Great teams make their damage when it counts. Mediocre teams make their damage when it doesn't. In the Nov. 13 game, the Warriors were defeated by the fresh looking Detroit Pistons 107-102.
Andris Biedrins led the Warriors with 17 points and 19 rebounds, while Stephen Jackson had 15 points and nine assists. Maggette, who returned to action after missing four straight games, had four assists and four rebounds to go with his 13 points.
Kelenna Azubuike finished with 15 points, two assists, and five rebounds. CJ Watson also had 17 points, one assist, and six rebounds.
However, something had to go wrong, right?
Well, there were three major keys that factor into the Warriors' loss, which includes:
1. CJ Watson Violation
With three minutes left in the game and the Warriors down by a point, forward Tayshaun Prince was called for an offensive foul. However, Watson stepped over the sideline and gave the Pistons' a critical possession. It's a huge mistake when a team is that close to turning out victorious against an Eastern Conference power house.
But, these errors are expected by the youngest team in the NBA.
2- Andris Biedrins Missing Dunk
Doug Collins, who broad casted the game along with Kevin Harlan on TNT, consistently pointed out to this crucial turning point of the game. As many acknowledge, momentum in the NBA turns in a matter of minutes. In Oracle Arena, however, minutes transpires to seconds.
This second was when Warriors' center Biedrins received a beautiful pass from Jackson and missed a wide open dunk.
How was this critical? Well, if Biedrins were to have made the dunk, it would have put the Warriors in front by 13 points. Instead, Iverson received the ball, crossed over Watson, and went up for an easy layup. That cut the lead down to 11.
Jackson, on the attack, missed a typical fade away jumper (a shot he does not usually make). On the attack came Pistons guard Arron Afflalo to hit a three-pointer. That cut the lead down to eight.
Then, the Piston surge began with Iverson leading the way.
3- Stephen Jackson Demanding the Ball
During the last five minutes of the heated contest, Jackson never gave up the ball from his hands, even though he only made a couple of points.
It is completely understandable that Jackson anchor's the offense. But, when he takes tough shots and forces his way into the lane, only to be rejected twice in two minutes and still take it to the hoop, it made it difficult for the Warriors to squeeze out a win.
Maggette, who was handed limited minutes in the game, did not receive the ball in crunch time. However, he was the integral part of the Warriors' third quarter surge. He went to the line four consecutive times. Why didn't he get the ball down low?
This move raises some questions. When you have a player of Maggette's caliber who can finish off games at the line, why doesn't Don Nelson call for a "Maggette play" down low?
Final Game Blow
The Warriors' turned to a zone defense. However, they ignored the fact that the Pistons have the best big man shooter in the league: Rasheed Wallace. In effect, Iverson found Wallace ('Sheed) two consecutive times as he killed the Warriors' hope of rallying back with two killer three-pointers.
- Don Nelson used Marcus Williams early in the game. Williams stopped Iverson on a couple of occasions, missed a jump shot, and had a turnover. He was back on the bench in no time.
- Anthony Morrow received some solid minutes off the bench, but his horrendous defensive efforts put him back on the bench.
- There were five players for the Warriors that were in double figures.
- Maggette started at the power forward position. When he was taken out, however, there was no inside presence to help Biedrins. Instead, Nelson went with Anthony Morrow. I recall that the Warriors have two players with freakish length.
- The Warriors go on a short road trip on Saturday, Nov. 15 to visit an old friend: Baron Davis.
Photo Courtesy: Jed Jacobsohn