The Warriors are +1.5 dogs at the 2-19 New Jersey Nets. Now that’s embarrassing! The Warriors are now riding a 4 game losing streak of their own, and have lost 6 out of their last 7. I expect them to be a little bit hot about that, and bring everything they’ve got tonight. And by everything, I mean all 7 men. That’s right, Anthony Morrow is back, and so far as we know, no one injured themselves getting off the bus.
(Update: Mike Massa at the Examiner is reporting that Anthony Randolph may miss this game due to a family situation. There you go, Warriors fans. Adjust your handicapping accordingly.)
There should be some interesting cross-matching in this game. I expect the Nets to guard Monta with Devin Harris. Harris is an excellent defender of small point guards. Back in the day, when he was on the Mavs, he used to give Tony Parker fits. Will he be able to keep Monta in front of him? Or will the Nets follow the league’s example, and collapse all 5 men on Monta and watch him try to jack it up anyway?
I’m guessing Monta will be guarding Chris Douglas-Roberts, the Nets small forward and leading scorer. That will put Stephen Curry on Devin Harris. Harris is lightning-fast and loves to drive. This will be a real test for Curry, who struggled against the Thunder’s James Harden, who also loves the drive. In the last game, Keith Smart apparently failed to instruct Curry in the proper method of guarding these types of players, so I’m going to step up in his place:
Memo to Stephen Curry: Sag off, and dare Harris to shoot. Never a great shooter, he’s shooting 35% this year, 20% from three.
Anthony Morrow, if he starts, will be guarding Courtney Lee. I’m a little concerned about this matchup, because Lee is quick and athletic, and a good scorer. Look for Lee to have a big game.
Another tough matchup for the Warriors will be Brook Lopez in the middle. The second-year man out of Stanford was a big surprise out of the draft last year, and has been putting up some eye-opening numbers this year: 19 and 9, with two blocks. This looks like a case for Anthony Randolph playing point center, to pull the monster out of the lane. Nellie did it, will Smart?
The Warriors’ biggest advantage in this game, besides having Monta Ellis, will be at power forward. (How often have we gotten to say that in the last 20 years?) With Yi Jianlian out, the Nets have been starting Josh Boone at the four. Unlike Landry and Green, I don’t think Boone has a chance of being able to guard Vlad Rad and Maggette out on the floor. If those two guys come to play, which has not been a given of late, the Warriors could have a big night.
This game is no cake-walk. The Nets are playing much better under new leadership, and are winners of two of their last three. But the day I can’t pick the Warriors over the Nets, getting points, will be the day I have to hang up my remote.