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Keeping It Competitive

Posted By Chris Mosca On Jan 13 2012 @ 1:55 pm In Golden State Warriors | No Comments

Shaquille O’Neal was quick to protest the effectiveness of the “Hack-A-Shaq” tactic during the halftime show last night.  Shaq must have repressed the 2008 NBA playoffs against the Spurs when Greg Popovich successfully implemented the “Hack-A- Shaq” approach on him and advanced to the next round.  Shaq called Popovich’s approach a “coward move”, which didn’t stop Pop’s affable response during the next year’s preseason game, having Michael Finley wrap up Shaq in the first five seconds [1].

Despite the fact that Dwight Howard’s name doesn’t rhyme with the word hack, Mark Jackson used the same approach last night, sending Dwight to the line for 39 free throw attempts, sinking 21 of them. Jackson sent rookie, Jeremy Tyler, into the game with the sole purpose of using up a foul to send Dwight to the line.  At that moment, it was a logical move.  Dwight sank one of the two free throws and the Warriors had over 20 seconds for the last possession of the quarter.  Jeremy Tyler finished with no other statistics in 1 minute and 12 seconds of playing time.

Considering the plethora of perimeter shooters on the Magic (Anderson, Reddick, Richardson, Nelson, Turkoglu), I can imagine that Coach Jackson used this approach to eliminate an abundance of 3 point shots during the game.  During the plays that Howard got the ball in the paint, it generally resulted in an inevitable dunk or an easy layup.  Judging by Jackson’s reaction to Howard’s dunks (looking at the scoreboard with a blank stare), he deemed those plays as inevitable too.  Those plays also put Biedrins, the Warriors only experienced center, at risk to rack up more fouls.  Biedrins fouled out in 21 minutes last night.

The Warriors might be in the market for Kyrylo Fesenko, who they almost signed recently, after hearing the news that Kwame Brown will miss the next 3 months with a torn pectoral muscle.  Kwame has become a symbol of disappointment in the NBA after being drafted as a #1 pick and missing a majority of the condensed season isn’t going to do him any favors. 

On the other side of the ball, Monta Ellis couldn’t be contained by Jason Richardson or Jameer Nelson and finished with 30 points on 12 of 23 shooting.  David Lee continued his high energy, I-don’t-care-if-I’m-half-your-size style of play and posted his sixth straight double-double.  In a past article, I detailed Klay Thompson and tagged him as a defensive liability but also as an offensive threat due to his ability to hit the three.  Thompson went 4 of 5 from beyond the arc last night and saw an increase in playing time with Stephen Curry and Dorrell Wright sitting out. 

The Warriors have dropped 5 of their last 6 games but have stayed competitive in all of them, losing by no more than 11 points each game.

The Warriors have four winnable games coming up against the Bobcats, Pistons, Cavaliers, and the Nets but will have to do it without Curry.  Curry has suffered multiple ankle sprains in the past year and two this season after having surgery on his ankle in the offseason.  There has been speculation out of GoldenState that Curry will sit out for the upcoming road trip and will return to the court next Friday (01/20) for a home game against Brandon Rush’s former team, the Pacers.

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[1] first five seconds: http://sports.yahoo.com/nba/blog/ball_dont_lie/post/Video-Spurs-Pop-Hack-a-Shaq-just-five-second?urn=nba-118393

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