Davis' pain is Warriors' loss

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PostPosted: Fri Mar 30, 2007 2:37 am
OAKLAND - You can't accuse Warriors coach Don Nelson of having irrational exuberance or false optimism about his team.

After all, he figuratively waved the white flag on the season 29 days ago with 23 games left to play after a disheartening 30-point road loss to the Chicago Bulls.

"I thought I could get this team in the playoffs, and it doesn't look like I'm going to be able to do it," Nelson told reporters that night in Chicago.

If anything, that was a premature surrender. But the point is that Nelson is an NBA realist, not one to paint an overly rosy picture. So when you ask him what his team's playoff chances are now with 10 games left, you can count on a realistic answer.

"Probably not good now," Nelson said Wednesday after practice.

Who could argue?

Nelson cited the obvious reasons. The Warriors have lost back-to-back games and fallen dangerously far behind the surging Los Angeles Clippers in the race for the Western Conference's eighth and final playoff spot.

They face a nasty 10-game finishing stretch, starting tonight at home against the 53-17 Phoenix Suns. They have five more games on the road, which has not been kind to them.

But what makes the Warriors' outlook even grimmer is the fact that guard Baron Davis, their best player, is playing on a swollen and painful left knee that has yet to fully heal from arthroscopic surgery.

The Warriors changed coaches this season, Nelson replacing Mike Montgomery. They reshaped their roster, adding Stephen Jackson and Al Harrington while subtracting Mike Dunleavy and Troy Murphy in an eight-player trade in January.

They've made numerous changes. Yet one constant remains. The Warriors will go as far as the magnificently talented but injury-prone Davis takes them. They are at the mercy of his aching body, once again.

Davis missed 36 games two seasons ago when he came to the Warriors from the New Orleans Hornets in a Feb. 24 trade. He missed 28 games last season. This year he has missed 16 games, most of those because of a knee injury that required surgery Feb. 13.

"I'm not here to make excuses," Nelson said. "There really are none. But a healthy Baron is different than a Baron that plays on a leg and a half. He was able to be relatively healthy for a short period of time. I think you saw how good he can be.

"And as hard as he tried in the Laker game, his leg really wouldn't let him do much. And I don't know how he played the last game. ... I didn't think he should play, but he really wanted to play, and he just didn't have that much."

The Warriors lost to the Lakers 115-113 on Sunday, then were blown out by the San Antonio Spurs 126-89 the next night. Davis shot 26.7 percent against the Lakers and 36.8 against the Spurs. From 3-point range, he was 3-of-10 against the Lakers and 0-of-7 against the Spurs.

When Davis came to the Warriors two seasons ago, there were rumblings from the Hornets that he was a malingerer, that he didn't work hard enough to get back on the court from injury.

You can't question Davis' attitude or work ethic this season. He returned to action just 20 days after undergoing knee surgery. He has played in pain and played even when it might have been wiser to rest. Consider the San Antonio game.

"He was very limited," Warriors guard Jason Richardson said. "I mean, he's playing with a swollen knee. It's tough. He had a scope going through there. He's a tough guy, though. He's fighting through it."

Richardson underwent arthroscopic knee surgery during the offseason and didn't truly recover until after a broken hand forced him out of action for over two months. Early in the season, Richardson was able to take an occasional game off.

Davis doesn't have that luxury.

"He knows how important he is to this team and what we need for him to do for us," Richardson said. "That shows you what type of leader he is. He's playing with a lot of swelling. ... There are some days you can't even go to sleep. Some days you can't even walk in the morning."

Before their two-game skid, the Warriors had won six of seven games, beating the Detroit Pistons, Denver Nuggets, Clippers, Dallas Mavericks, Minnesota Timberwolves and Seattle Sonics. The Warriors held those teams to an average of 93.7 points per game, 13.5 points below their league-worst season average.

Davis played a huge role in the Warriors' defensive renaissance and their surge back into playoff contention. He even raised Nelson's hopes, until the Lakers and Spurs killed much of that buzz.

"We were really playing well, we were playing our best ball," Nelson said. "But with the swelling in Baron's leg, it just doesn't allow us to stay at the really high caliber."

Nelson acknowledged the painfully obvious, that Davis "gets hurt a lot" playing basketball.

"I think it's (from) carrying that big body that he's got around. He's played a lot of minutes when he was young. Yeah, no question. A lot of ailments. That's too bad because he's so good."

For the Warriors, that bit of injury reality bites.

Jose Carlos Fajardo/Contra Costa Times, Eric Gilmore.
________________________________________________

Well Baron & the Warriors pulled off a great win vs the Suns, Baron's proving to be a true Warrior :!: Had surgery & has only missed 16 game's this year :shock:
Much needed off days between upcoming game's... Playoffs Baby 8)
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PostPosted: Fri Mar 30, 2007 3:20 am
If Baron even misses 2 of the final games due to soreness, it will lilely make a big difference. Be good to have him close to 100% in the 1st round as well if they make it
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PostPosted: Fri Mar 30, 2007 4:21 pm
Even if the Warriors make the playoffs (which is an achievement in itself), how can Baron possibly be able to keep up with the smashmouthed, grind-it-out pace of the postseason? With the way he's barely able to hobble through 25 minutes a night now?

