The Warriors fared decently against the NBA's best team Friday night. The Lakers seemed to toy with this mangy Warriors squad played without team captain Stephen Jackson. Despite playing their second game in as many days, the Lakers started strong until the Warriors made some stops that led to converted fast breaks and a 31 point second quarter.
The Warriors put out a terrific effort for the home crowd, but the desparity in talent was clear when the game was on the line in the forth quarter. Marco Belinelli had the most undesirable task of guarding Kobe and actually did okay. He beat Kobe off the dribble for a lefty layup, picked Kobe, and did well to deny him the ball in the Lakers' half court offense. Ooh, but when Kobe had Marco one on one, you didn't need HDTV to see the fear in Marco's eyes. In the second half, Kobe posterized Marco as he blew past him and finished witha tamahwk jam. (Actually, Marco was beat so bad he probably didn't make the poster). Brandan Wright played magnificently until being injured defending a Pao Gasol jam. Wright's sudden absence allowed neccesitated an anthony Randolf appearance. Randolf ran the floor and blocked shots, but was abused by Andrew Bynum inside. Randolf also turned the ball over on silly feet shuffling travel and blew several defensive assignents in transition.
In the end, Bynum and Gasol balanced with the perimeter play of Kobe and Trevor Ariza made the Warriors look like the "little midgets" Charles Barkley not-so-affectionately dubbed Nellie ball. The Warriors are an undersized team built to score by converting in transition. The only problem is this W's team without Baron and Monte, does not execute the fast break particularly well. Nellie doesn't have the players to run small ball and would be better suited to go big. He won't, though.