The Warriors are +7.5 road dogs to the Memphis Grizzlies? Wow, when is the last time you saw a Warriors/Grizzlies line like that? Unfortunately, I can’t find much fault with it. This ain’t your grandpappy’s Grizzlies. This team has a loaded starting lineup, and they are really starting to play. In the last three weeks, they’ve beaten the Mavs, the Cavs, and the Nuggets at home. Impressive.
The still short-handed Warriors are going to have matchup problems all over the floor with the Grizzlies. Starting with Marc Gasol. Gasol is 7-1, 265, and is averaging 15 points and 10 rebounds. Wow. That much derided Gasol for Gasol trade is looking better with every passing day. I can’t imagine Nellie starting anyone but Hunter against Gasol, and the Warriors will need a big effort from the rook to have a chance in this game. Eventually, of course, Nellie will go to Randolph to try and pull the big galoot out of the lane. But if Randolph’s last effort against Haywood is any example, Randolph will not want any part of Gasol on the defensive end. Particularly because with Biedrins and Turiaf so close to returning, Randolph can see the light at the end of the switch-to-power-forward tunnel. Why risk injury now?
The best way the Warriors can defend Gasol is to depend on the Grizzlies’ various black-holes not to pass him the rock.
Their leading, and legendary, black hole is Zach Randolph. Unfortunately, he is so talented it doesn’t really matter if he passes. All he did in his last game against the Nuggets was put up 32 and 24. Vlad Rad and Corey Maggette will have their hands full with ZR. But he’ll have his hands full as well. In the last Warriors game with Memphis, Nellie attacked Zach Randolph’s defense unmercifully with Stephen Jackson and Maggette. Look for more of the same tonight.
That leaves Rudy Gay and OJ Mayo. No problem. If the last game is any guide, it’ll be Monta on Gay, Curry on Mayo, and Morrow on the non-scoring point guard Mike Conley. Sweet.
Morrow had a pretty decent game against Memphis the last time out. (Was that his last decent game this season?) Will the Grizzlies make the defensive adjustment that other NBA teams have made, and throw a blanket over Chocolate Rain? The Warriors will need a surprise appearance from Morrow or Vlad Rad to have a chance in this game.
The other big subplot that interests me in this game stars Stephen Curry. Curry finally broke out for 27 points in the last game. He was very aggressive looking for his shot right from the get-go. The Warriors need him in that role. Can he follow through on the road?
The Chronicle reports that Don Nelson has a big smile on his face. Here’s why.
Marcus Thompson reports the same story. If you read closely, you might spot some optimism from Monta Ellis. Welcome back Beans and Rony!
And Marcus Thompson follows up with the ramifications for Anthony Randolph, Corey Maggette and Vlad Rad. Don Nelson play big? Is the end of the world at hand? Some of us have been predicting it.
Part Un Deux et Trois of AB1′s epic sit-down with Marcus Thompson over at GSoM. Why does the media hate Don Nelson? Is there a future for the Ellis/Curry backcourt? Edification awaits.