Finally. Am I the only one who feels like it’s been two years since last season?
The Warriors open the season as -3.5 favorites against the visiting Houston Rockets. Really, favorites? This line is quite mysterious to me. Maybe it’s because the Warriors are suiting up more than six players, and the bookies don’t know how to handicap that!
After watching the Rockets take the Lakers down to the wire last night, I’m pretty sure they are the second best team in the West. This is a very good basketball team, and they will be a great team once Yao is able to shoot a free throw without getting winded. They have Yao and Brad Miller in the middle, and Luis Scola (who put up 18 and 16 against Gasol and Odom) at the four. They have perhaps the best defensive small forward in the league at the three in Shane Battier. Battier held the newly slim and retooled Ron Artest to 3-15 last night. They have a backcourt in Aaron Brooks and Kevin Martin that may very well challenge the Warriors’ backcourt as the highest scoring in the league. Martin put up 26 pts. in 29 minutes last night. And they have a decent bench, with Chase Budinger, Courtney Lee and Charlie Hayes in addition to Miller.
I don’t make the Warriors favorites in this game. I know the Rockets are on a back to back, but I think that’s meaningless at this point in the season to everyone except possibly Yao. This Rockets team is very, very tough and already know how to play with each other.
The Warriors have no idea how to play with each other, if the pre-season can be taken as an indication. They and their head coach are still figuring it out. I think they have only one way to beat this Rockets team: Run. Run, Run, Run. But will Keith Smart allow it?
And they will have to run pick and roll against the gargantuan but immobile Yao and Miller. If the Warriors insist on trying to post up Biedrins and Lee against this Rockets defense, they are dead. They must unleash the creativity of Curry, Ellis and Lee.
Keith Smart, let my people go.