Nelson changes his mind on practice

January 4, 2010, 1:54 am
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Sunday was supposed to be a day off, and it was for MontaEllis and Corey Maggette.But coach Don Nelson put the rest of the Warriors through atwo-hour grind the day after his team got beat 105-89 by the Blazers inPortland. Nelson said he had originally planned to give the team off butchanged his mind after watching it score 41 points in the first quarter, thenget handled the rest of the way.They deserved it, Nelson said. We needed to get some workdone. We needed to do what we did. There was some slippage.When asked about rookie Stephen Curry, Nelson responded:Gotta toughen up. They all do. Theyre too soft. Gotta toughen up. And ourcenters are back now. Its time for them to step up.Nelson said he gave Ellis and Maggette the day off becausetheyd been playing a lot of minutes and he didnt want them dinged up. Nine other Warriors participated in a practice solelydevoted to defense, according to Nelson.The perimeter players Curry, Anthony Morrow, C.J. Watson,Devean George and Vladimir Radmanovic (who later joined the bigger players) --spent almost all of the practice defending post-ups and closing out on shooters.The big men Andris Biedrins, Ronny Turiaf, Chris Hunterand Anthony Randolph spent all of their time on interior defense,particularly defending the rim and help and recover.After the loss to Portland, Nelson specifically called outhis smalls, saying theyd had a terrible performance. On Sunday, Nelsonsaid he also needed more out of Biedrins and Turiaf, both of whom have recentlyreturned from injury.I thought the bigs needed the work that they did on bothends, and we worked them hard, said Nelson. Its time for them to knowtheyre not going to get reinjured. Put the injury behind them and startplaying up to their potential.Weve given them a few days, a few games. I dont need itto take two weeks to get done. They need to step up and do it now.First chance comes Tuesday night when the Warriors play theNuggets in Denver.
Nelson also made a point of saying he should have had abigger player defending Andre Miller, who finished with 23 points.If I had it to do over again, I would have played a big onhim, Nelson said. Not necessarily Randolph, but probably should have playedCorey on him and that would have taken one post-up away.Our smalls couldnt guard him. Radmanovic (was) anotherguy that could have guarded him. And I put Morrow on him and he just couldnthandle him.