May 04, 2007

Exchanges of the Guards: Magic Johnson's mentoring helps the Golden State Warriors guard Baron Davis, who shares qualities with the ex-Lakers great.

posted by BornIcon to basketball at 04:37 AM - 21 comments

After fighting thru the pain of a pulled hamstring and leading the 'We Believe' Warriors to an improbable 111-86 victory over the Dallas Mavericks with 20 pts 10 rebounds and six assists and into the 2nd round of the playoffs last night, I thought that this post would be noteworthy.

posted by BornIcon at 05:03 AM on May 04, 2007

Talk about making a story out of nothing. The only category that Davis lead his team in last night was turnovers, 5 of them. His performance was mediocre at best. 20 pts, 6 assists, 1 steal, 3 of 10 from 3 pt line, 7 of 17 from the floor. Not really "Magic" numbers. Basically a story that tells us that Baron Davis knows Magic Johnson. Great Reporting!!!

posted by Familyman at 08:00 AM on May 04, 2007

Basically a story that tells us that Baron Davis knows Magic Johnson If that's all you got from the column, you missed the point.

posted by BornIcon at 08:11 AM on May 04, 2007

Hey I like Baron Davis as much as the next guy - and that game last night was awesome. So much fun (my God the Mavs folded up like a lawn chair - no fucking heart). But Baron Davis has been a loafer for a huge part of his career. He got fat and satisfied and never truly became a dominant player in this league. He's been rededicated in Golden State and now we can see a little bit of what a dedicated Baron Davis can do, or could have done. He played great basketball when it mattered most - but he's hardly done it alone, and he's, well, not that great a decision maker. He wants to win, but that hardly makes him unique. He shot over 50% from 3 this series after shooting about 30% all year. The difference to me, was mostly that he made those crazy shots consistently. He had a performance that will be remembered, but I'm far from annointing this as anything more than a great upset where all the bounces, breaks and luck went one way.

posted by WeedyMcSmokey at 08:19 AM on May 04, 2007

You must not have been watching the same series I did, Familyman. Davis hit timely shots and reinforced the Warriors' confidence and the crowd's intensity with his play, helping destroy the Mavericks in the second half. For Davis to accomplish as much as he did on one leg, when he couldn't take the ball to the hoop or keep people in front of him on defense, is one of the great gut-check performances in NBA playoff history. As a Mavs fan, I hate that guy, but I'm tempted to root for him the rest of the way. Take Davis away and this series would've been a laugher. Davis also rates as a team leader, an intangible the Mavs sorely could have used this year. ... I'm far from annointing this as anything more than a great upset where all the bounces, breaks and luck went one way. Where did luck play a role here? The Warriors destroyed the Mavs with precision three-point shooting, aggressive transition play and crushing doubleteams on Dirk. I can't recall one time where it seemed like luck played a factor. They were simply the better team, no matter what the standings led us to think.

posted by rcade at 08:21 AM on May 04, 2007

Don Nelson must be the happiest man in America. Not only is he sueing Mark Cuban for what he claims are contract $s owed him by the previous Maverick ownership, he now has embarassed his old team in the playoffs by doing something NO eight seed has ever done. A tip of the hat and a cold one to you, Nellie.

posted by jaygolf at 09:04 AM on May 04, 2007

Where did luck play a role here? The Warriors destroyed the Mavs with precision three-point shooting, aggressive transition play and crushing doubleteams on Dirk It was pretty lucky to hit some of those shots. Circus shots, late shot clock threes, half court shots - they all went in. GS was touched by God. They play what appears to me to be a pretty weak zone that Dallas just decided not to press. I think the double teams worked wonders early in the series to destroy Dirk's confidence, but they really weren't doubling him at all last night after the first quarter. They would flash it and Dirk would just give the rock up. It was embarrassing to watch. I would certainly agree that the big difference - if at all tactical - was the transition game that GS played. They did force turnovers in the mid-court and were on the early passes a lot. But I think Ford got it right when he saw this series as more or less a pick-up game that GS dominated. They played great transition defence and jacked threes. It's not fundamentally sound play, but in this case, it was extremely effective and a total joy to watch.

