Great win for the Warriors last night to halt the slide towards oblivion.
Watching those three losses in a row was hard to take. Injuries played there part with Seymour, Price, Mannering and Vatuvei missing - but the balance of the squad had some really bad performances. I have said it before and I will say it again - I don't mind losing. If I did, supporting the Warriors would be unbearable. But what I cannot accept and what this franchise should not accept from its players is utter and total capitulation. Those losses against the Storm, Panthers and Raiders were a progressive descent down the tubes with each loss worse than the last. This decline must be arrested as soon as possible and last night the signs were there that this ship can be turned around.
My guess is Price will not play at all this season. He might make a late season cameo or even suddenly become available for the playoffs but basically the team is going to have to manage without him. Mannering is due back next week but his injury must be pretty serious when you consider he basically has been out since incurring the injury eight weeks before round 1 (thats 18 weeks of recovery time and he is only now available?). Vatuvei limps off again last night and his injury looks bad as well. M and V may be both out for the bulk of the season at this rate.
So we are left with Seymour to provide leadership and direction to what has been looking a rudderless squad. And last night he showed that he can be that guy with the Warriors looking much more assured generally, taking a calmer less helter skelter approach and much better last tackle options.
Maloney looked much more comfortable partnering Seymour than having to manage the playmaking and kicking duties on his own.
My favourite player of the last few rounds and putting in another sterling performance last night - Ukama Tai. He is Mr Effective for the Warriors forward pack at present. Much improved performance by Locke as well and I thought Ropati also made a big contribution.
Interesting stories out there re Wade Mac. He has been dropped to reserve grade for the last two weeks. I still think he is probably worthy of the bench and he provides useful cover should yet more injuries in the back line occur. But he has clearly lost his spark after knee surgery. He is not the same player he was. Interestingly it appears Wade Mac and Price are two of the Warriors highest paid players. Price is going and if Wade Mac were to go as well this would leave a lot of cap open.
This brings me to the signings of Mateo and Inu. Both these players have the reputation of being freakishly talented but lacking in the hard work and application department. Cleary has to know this already and if he can draw the best out of them - these are fantastic additions to the squad. On the other hand the Warriors is a bad place to be for those who are less than true believers in the cause. Psychological fragility is this clubs calling card. We need players who work hard and never take a game off. Campion, Price, and Cleary are all examples of this. Toopi, Lau'atiti and Sione Faumuaina are all examples of fantastically talented players at the Warriors who just weren't mentally committed all the time for the good of the team. Sometimes these guys looked like they would rather be somewhere else. This is a culture and a mental outlook that needs to be ruthlessly avoided and I will be watching Mateo and Inu closely to see what their work ethic is like next year before I put my hopes on them being the saviours of the franchise.
And finally Lebron James James James James James. Another exit from the NBA playoffs. This time in pathetic fashion after the Cavs have been the NBAs dominant team for the entire season. Not good enough. Some serious soul searching is required. Iverson, Malone, Barkley, Ewing, Stockton - these were all great players. But no rings means they cannot hope to approach the status of Jordan/Kobe/Magic. Lebron needs to perform when it counts. You can't blame it all on him - after all its a team game. The organisation he chooses to join at this juncture of free agency needs to be structured around him to produce a winning unit. But the kind of capitulation we saw this week is unacceptable by the standards of performance he has demonstrated himself capable of many times before. Lebron has to ask himself - can he accept being just a super talented player but an overall loser like Tmac - or does he want to join the pantheon of the greatest of all time.