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Thursday, October 30, 2008
Hollinger's PER Diem: Oct. 30, 2008

By John Hollinger

No matter what, you'll always be entertained while watching a Warriors game. Even if the players aren't that good -- and this year, it appears they aren't -- it's worth viewing just to see what kind of crazy scheme coach Don Nelson will cook up.

In Wednesday night's 108-103 loss to New Orleans, the man famous for playing without a center tried a new twist -- playing without a point guard. Really. Starter DeMarcus Nelson played only 13 minutes; for the other 35, Golden State played a lineup with no player smaller than 6-foot-6.

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Instead, Stephen Jackson brought the ball up the court and usually gave it to a guy who was essentially posting up on the wing 20 feet from the basket (Corey Maggette or Al Harrington), and Golden State's offense ran from there. Defensively, the Warriors put Jackson on Chris Paul and switched everything. They never had a little guy caught on David West in screen-and-roll defense, one of the main ways that New Orleans beats you.

Ironically, the strategy didn't seem to hurt much. But at the very end, the Warriors put their starting point guard, Nelson, back in the game. As Golden State trailed by a point with 14 seconds left, Nelson committed a near-turnover on an attempted drive-and-dish, and the Warriors threw away the subsequent inbound pass.

Jackson played all 48 minutes and seemed visibly exhausted by the end; Nelson essentially used a six-man rotation and didn't play Brandan Wright, Marco Belinelli or Marcus Williams. Like I said, he keeps it interesting.

John Hollinger writes for ESPN Insider. To e-mail him, click here.