The Warriors are stunning +8 home dogs to Portland tonight. The line no doubt reflects the loss of Biedrins, Turiaf and Azubuike, and the fact that the Warriors will be playing only seven players. But I think it also reflects something more. This is a team Don Nelson and the Warriors have traditionally given a lot of trouble to, short handed or no. I think this line reflects the absence of Stephen Jackson. Jackson has done a terrific job guarding Portland superstar Brandon Roy over the years, and with him gone, and no Azubuike or Bell, the Warriors simply have no one to guard him.
Roy has moved to small forward this year, so Corey Maggette will get first crack at him. This is a bad matchup for Maggette, who has always struggled guarding the quicker small forwards and guards in the league. I think we’re going to get a good close-up look at the reason Nellie prefers to play Maggette at back-up power forward.
Difficult as it will be to guard Roy with Maggette, the Warriors problems will only get worse when Anthony Morrow comes into the game. Morrow’s only hope to be effective is to outscore him.
Breakfast Links: Jared Cowley, who writes an excellent Warriors blog for the Santa Rosa Press Democrat, has responded to my recent comments on why the Warriors may be better off without Monta Ellis. Here is Jared’s rebuttal.
Bobcat’s Update: The Bobcats are 2-0 ATS (against the spread) since Stephen Jackson joined them, 1-0 ATS since I began betting them. In the first game, they played at Orlando, and lost a close game in the final minute. In the second, they played at Philadelphia, and the same thing happened. The Bobcats lost Tyson Chandler to back spasms in that game, but nevertheless played well enough to have a 3 point lead in the final minute of play. At the end of the game, with the score tied, the Bobcats had an open Diaw three that should have been the last shot of the game. But the backcourt inexplicably let the long rebound go for a layup. As Jackson gets better integrated into the team, mistakes like that should disappear. But the team is already beating the lines.
The Bobcats’ difficult road trip continues tonight in Milwaukee. They may have caught a break in that Bogut is out. Charlotte is +4.5. I’m still on the Bobtrain.