There’s really no shame in this loss. None at all.
Did the Warriors play a perfect game? No. But on the fourth and fifth games of a grueling five-game, seven-day Eastern road trip, the Warriors played the Cavaliers and Celtics tough. In the first half against the Celtics, Golden State played really well. As halftime ended, I turned to one of my co-workers and said, “the Warriors will run out of gas in the second half and lose this game, but this is encouraging.” The Warriors didn’t have enough to keep up with a rested and motivated Celtics squad in the second half, but there was a lot of good that came out of this game (and the road trip).
It seems clear, at least initially, that the addition-by-subtraction argument for the Jackson trade is a valid one. Without Jackson, the Warriors are playing harder, with better teamwork and more cohesion.
One of the greatest parts of Wednesday’s game was the surprise of Raja Bell entering the game. As far as anybody knew, Bell wasn’t likely to ever see the court for the Warriors, as he was opting for surgery on his injured wrist. But his team had a need for another body (they played only seven players Tuesday against the Cavaliers) to pick up some of the minutes and Bell stepped up. It was a great lesson for the young talent on the Warriors roster, that you play through injuries, you play through turmoil, you play through hurt feelings … you just play the game as hard as you can, no matter what.
Bell said after the game that the wrist didn’t hold up through Wednesday’s trial run, and he will still opt for the surgery, which could mean he’ll miss as little as a month and as much as the rest of the season. But even if he’s not on the court, Bell can serve as the kind of veteran leader this team needs. He can be a positive voice in the locker room who lifts up his young teammates and teaches them how to handle themselves and how to act and play like a professional.
Another good sign to take from Wednesday’s game and the entire road trip has been the improved play of Corey Maggette. Maggette started at small forward against the Celtics, and though that knocks Anthony Morrow or Anthony Randolph out of the starting lineup, with the way Maggette has been playing, it’s the right move.
With Biedrins and Turiaf injured, Maggette is the team’s best rebounder and he has blended aggressive work on the boards with a hard-nosed offensive game that has been a major benefit to the Warriors. Maggette filled the box score Wednesday with 23 points (on 8 of 13 shooting), 8 rebounds, 3 assists, a block and a steal. During the road trip, Maggette averaged 22 points, 6.8 rebounds and shot 36 of 60 from the field (60 percent). He is also averaging 7.4 free-throw attempts per game, which indicates the aggressive nature of his offense.
The rest of the Warriors were up-and-down on Wednesday. Most of the team played very well in the first half, but a subpar second half brings down their overall marks.
Monta Ellis had 18 points, 4 rebounds, 4 assists and 3 steals, but shot 8 of 21 from the field.
Stephen Curry had 13 points, a team-high 7 assists and 4 steals. But he also had six turnovers and shot 4-for-10.
Anthony Randolph had 11 points and 8 rebounds in 24 minutes off the bench, but he shot 4-for-11 and had four turnovers and four fouls.
New acquisition Vladimir Radmanovich had 11 points and five rebounds, but he had five turnovers.
Anthony Morrow had a forgettable performance, scoring 4 points in 27 minutes off the bench.
The turnovers (21 total) and poor third-quarter performance was too much for the Warriors to overcome. But the Warriors seemed to rediscover their passion and their energy at some point on this road trip and despite the 1-4 record, they competed and were close in every game.
Here’s a look at the box score from tonight’s game.
Here’s the Associated Press game recap.