Warriors Earn First Victory of the Year With Outstanding Guard Play

Steven ResnickSenior Writer INovember 5, 2009

OAKLAND, CA - OCTOBER 28:  Anthony Morrow #22 of the Golden State Warriors stands at midcourt during their game against the Houston Rockets at Oracle Arena on October 28, 2009 in Oakland, California.  (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

The Golden State Warriors picked up their first win of the season tonight at home against the Memphis Grizzlies. In the first quarter it looked like the Grizzlies were going to run the Warriors out of the gym, and at one point held a 13 point lead. Before the quarter ended, the Warriors were able to cut it to 10.

In the first quarter though ,when you look at the 29-19 deficit the Warriors faced, it didn't look too bad considering the fact that the Warriors couldn't buy a basket. The team missed layups and wide open jumpers.

On top of that, it didn't help the Warriors that Andris Biedrins picked up three quick fouls in the opening minutes and against the best rebounding team. It seemed like that would present some problems for the Warriors and it did throughout the first half.

I will say this—the third foul on Biedrins was not a foul, he basically gave Marc Gasol a layup because he wasn't going to play aggressive with two fouls and with Ronny Turiaf out the Warriors were shorthanded in terms of big men.

But, even with that it, was only a matter of time before Biedrins did eventually get his third foul. So, the Warriors had to go small and that helped the Grizzlies build the lead in the first quarter.

Another problem for the Warriors were the cheap little fouls that were picked up and the only saving grace for team was the fact that the Grizzlies did not shoot free throws very well tonight. As a team the Grizzlies went 24-36 from the line.

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In the third quarter it looked like Rudy Gay was going to take the game over. He was making every shot he took and ended up going 5-6 in that quarter.

Although, the biggest concern looks like it will be closing out games. With a couple minutes left in the game the Warriors had a 12 point advantage—all the team needed was a couple of made shots and the game would have been done.

Instead, the Warriors missed a couple of layups, turned the ball over four times, and picked up fouls allowing the Grizzlies to go to the free throw line to earn points.

One more thing to add before I go to the positive things the Warriors did. Anthony Randolph needs to play more minutes because he only saw four minutes in the first half and three minutes in the second half.

As for one of the positive things for the Warriors was the play of Mikki Moore. His line wasn't impressive—two points, four rebounds, two assists, and a block. Moore did very well defensively really changed my perception of him as he was a pest defensively on Gasol or Zack Randolph.

Stephen Jackson provided solid passing and actually did very well with the baskeball. He only forced a couple of shots, but made some pretty nice moves as well. In fact he came alive in the second half. In the first half, he didn't really do much in terms of scoring and actually did more in the passing game by picking up four assists and a couple rebounds.

Jackson finished the game with 20 points, six assists, two rebounds, two steals, and a blocked shot.

Corey Maggette came on as well. At first it looked like another game that Maggette was going to struggle, but some nice plays by Stephen Curry setting Maggette up near the rim improved his confidence and he got going. Maggette ended up with 20 points before fouling out with less than a minute remaining in the game.

In the third quarter, as I mentioned before, Gay looked like he was going to take over the game. Well Anthony Morrow had other ideas, because he actually outscored Gay in the quarter.

Morrow went 6-6 from the field including three three pointers. What was more impressive were the two pointers that Morrow hit. The first one he drove to a spot and pulled up and swished the basket in, the second came on a nice drive to the hoop, and another was him posting up on Marcus Williams and banking in the basket.

Defensively Morrow impressed me with his ability to stay on Gay and force him into tough shots. Morrow's line for the game 24 points on 10-12 shooting which included 4-4 from beyond the arc.

Maybe the biggest positive for the Warriors was the play of both Curry and Monta Ellis. Curry is proving why the Warriors were smart in drafting him because he has rubbed off on Ellis as well. Both players took care of the basketball and distributed the ball very well.

Biedrins also did well in the fourth quarter coming up with big rebounds and a nice dunk off a great feed by Jackson. Biedrins best play of the game came on grabbing an offensive rebound off an Ellis missed layup. Instead of taking the ball back out like he normally does, he just went back to where he was and hit a nice layup himself.

In the fourth quarter, Biedrins contributed four points and seven rebounds and was part of the reason the Warriors outrebounded the Grizzlies in the second half.  

One of the best plays of the game was in the first quarter when Ellis drove to the rim and kicked the ball out to a wide open Curry from beyond the arc. Curry hit the three and with that it adds another dimension to Ellis's game.

Combined the two went for 30 points, 21 assists, 12 rebounds, only two turnovers, and seven steals. That's not a bad night for the Warriors backcourt at all.

Adding Jackson's totals to that then the three combined for 50 points, 27 assists, 14 rebounds, nine steals, and a blocked shot.