba should do what nhl does and reseed in the second round meaning is phoenix getting unfair side of the stick to have to play san antonio in the second round rather than golden state thats what some are saying david stern said it aint going to happen

 
At Wednesday, May 09, 2007 6:51:00 AM, Blogger David Friedman said...

I'm puzzled by a couple of your statements: I'm not sure what being Caucasian has to do with speed; Manu Ginobili is pretty quick and several "black" players are of mixed heritage (Jason Kidd, for one). Utah's lineup includes a Russian, a Turk and Americans of various hues and ancestries and I don't think that their heritage has anything to do with their footspeed.

This series will demonstrate if the Warriors are really a good team or if they simply match up very well with Dallas. I picked Utah to win in part because I am not 100% sold on the Warriors just yet.

I wouldn't want the NBA to borrow any ideas from the NHL, which is basically a dead league. There is no need to re-seed the playoffs; things are fine just how they are. For more on this subject, check out my post on Cleveland-New Jersey Game Two. Commissioner Stern was at the game and talked about this subject.

 
At Wednesday, May 09, 2007 1:35:00 PM, Blogger marcel said...

manu ginobili is spanish jason kidd is black i wasnt dising white people i was just pointing out you letting slow guys who happen to be white beat you at your own game it's time for you to play warrior basketball. white are slower than blacks historically blacks are better athletes whites take school more seriously. but thats a whole other issue the wariors have to watch boozer on the offensive boards and slow sown deron illams he's real good i didnt se him too much in colllege but he's good. warriors can only play 1 way it might of caught up with them in this series i rather play houston than this team

 
At Thursday, May 10, 2007 1:57:00 AM, Blogger David Friedman said...

Ginobili is from Argentina; he has led that country to medals in international play. So does that make him Caucasian, Hispanic or something else? I don't really care because I think that it is irrelevant but I've never understood the connections that some people try to make between "race" and certain skills. The Kidd thing always amuses me, because he has one white parent and one black parent, certainly does not have a dark complexion and yet he is always considered to be black. I remember some study that someone did about the race of players who ranked in the top ten in assists and steals (trying to prove, I guess, that black players dominate the "speed and quickness" categories) and it was clear that Kidd was classified as black because the article listed only one white, who--in the years considered--was obviously John Stockton. Mike Bibby has the same kind of background as Kidd. I think that the whole thing is irrelevant, which is why I never mention it in my posts or articles, but if somebody is going to say that one race produces faster or slower athletes than another I'd like to hear how guys like Ginobili, Kidd, Bibby and others are counted. Looking at Ginobili and Barbosa, one could say that South America produces the fastest athletes. Notice that Barbosa and Ginobili are from the same part of the world but look nothing like each other.

Getting back to Utah-G.S., I think that the Warriors' athleticism is a little overstated. Boozer, Williams and Kirilenko are all great athletes; Utah can run with G.S. and the Jazz play with more discipline and better shot selection.

 

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