While Louis Amundson was busy playing a handful of unproductive minutes for the Pacers last night, Brandon Rush was busy building a case to become the 6th man on the Warriors roster this season. That under the radar swap of Amundson for Rush is looking pretty good right now.
Rush led the 3rd quarter surge against the Knicks last night, scoring 12 points, collecting 2 steals and blocking 1 shot in the 3rd in front of a sell-out crowd. Rush may have served as a catalyst for the 4th quarter performance from Monta Ellis, who also scored 12 points in a quarter. Whether it was Rush’s hot hand, or pep talks from David Lee and Mark Jackson, something got Monta going after looking dejected on the bench in the first half.
Ellis must have learned his A-B-C’s from Alec Baldwin’s character, Blake, in the classic 1992 film, Glengarry Glen Ross. “A-Always, B- Be, C-Closing”.
Closing seems to be all the Warriors knew how to do last night. They shot 66.7% (10-15) from the floor in the 4th and forced the Knicks to take 8 three point attempts while Bill Walker was the only Knick able to convert 1 from 3 point land. One would think that the Warriors were too undersized to handle the duo of Amar’e and Carmelo but Dominic McGuire seemed to have Melo’s number and Amar’e was shut out of the paint and seemingly the entire 4th quarter game plan.
As Blake from the aforementioned film would say to the Knicks, “Put that coffee down, coffee’s for closers only”.
From the perspective of a common sports fan, the Warriors didn’t deserve to have their coffee during free agency as they failed to close on Tyson Chandler, Deandre Jordan, and Chris Paul. They wanted to join the free agent party but lacked stars like Blake Griffin and Carmelo Anthony to get anyone excited about signing with them. Tyson Chandler spent a majority of the 4th quarter on the bench with 5 fouls. Mark Jackson gave Brandon Rush a vote of confidence by keeping him in the game during the middle of the 3rd quarter after he picked up his 4th personal foul.
During free agency,Chandler went to the Knicks in a theoretically good fit, the Clippers matched the Warriors multi-year offer for Deandre Jordan, and everyone knows Chris Paul’s fate was ultimately decided by David Stern. When Kwame Brown was signed, I was cynical because Samuel Dalembert was still on the market and has now signed with the Rockets for the same 2011-2012 salary as Kwame. I won’t pretend to know why the front office wasn’t interested in Sammy D but I’m not complaining about the impact that Biedrins and Brown have had on the Warriors roster as they have both looked spry on the court. Neither of them will fill the stat sheet but does that really matter when the Warriors are winning games against the Bulls and Knicks?
The Warriors were able to defeat the Knicks without Stephen Curry, who is still struggling to stay healthy after having his ankle operated on in the offseason and tweaking it in the first game of the season. Ishmael Smith filled in nicely for him, notching 11 points, 6 rebounds, 4 assists, and 2 steals in 29 minutes of action.
Mark Jackson arrived at Golden State with defense in mind, possibly recognizing the inherent offensive talent of his roster and that defense can create turnovers, fast breaks, and 3 point attempts that turn into long rebounds putting the opponents on their heels when trying to transition. Mike D’Antoni will not go down in history as a defensive minded head coach and his high powered offensive scheme suffered last night because of Mark Jackson’s defensive scheme. Needless to say, the Warriors will enjoy their morning coffee today and they deserve it for closing on the Knicks last night.
About the Author
Written by Chris Mosca
Basketball lover for years. I blog for the Golden State Warriors. I am happy to serve the fans with my reports and insights. Follow me on twitter, @cwmosca