posted by WeedyMcSmokey at 09:28 AM on May 04, 2007

It was a total joy that crushed my spirit completely. You can't enjoy the fact that Dwyane Wade's on the golf course in early May when the Mavericks are there waiting for their own tee time.

posted by rcade at 09:39 AM on May 04, 2007

Golden State won their games by 12 points, 18 points, 4 points, and 25 points. That's an awful lot of luck.

posted by kirkaracha at 09:50 AM on May 04, 2007

Why aren't more people giving the Golden State Warriors and Don Nelson more credit for this upset? I'm hear more people trying to explain the Mavericks' collapse than they are in giving the Warriors their 'just due.' There was no luck in Golden State's victory, they were just the better team like rcade pointed out. They hit the shots they needed to, defended when they needed to, substituted when they needed to and then made sure that their teammates were involved. The Warriors got the last laugh and a invitation to the 2nd round....while the Mavs are just numb and in shock. Golden State won their games by 12 points, 18 points, 4 points, and 25 points. That's an awful lot of luck Now that's funny

posted by BornIcon at 09:50 AM on May 04, 2007

Baron Davis is far from Magic Johnson, but after this series he does deserve some great comparisons. Just from modern day players; he had the toughness of Sam Cassell, the speed and driving abilities of D'Wade, and the late game perfection of Chauncey Billups. The entire Warriors team played with more heart and incontestible effort than I have seen in years. I have never seen players more in-sync with their city, and fully devoted to one another. Stephen Jackson in a post game interview said "I would die for those guys out there." And it had nothing to do with the question. Let it be known that if this team plays the same way they played the Mavericks, there is no stopping them. They don't match up as well with the Rockets, Spurs, or Suns. But their shooting, athleticism, riskiness, and desire to win could push them further in the playoffs.

posted by Snikastyle at 09:56 AM on May 04, 2007

Look, I'm not saying they didn't deserve to win. They clearly did. Buy when your team's field goal percentage, three point percentage, and free throw percentage all go up in the playoffs as an 8 seed versus a 1 seed - you don't think there's a little luck involved?

posted by WeedyMcSmokey at 09:57 AM on May 04, 2007

Maybe a little bit of luck but not much when the team is being prepared by the same guy that used to be the head coach of the opposition. I think with Coach Nelson on their side, the were just better prepared and executed their plays with more tenacity. The Mavs looked lost out there and if luck had anything to do with anything, it must of been bad luck towards Dallas.

posted by BornIcon at 10:21 AM on May 04, 2007

Luck? Over 6 games? If a player consistently hits "circus shots" over multiple games, its not luck, he's just that good. By the way, in response to the "pickup game" observation - you are looking at the future of the NBA. More scoring and more defense; not conservative positional defense but aggressive, risk-taking defense that either gets you a steal and fastbreak or an easy bucket for the other team. The Warriors (along with the Suns, naturally) may be the prototype NBA team of the next decade. This is by design, the NBA has implemented rules that favor "circus shot" perimeter players like Davis, Kobe Bryant, Dwayne Wade, etc. I wasn't sure that I liked this change, but after seeing the Warriors play their frenetic style that includes both offense and defense (I insist) I'm actually pretty excited by it. It's going to be interesting to see them in the next round against a solid more traditional team - either Utah or Houston fit this bill. An exciting conference final if you like what the NBA is evolving into would be Phoenix-Golden State (although I really like Yao Ming)....

