Quick hits from Oracle Arena after watching the Warriors lose 109-104 to the Memphis Grizzlies on Friday night:
Rookie forward Anthony Randolph finally got a chance to play some meaningful minutes, thanks to injuries that sidelined veterans Corey Maggette and Al Harrington. You know what? The kid that coach Don Nelson has said was nowhere near ready to play in the big, bad NBA actually looked pretty good.
Randolph scored eight points on 4 of 8 shooting in just over 17 minutes. He grabbed seven rebounds and blocked a shot.
Even Nelson was impressed.
“I liked it,” Nelson said of Randolph’s performance. “He’s way ahead of Brandan Wright, where he was a year ago. I thought he looked pretty good tonight.
“He’s going to be a terrific player some day. He’s probably a little too young now. He had some nice moments. He definitely has a presence to his game.”
Randolph’s jumper looked silky smooth. He used his tremendous wingspan to block or affect a few Memphis shots. Randolph even handled the ball well on the fastbreak. Not bad for a 6-10 rookie.
“It was a little nerve-wracking at first,” Randolph said. “I was nervous, but once the game started going, I settled (down) and just started to play my game. I was nervous. My heart was beating fast.
“I was probably having a little panic attack when I shot that first shot. But when I missed, it was like, ‘OK, nothing worse can happen, so just come out there and play your game.’ After I missed that first shot I was good.”
Without point guard Baron Davis, the Warriors are still struggling in the final minutes of close games. Stephen Jackson made a concerted effort Friday night to be the Warriors’ go-to guy in crunch time. He did OK. But he’s not B.D. He doesn’t have Davis’ quickness or speed. He certainly doesn’t have his ball-handling skills and doesn’t demand the same type of defensive attention that leads to wide open shots for his teammates.
This part of the Warriors’ game is still a work in progress.
“The young guys played well, we played hard enough,” Jackson said. “But down the stretch I am the leader of this team so I have to make better plays. I have to be smarter.”
Jackson scored 27 points but had just four assists.
Harrington missed the game with a bad back, and his time with the Warriors appears to be winding down in the wake of his public request for a trade.
Nelson said that entering the season he made a commitment to Harrington to give him major minutes every game. That deal, Nelson said before the game, ended earlier this week.
“For the good of the franchise, I think we have to anticipate that he won’t be here and do what we have to do to not be all of a sudden totally surprised about a different lineup,” Nelson said. “If we can do that gradually now, and we’ll bring Al off of the bench and he’ll have to pick up minutes where he can. It’s not that he’s not going to play. He will play, but we’ve got to look to the future here, so that’s what we’re trying to do.”
Nelson was asked if it would be better to trade Harrington sooner rather than later.
“It doesn’t matter,” Nelson said. “It’s just so we get a good player. If that’s soon, that’s fine. If it doesn’t happen. … Hopefully it will happen. I hope it will. He hopes it will. A guy shouldn’t be where he doesn’t want to be. It’s hard for him to give his best and his all. It’s a good things for both parties at this point.”
Point guard Marcus Williams finally slimmed down enough to get on the floor. He played like someone who hadn’t seen the court since the exhibition season. He went scoreless in nearly 10 minutes of playing time, missing all three of his shots.
Nelson said he told Williams he wouldn’t get to suit up until he got his body fat to 10 percent or his weight to 210 pounds. Williams made his weight and saw some game action against Memphis.
“We watched him in training camp, and he just couldn’t do what we thought he could do,” Nelson said. “So he got beat out by two guys. It was just something we thought we’d bring to his attention, that he needed to get his weight down.
“Whether he’s with me or somebody else, it’s hard for him to get into the paint area where he’s effective when he’s heavy. So he was not going to play until he got to 10 percent body fat or 210 (pounds), and he got serious. He lost it quickly. … . I was very encouraged by yesterday’s practice, and I’ve been encouraged by watching him come in early in the morning and do his double workouts and sometimes three, and he got his weight down. I’m happy about that.”
Andris Biedrins recorded his 13th straight double-double, dating to last season, the longest current streak in the NBA and the longest by a Warrior since Nate Thurmond had 13 straight in 1973. Biedrins scored 23 points, grabbed 12 rebounds and – drum roll – made 9 of 10 freethrows.
“He had some decent numbers,” Nelson said. “I don’t think he was as good tonight as he’s been.”
Tough crowd. Nelson was unhappy with the way the Warriors got outrebounded 55-41 as a team by the Grizzlies even though Memphis center Marc Gasol played only 17:15 before fouling out and backup center Darko Milicic played just 12:27 before being ejected in the first half for saying a few choice words to the officials.
Rookie power forward Richard Hendrix is ticketed the NBA Development League, Nelson said.
“I don’t think that he’s ready yet,” Nelson said. “And I’m going to put him in the ‘D’ League, probably for most of the year. I think that would be good for him and then we’ll take a look at him. I don’t see that he’s going to be NBA ready for quite a while.”