Pre-Game Jitters: Warriors at OKC Thunder

Warriors are +5.5 at OKC tonight. The key to this game, in my opinion, is the way Smart chooses to guard Russell Westbrook, who has emerged as a true beast. It seems obvious to me that Monta should be assigned to him, and Curry to the offensively challenged Sefelosha and Harden. The Thunder are unaccustomed to running their offense through their two-guards, and if they want to attack Curry in that matchup it would force their offense into an uncomfortable direction. And Curry on Westbrook would be a disaster. Immediate foul trouble. This is obvious, right? Unfortunately, nothing has been obvious to Coach Smart lately.                        

Best of all might be to play a zone. The Warriors are going to really struggle with the Thunder’s quickness. In addition to Westbrook, Jeff Green will be a tough matchup.  Green is lightning quick in comparison with David Lee, and will attempt to pull him out to the three point line and drive around him. Will Keith Smart allow his best rebounder to be pulled out of the lane for the second game in a row?

Kevin Durant has been out the last two games with a sprained knee, but he’ll show up tonight for the Warriors, as I’m sure Bob Fitzgerald will remind us repeatedly. Nellie tortured Durant with Monta Ellis last year, remember? Ellis forced him RIGHT, which is his less preferred direction, and pestered his dribble. Will Keith Smart remember at least this much? And will Dorell Wright take the challenge to be a stopper? If he does, it will be the first time this season. It’s past time DWright got in someone’s shirt, I mean really up in their shirt, the way Ellis did to Durant, Roy and Kobe last year.

That’s what stoppers do.

7 Responses to Pre-Game Jitters: Warriors at OKC Thunder

  1. Hope y’all (and god) forgive me, but I’ve added a twitter widget to my right hand sidebar to display my recent tweets. I occasionally get in a discussion that might be of interest to readers here, like the one showing now between myself and Marcus Thompson regarding Jeremy Lin and the Warriors roster. You can find the full discussion on our twitter feeds @feltbot and @gswscribe.

  2. Reading through the tribute articles for the great Philly beat writer Phil Jasner, who passed away, and I’m struck by just how little resemblance this man bore to Tim Kawakami.

    “He was like a kid in a candy store that weekend,” Andy said. “He never lost his enthusiasm for the work. I’m convinced he would have done it forever. He loved it.

    “So many people in the business are so cynical. ‘Sports writer’ and ‘cynical’ go hand-in-hand sometimes, but he never was. In fact, he hated that. It made him crazy when people were like that.”

    Among those paying tribute was Sixers coach Doug Collins, whose team was in Atlanta to play the Hawks.

    “Needless to say, it’s a very sad night,” Collins said. “Phil Jasner was the ultimate professional. Just the ultimate respect that was shown to this man the last days of his life. Writers from New York stopped to see him, people from all across the country have called him, reached out to him.

    “Phil was all about the truth. He was all about facts. He wasn’t about any rumors, he was all about the right things.”

  3. I caught the last 2 minutes of the game on TV tonight and the Thunder announcers were questioning Smart’s taking out Curry in the 4th quarter when he had a hot hand. Comments like ‘rookie coach’ etc. I wonder if the whiners and psychos who called for Nelson’s head are starting to get a clue.

  4. OG, With Monta in early foul trouble, Curry had played every minute (41+) up to that point… Not going to fault Smart for that move.

    Recap coming, watching the end of the Portland game first.

    Sick not have had Mathews active this week :> Next week I’m benching both Roy and Arenas to start Mathews and Batum. Who woulda thunk it?

    Partly Roy’s injury, partly Arenas’ role coming off the bench, partly that I need rebounds, steals and FG% more than points (a big partly).

    But also because Mathews and Batum are great, great young players. Believe it or not, Portland is a much better team right now when Roy sits.

  5. Pingback: Small Ball Storms: Warriors 109 Thunder 114 | Feltbot's Warriors Blog

  6. Yes, I agree. It is the great unspoken truth (on local talk radio, where one would think all topics are fair game): their star player trying to gut it out hurts Portland’s chance to win. With 80+ million invested in Roy, the franchise might well be screwed.