Saturday, December 12, 2009

Warriors find an identity - it's ugly

Rusty Simmons, Chronicle Staff Writer
The Warriors are searching for identity, and they may have found out that it's an ugly one. For the third time in their last five games, the Warriors had a chance to win in the closing minutes. For the third time, they failed.
After a Monta Ellis turnaround jumper, the Warriors went 1-for-9 in overtime as Chicago escaped with a 96-91 victory at the United Center on Friday.
"We were right there again," said Ellis, who scored a game-high 27 points on 10-of-26 shooting. "I don't know what to tell you.
"I wish I knew the answer, guys. I wish I did."
Ellis had a chance to win it in regulation, breezing past Kirk Hinrich only to have his layup attempt altered by Joakim Noah with nine seconds left and the game tied 87-87. Derrick Rose missed a jumper against tough defense by C.J. Watson with 0.1 seconds left.
After Ellis' turnaround tied it at 89-89 in overtime, the Warriors offense reverted to its second-half struggles. All five players on the court missed at least one shot in the final four minutes, and Luol Deng, who scored a team-high 21 points, put Chicago ahead for good with a layup at the 3:17 mark.
The Warriors scored a season-low 87 points in regulation, mostly because of a terrible second half. They managed only 36 points in the second half and four in overtime, despite saying Chicago didn't make any defensive adjustments.
"They're a great team, but we did everything to ourselves," Ellis said. "We made all of the mistakes. We did everything to ourselves."
The Warriors shot 38.1 percent from the field and 28.6 percent from three-point range. It was a team-wide epidemic as Anthony Morrow went 4-for-15, Vladimir Radmanovic went 4-for-13, Corey Maggette went 7-of-19 and Stephen Curry went 3-for-9.
They went through long spells when they passed up open shots, only to take contested ones. Then, they went through long spells when they didn't pass at all.
"We just missed shots or refused to move it," acting coach Keith Smart said. "Sometimes, you get into a situation and everyone wants to make the next shot to help the team win. Sometimes guys aren't willing to give it up because they want to do it.
"Overall, across the board, there were too many jump shots."
The Warriors missed six jumpers in overtime, getting to the basket only three times. Watson and Maggette each missed an overtime layup, and Maggette made one that cut the deficit to 95-91 with 1:22 remaining.
The Bulls went inside all night, scoring 56 points in the paint. Their guards and wings curled off tight screens to get into the lane, and they also got 18 points and 14 rebounds from Noah on the block.
Surprisingly, Anthony Randolph, the Warriors' one healthy shot blocker, played only 19 minutes. He sat the majority of a nine-minute stretch in the third quarter when Chicago turned a nine-point, deficit into an eight-point lead with 2:39 left.
It all added up to the Warriors' fifth loss in six games and made winners of the Bulls, who had lost nine of their previous 10 games.

Got gate? Not!

The Warriors are one of the NBA teams that has been negatively affected by the economy, according to documents obtained by CBS Sports. The league's gate receipts have dropped 7.4 percent with the Warriors dropping 22.3 percent.
Average paid attendance is down 3.7 percent, but the gate receipts are maybe even more important because they show how much a team makes from ticket sales. Only Detroit, Sacramento, Minnesota, Phoenix, the Clippers and Milwaukee have been hit harder.
The Warriors lost in overtime at Chicago on Friday night, and the fans may have had an impact late in the game. With the league's top average attendance at 20,679 fans, Bulls fans were loud at all of the right times.
- Rusty Simmons
Opening tip: Monta Ellis was not on the Sporting News' list of the 50 greatest current players in the NBA, released this week. A panel of 107 Hall of Famers, major award winners, executives and coaches selected Kobe Bryant No. 1 and LeBron James No. 2.
- Rusty Simmons

Up next

Who: Warriors (7-15) at Pistons (10-12)
Where: Detroit
When: 4:30 today
TV/Radio: CSNBA/680
Of note: The Pistons have won four straight and five of their last six. ... They're streaking despite the absence of Ben Gordon (last played Dec. 6, left ankle), Richard Hamilton (Oct. 28, right ankle) and Tayshaun Prince (Oct. 31, ruptured disc). ... Rodney Stuckey is averaging 20.8 points a game over the last 10. ... Ben Wallace has 11 double-digit rebounding games.
- Rusty Simmons
E-mail Rusty Simmons at
This article appeared on page B - 1 of the San Francisco Chronicle


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