The Warriors are gettting +8.5 against the Thunder, and I have no interest. That’s what we’ve come to. That’s how far the Warriors’ effort has slipped since Monta injured his ankle. And now that Monta has been passed over as an all-star, and dreams of individual glory are no longer available to fuel his effort, it’s possible that there is another reason for his lackluster play since returning. Like depression.
The Thunder present one of the toughest matchup problems in league history in the elongated shape of small forward Kevin Durant. When you don’t have an athletic option at small forward, he’s probably best guarded by a small player. Monta Ellis did a good job disrupting his dribble and making him uncomfortable in the last game.
Corey Maggette has no hope of staying with Durant. He also has appeared to opt out of competing at power forward lately, at least to start games. So does that mean that we’ll see Maggette guarding Sefolosha and Harden at the two, even though he matches up decently with Jeff Green, who is an undersized, athletic four? Don Nelson has a very tough problem on his hands here.
As for the rookie Harden, he killed the Warriors in the last game, getting into the lane for layups and fouls at will. I was very disappointed in the Warriors’ defense on him, because at this stage in his career he is an easy guard. Although he’s a decent stand-still three point shooter (39%), his jumper is not ready for prime-time, as his identical shooting percentage from two indicates (39%). Like Tyreke Evans, the Warriors should literally never let this guy drive. Just play off him and dare him to shoot.
Hopefully, the Warriors get the memo, and show up to play.