posted by sic at 11:39 AM on May 04, 2007

Luck? Over 6 games? If a player consistently hits "circus shots" over multiple games, its not luck, he's just that good. If a player's shooting percentage rises 20% for 6 games, it doesn't mean he's suddenly become that good. It means he got hot, and,yes probably lucky. It's not all pure skill. I can think of two shots yesterday that were terrible that Davis hit (cut under and off-balance 3 in the first half and half court heave) that accounted for 2 of his 3s and 6 of his 20 points. That's 30% of his point production from luck right there. If you don't count that as luck, then there is no such thing as luck in basketball (short of bouncing off a defenders head into the basket). But I'm not saying luck is bad. Good teams always seem to be luckier, too. You manufacture a lot of it, in that you have to put yourself in a position to get luck that's meaningful. Golden State and Phoenix are interesting to look at since there is a good chance that this is the Western Finals preview (mostly because Houston and Utah still aren't playing at their best and could be worn down sufficiently for the Warriors to beat either). I think they actually are two different teams. They both score a lot but they don't play the same way. Not from what I've seen. The biggest difference is Phoenix has inside scoring and is in the paint with their forwards much more (Golden State's guards are at the rim more). Baron is not drive and dish, so much as seeing and exploiting match-up isos and Golden State isn't in the same class shooting-wise. Phoenix runs high screens and pick and rolls almost exclusively in the half court. Golden State is much more physical defensively, but Phoenix is probably the better defensive team and has the best on the ball defender in Marion. There's a resemblance, but I don't attribute the same strengths to each as the other.

posted by WeedyMcSmokey at 12:41 PM on May 04, 2007

By the way, in response to the "pickup game" observation - you are looking at the future of the NBA. It may be the future of the league, but that style still has yet to translate into a championship. I love watching it, too, but to me it looks like we're heading to a re-match of the '05 Finals with S.A. and Deeetroit Basketball. Two "boring" teams that focus on fundamentals. I think the Dallas - G.S. series proves how little the regular season actually means. Of course home court advantage is important, but aside from that, Dallas' regular season dominance didn't get them much. As a Jazz fan, I don't know that I'd rather see them play the Warriors in the second round as opposed to the Mavs (that is, assuming they get by Houston tomorrow night, fingers crossed). I have to think Utah (or Houston) will play the Warriors more physically than what proved to be a soft Dallas team.

posted by chamo at 12:49 PM on May 04, 2007

Weedy: I still disagree with you about the lucky thing; two crazy shots in a row may be lucky, but if he's hitting them over an entire series, it means that he got hot - and that he has mad skills. Being in the zone is not the same as being lucky. By the way his shooting percentage only went up 10%, not 20 (and don't forget he was injured during part of the season as well). Other than that, I agree that GS and the Suns have different styles, but both styles are subsets of a more general category that is high octane "small ball" (playing with no true center) that favors the skills of perimeter players (like Nash, Marion and Barbosa) and quick interior players (Stoudemire). If you can't touch Kobe Bryant on the perimeter, as the new rules dictate, he will score 80 points on you, Steve Nash will pepper you with assists and Baron Davis will drive into the lane at will. This is definitely the future. But like Chamo says, it hasn't translated into a championship yet, but it will, and soon - maybe even this season. The rulemakers of the NBA are obviously changing the focus and teams are just starting to catch on. Several franchises are starting to modify their squads to fit the new reality of the NBA.

posted by sic at 02:43 PM on May 04, 2007

Tangent: I used to dislike Baron Davis, until I saw this: He seems way cooler than I thought....

posted by sic at 02:47 PM on May 04, 2007

I played AAU ball against Baron back in '96 in Inglewood. He literally jumped OVER our point guard, caugh an alley-oop off of the back board and jammed with TWO hands. We (my highschool team and I) also played against his Santa Monica Cross-Roads team in tournament and he fucked us up for 42 points and 12 rebounds and who knows how many assists (they didn't keep track). Even back then he was a little chubby and didn't look like an NBA player. But he was and is goddamn good. He is the most athletic weeble I have ever seen. (weebles wobble but they don't fall down)

posted by yay-yo at 04:18 PM on May 04, 2007

(weebles wobble but they don't fall down) Thanks for clearing that up.

posted by sic at 05:18 PM on May 04, 2007

That Baron Davis clip is too funny, sic. Thanks, good stuff.

posted by BornIcon at 02:14 PM on May 05, 2007

You're not logged in. Please log in or register.