In This League, It Is All About The Bench Play

SAN ANTONIO, TEXAS –At 1-4 the Golden State Warriors are one of the worse teams in the league. SAN ANTONIO, TEXAS –At 1-4 the Golden State Warriors are one of the worse teams in the league. Playing the San Antonio Spurs after they had defeated the Memphis Grizzlies probably didn’t help matters as the Spurs tacked them with their fourth loss, 93-73.
It wasn’t that the Spurs did anything special because they didn’t. For the most part the Spurs weren’t shooting very well and the Warriors were just out rebounding their opponents. It seemed the Spurs were headed for another blowout, this time in their own building. Yet what helped propel the Spurs to this win weren’t the starters; it was the bench. What cost the Warriors this loss weren’t the starters; it was their bench.
“You can’t win in this league unless your bench produces,” Warriors head coach Eric Musselman said after the game. “They had two guys on their bench outscore our entire bench. They made a run and we gave up.”

The Spurs had twenty-five of their 33 bench points come from Malik Rose and Stephen Jackson. Rose had twelve points while Jackson had thirteen.
“I’m feeling a lot more comfortable with the flow of the offense,” Jackson said. “There is still a lot of little things that I need to pick up on but I am definitely continuing to put in the work needed and get sharper with my execution.”

It was that execution that proved to be on of the more deadly elixirs the Warriors swallowed. From driving runners to a spot up three, Jackson did it all in just 26 minutes of play. His line was 5 for 11 with 1 of 3 from the three-point line, two of three from the three throw line, two boards, an assist and two steals in the game.

The Warriors felt it was something different; lack of mental focus. While the Spurs got into the Alamo City at 3:30 a.m. Tuesday morning, the Warriors had to spend the night in Dallas in a hotel. Their Northwest charter flight was delayed for more than an hour. Musselman made the decision to go to a hotel so that his team can rest. But that still is no excuse for not playing to the best of your ability.

“We just didn’t come out and play,” Jason Richardson said. “We just played through the motions and they [the Spurs] took advantage.”
The bench scoring for the Warriors was almost non-registered on the stats sheet. The bench scored an almost unheard of eleven points. The bench players simply did not come through for Mussleman.

“It can bother us as coaches every night but it has to bother the guys that suit up if it is going to change.”

Two of the biggest contributors failed to make a dent into a game that was probably quite manageable fro the coaches’ standpoint. Mike Dunleavy, who played twenty minutes in the contest, was 0 for 4, had two turnovers and committed personal fouls in the game. Adonal Foyle was an atrocious 2 of 6 and grabbed three rebounds in 25 minutes of play. Performances like that simply can’t win a team games.
“No excuses,” Mussleman said. “There are 82 games in the season. The fans paid their money and showed up so we have to be professionals and we have to play hard.”
Gilbert Areanas just chalked it up to a lack of intensity.

“We stopped hitting the easy shots we were getting in the first half and that affected our defense,” Areanas said. “It is tough to fight back when they make a 19-4 run.”
Jason Richardson summed it up even better.
“They were a more focused group. They hit the big baskets, but for us, this was not our team. The most important thing for us is to put this game behind us.”

GAME NOTES/RECAP: With the 93-73 win over the Warriors, San Antonio moved to a 4-1 record but more importantly had a better showing against a Warriors team that defeated them in Oakland, 106-93 on Halloween Eve.

“It was a great effort, especially in the second half,” Tim Duncan said. “Guys are really digging in and making a huge effort.”
The Spurs had a major run of 19-4 n the second half that pretty much

November 11, 2002
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