The guy's one tough SOB, there's no question. But unless Baron's leg magically heals and the swelling goes down in the next week, the Warriors are playing with an injured star. I admit, half of Baron Davis is still the best thing we've got on our roster... but how far is too far? I know he's dying to get us to the playoffs, I know he feels the need to carry this team... but, sometimes, I just think Baron needs to take care of himself for a while. Coming back 20 days after surgery? That's insane. And I'm not too sure, right now, if him missing 3 or 4 more games to heal would have been worse than him coming back too soon and risking a worse injury now, at season's end.

One thing's for sure: Baron Davis is an insanely tough guy whose #1 goal in life is to pull Golden State into the postseason.
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PostPosted: Fri Mar 30, 2007 11:23 pm
Yep, he told Nelson everytime he tried to take him out that he did not want to leave the floor such as the Wizards game. He wanted to be out there to ensure they win and keep this team in postseason contention. This man is fighting for what he believes this city needs... a playoff team. Nelson kind of gave up on the Warriors after the 30-point blowout loss to Chicago during that long road trip. While everyone denied to let down and tank, Baron desired it the most. All I know is that Baron Davis has earned a well deserved rest.

He sure will be in a wheel chair or using a walking cane to get around when he's older.
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PostPosted: Sat Mar 31, 2007 1:18 am
monta ellis did well against the grizzlies... they should let baron davis sit out this game.
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PostPosted: Sat Mar 31, 2007 2:48 am
aaustria wrote:monta ellis did well against the grizzlies... they should let baron davis sit out this game.


Sadly, if Baron misses games in this last stretch of the season, we don't have a chance to make the playoffs. We need him that much. Just remember the last game against the Blazers.
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PostPosted: Sat Mar 31, 2007 3:36 am
I reckon Baron could sit against the Griz and the team could still win well. Without MMiller, the Grizz have no gunners
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PostPosted: Sat Mar 31, 2007 2:03 pm
migya wrote:I reckon Baron could sit against the Griz and the team could still win well. Without MMiller, the Grizz have no gunners

Portland's not that much better than Memphis... and they blew is out when we didn't have Baron Davis.
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PostPosted: Sat Mar 31, 2007 8:45 pm
32 wrote:
migya wrote:I reckon Baron could sit against the Griz and the team could still win well. Without MMiller, the Grizz have no gunners

Portland's not that much better than Memphis... and they blew is out when we didn't have Baron Davis.


Yea well, if the man's going to sit, this is the game because the Grizlies are weaker than other teams. Better if he plays as much as possible but if he does need to rest, Nelson has to pick the right games for it
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PostPosted: Sun Apr 01, 2007 3:59 am
At least, I'd have him in uniform and ready in case the Warriors start blowing. Which very well may happen.
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PostPosted: Sun Apr 01, 2007 10:00 am
JayPat wrote:At least, I'd have him in uniform and ready in case the Warriors start blowing. Which very well may happen.

That's probably the best bet.

That stradegy also puts pressure on his teammates. Baron's playing with a leg that's ready to fall apart... and the only way to keep him out of harm's way is to win ballgames without him. :wink: Not a bad guilt trip. Jason would definately get fired up about it... and SJax, too, probably.
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PostPosted: Sun Apr 01, 2007 6:41 pm
32 wrote:
JayPat wrote:At least, I'd have him in uniform and ready in case the Warriors start blowing. Which very well may happen.

That's probably the best bet.

That stradegy also puts pressure on his teammates. Baron's playing with a leg that's ready to fall apart... and the only way to keep him out of harm's way is to win ballgames without him. :wink: Not a bad guilt trip. Jason would definately get fired up about it... and SJax, too, probably.


Well... his knee got rest today, even though not in the way we would have liked it...
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PostPosted: Sun Apr 01, 2007 7:55 pm
What a waste. Pre-game warmups, practices, and 10 minutes of gametime all mean NOTHING when it comes down to the Warriors winning or losing.

I kind of wish Davis just took time off and rested between the Rockets game and the Suns game. :roll: At least then he might have healed some.
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PostPosted: Tue Apr 03, 2007 1:40 pm
it is clear that Davis cannot play up to par on back to backs...if I were Nelly, I would pick one of the Memphis/SA back to back and rest him. It is highly doubtful they can beat SA on the back end of a road back to back, so I would rest him there, basically concede that one. I also thought it made no sense to be playing Baron in the 4th of the Phoenix game, when the ws were up 23 and the Suns starters were on the bench. He is playing on 1/2 a knee...as for the playoffs, if somehow we make it, there are no back to backs, and it would be a wonderful dilemma to confront how much to play him then...
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PostPosted: Tue Apr 03, 2007 5:40 pm
coltraning wrote:it is clear that Davis cannot play up to par on back to backs...if I were Nelly, I would pick one of the Memphis/SA back to back and rest him. It is highly doubtful they can beat SA on the back end of a road back to back, so I would rest him there, basically concede that one. I also thought it made no sense to be playing Baron in the 4th of the Phoenix game, when the ws were up 23 and the Suns starters were on the bench. He is playing on 1/2 a knee...as for the playoffs, if somehow we make it, there are no back to backs, and it would be a wonderful dilemma to confront how much to play him then...



You make good points and maybe that is a good decision to make for Nelson. Baron should not have played in the 4th of the Suns game
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