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News » Putting fun in dysfunctional

Putting fun in dysfunctional

Putting fun in dysfunctional It had to be comforting to the Warriors and their fans to see the Memphis Grizzlies and Allen Iverson arrive in Oakland on Wednesday.

It was a reminder that the Warriors haven't cornered the NBA market on disaffected players or odd chemistry. Iverson missed the Grizzlies' first three games with an injury, came off the bench in Game 4, then groused that he has no intention of being a supporting actor in anybody's drama.

It would seem that a detail like that would have been hammered out up-front, not after the contract was signed.

Uh, Mr. Iverson, we'd like you to provide a spark off the bench.

You want a spark off the bench, go hire a bad electrician.

In your NBA Most Dysfunctional Team fantasy league, you are golden if you took the Grizzlies, but don't give up just yet on your Warriors .

The Warriors triumphed 113-105, getting their first win while delivering the message: Nothing will be easy or predictable this season.

For fans of the strange side of the NBA, this was a must-see game. In Sports Illustrated's preseason "report card," the Grizzlies got a D and the Warriors a D-plus. The Warriors scored higher because team owner Chris Cohan might be willing to sell. Hope is a beautiful thing.

One bright spot for the Warriors is supposed to be Anthony Randolph: taller, stronger and more mature than last season, a superstar pecking out of his shell. Many fans were disappointed, then, when coach Don Nelson announced after the second game that Randolph was being moved out of the starting lineup.

Randolph now a second-string center? No. Third-string. When Andris Biedrins picked up two early fouls, Nelson went to the bench for drumroll, please ... Mikki Moore, who logged 22 minutes, to seven for Randolph. Who knew Nelson's doghouse had a basement?

Actually, Nelson had no problem with Randolph on Wednesday. "He did fine."

But seven minutes? Hey, it was a win, nobody was complaining.

Iverson, meanwhile, might become a cancer on the Grizzlies, or at least a painful boil - Memphis coach Lionel Hollins slammed the door on A.I. questions at the beginning of his pregame news conference - but look what Old Sparky can do: Iverson checked into the game with Memphis trailing 13-11. He fed center Marc Gasol for a basket, then drilled three straight jump shots.

In back-to-back games, rookie point guard Stephen Curry has been schooled by two of the all-time greats - Steve Nash and Iverson. This time, Monta Ellis didn't wait until the second half to tell Curry, "Let's switch guys, rook."

Nelson, meanwhile, deserves credit for not standing pat after an 0-2 start. By moving Stephen Jackson to power forward and Kelenna Azubuike into a starting job at small forward, Nelson hoped to open up the floor for the team's offense. Voila! Ellis spun in that relatively empty space for 24 points.

Some of the stats look ugly: Jackson and Azubuike combined for 26 points and four rebounds. The Grizzlies' starting forwards, Rudy Gay and Zach Randolph, combined for 45 points and 18.

Jackson went scoreless in the first half and was booed every time he touched the ball - but he scored 19 in the second half.

Maybe it's possible for a so-so team like the Warriors to rise above itself when its most experienced star is openly yearning to make like Free Willy, the disgruntled whale.

But even if you believe that Jackson is giving 110 percent, living up to his new neck tattoos Chinese characters for "integrity" and "loyalty", even if you believe he's giving the team his heart on the court, can you give him yours?

Many fans vote "no" by booing whenever Stack Jack touches the ball. On Wednesday, the boos spilled onto Corey Maggette when he clanged a couple of jumpers early, possibly because of a perception that Maggette, for all his scoring skills 20 points on 9-for-17 shooting, doesn't have the style of game to complement a running, ball-movement team like the Warriors hope to be.

Or maybe the fans are just starting to boo everyone in a Caltrans-orange headband.

Everyone except Anthony Morrow, a crowd darling because he plays with enthusiasm and flair and has a jump shot every other player wants for Christmas. Morrow took 12 shots and scored 24 points, barely riffling the nets.

It was not a formula win, but that's the way it will be. You can bet on this: However many games the Warriors win this season, assuming it's more than one, no two will be alike.

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Author: Fox Sports
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Added: November 5, 2009


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