The NBA: Mark’s Midas Touch?

Mark Jackson's season hasn't been very golden,
but it has had its shining moments.

 *All images are from the Associated Press.

"What they're doing right now is playing off one another. They're realizing who has the hot hand." – Warriors coach Mark Jackson, on guards Stephen Curry, who had 36 points in Thursday's win over Denver, and Monta Ellis, who led the way in Sunday's win over Houston with 33 points.

The Golden State Warriors have, arguably, the most offensively potent backcourt combination in the whole Western Conference, if not the whole league (LBJ and D-Wade will probably have something to say about that, though). With Monta Ellis and Steph Curry, Mark Jackson has two dynamic, spitfirish speedsters who can turn it up on any given night.

And yet the Warriors are 10-14 (as of this writing), a full 3 games behind 8th spot and 4th overall in the Pacific Division. The only team below them, Sacramento, beat them earlier this month, showcasing some glaring problems with the Warriors.

And what are those problems?

Despite new coach Mark Jackson promoting stingy defense, the Warriors aren’t among the league’s best in that end of the floor. Against Sacramento, GSW gave up 114 points. That’s a full 14 points off their pace, which is to give up 100.7ppg. That, by the way, is second-worst in the whole league.

There also hasn’t been anyone consistently helping David Lee clean the glass. Lee is averaging a nice double-double of about 18ppg and 10rpg, but nobody else is rebounding more than 7 a game. Kwame Brown is the 2nd best rebounder on the team at 6.3rpg. All together, the team is 27th in rebounding, which, considering the volume of shots they give up, is a really bad sign.

But there are some positives. The Warriors are top 5 in scoring, blocks, steals, assists, and FG%. They are also the overall best team so far in terms of 3pt%. All that has translated into the Warriors going .500 in their last 10 games, which includes a good 3-2 slate in February (as of this writing).

So clearly, Mark Jackson has been a good influence on the Warriors, but there’s still a lot of work before they can actually live up to their “golden” name.

Mark Jackson is no King Midas, but with maybe a bit more work, who knows? These Warriors might just glitter like gold.

After the JUMP, key stat-stuffers for today’s games:

LAL over TOR, 94-92 –
The Lakers continue to be masters of the Raptors, albeit barely. LA wrapped up a 6-game road tour by beating the Raps for the eight time in 9 meetings. Kobe Bryant broke the backs of Toronto with a nice shot over James Johnson in the waning moments that clinched the win.
BOS over CHI, 95-91 –
Rajon Rondo wowed the home crowd with a fantastic triple-double line of 32 points, 15 assists, and 10 rebounds to lead the Cs over the Rose-less Bulls. KG was great, too, ending up with 13 markers and 12 boards as the Big Green halted their 2-game slide. CJ Watson was impressive in filling in for D-Rose. Watson scored 22 for the Bulls as they saw their winning run snapped at 5 games.
WAS over DET, 98-77 –
Javale McGee won his battle with Greg Monroe, scoring 22 points and grabbing 8 rebounds to help John Wall lead the Wiz to rout the Pistons. Wall dished out 14 dimes efficiently orchestrate Washington’s offense, highlighted by a 22-2 run bridging the last two quarters.
MIA over ATL, 107-87 –
The Heat started slow, but built up enough momentum to take a 22-point bubble at the half and stay on cruise control till the end of the game. LBJ and D-Wade teamed up for 44 points as Miami led by as many as 32 points in a statement game. Chris Bosh was great, too, tossing in 14 markers on top of a season-high 16 ribbies.
GSW over HOU, 106-97 –
Monta Ellis was his I-should-be-an-All-Star self, scoring 33 points and making 7 assists to lead the Warriors past the Rockets. David Lee helped him out with 15 points and 13 rebounds as Golden State won its second in a row over a potential Western playoff team. K-Mart led Houston with 28 points and 5 triples.
UTA over MEM, 98-88
Gordon Hayward broke out for 23 points to add to the 21 of Al Jefferson as the Jazz ended a 3-game losing spin. Hayward was 8-of-12 from the floor, leading Utah to a nice 51% FG clip. Rudy Gay led the Grizz with 22 while Mike Conley and Marc Gasol scored 17 each.

Super Scorers (Top scorers of the night!)
Monta Ellis (GSW) – 33
Rajon Rondo (BOS) – 32
Jose Calderon (TOR) – 30
Kevin Martin (HOU) – 28

Monta Ellis exploded against the Houston Rockets.

Ragin’ Rebounders (Top rebounders of the night!)
Pau Gasol (LAL) – 17
Chris Bosh (MIA) – 16
Al Jefferson (UTA) – 15

Dynamic Dishers (Top playmakers of the night!)
Rajon Rondo (BOS) & John Wall (WAS) – 15
Kyle Lowry (HOU) – 9

Terrific Thieves (Top thieves of the night!)
Kyle Lowry (HOU), Ronnie Brewer (CHI), & Paul Pierce (BOS) – 4

Boomin’ Blockers (Top blockers of the night!)
Kevin Garnett (BOS) – 4
Paul Millsap (UTA), Jan Vesely (WAS), & Samuel Dalembert (HOU) – 3

Sharpshooters (Top 3-point shooters of the night!)
Kevin Martin (HOU) – 5
Jose Calderon (TOR) & Klay Thompson (GSW) – 4

K-Mart's 5 threes were not enough to upend the Warriors.

Feb. 12, 2012 First Five
C – Javale McGee (WAS) – 22pts, 11rebs, 2blks
F – Al Jefferson (UTA) – 21pts, 15rebs, 4asts, 2blks, 1stl
F – LeBron James (MIA) – 23pts, 13rebs, 6asts, 1stl
G – Monta Ellis (GSW) – 33pts, 7asts, 5rebs, 2stls, 1blk
G – Rajon Rondo (BOS) – 32pts, 15asts, 10rebs, 2stls

Javale McGee had a great game against young and
up-and-coming center Greg Monroe.

Honorable Mention:
Jose Calderon (TOR) – 30pts, 6asts, 4 treys, 2rebs
Kevin Martin (HOU) – 28pts, 6rebs, 5 treys, 2asts, 1stl, 1blk
Gordon Hayward (UTA) – 23pts, 5asts, 2stls, 1reb

For a full summary of the day, here’s today’s NBA Daily Zap:

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