Friday, April 4, 2008

Memphis vs Golden St - 4.4.08

Memphis just completed their second season sweep of the year and now try to prevent Golden St from sweeping them for the 1st time since the team's inaugural season in Vancouver. The Grizzlies righted their ship too late to make the playoffs and too early to remain at the bottom of the lottery list. Basically the worst of both possible outcomes but with the lottery you never know what will happen so does losing actually accomplish anything but a negative attitude? The Grizzlies are playing .500 ball over the last 10 games with wins over the Lakers, New York twice, Sacramento and Charlotte. Not exactly the cream of the crop outside of LA but still something the team can use to build on.

Golden State has dropped out of the playoffs with back to back losses at San Antonio (116-92) and at Dallas (111-86) and will be playing their 3rd game in 4 days. There may be an emotional drop after being the first team with a record above .500 to lose to Dallas since the Jason Kidd trade. After this game the Warriors head to Conference leading New Orleans so this game has to be considered a must win for the the Warriors if they want to make the playoffs.

Point Guards: Mike Conley vs Baron Davis
Mike Conley has been having better games lately but still hasn't shown a capability to string them together. In his last four games Conley scored 6, 17, 2 and 18 points. Tonight would be an excellent time to reverse that trend. Baron Davis brings the total package into this game and has been healthy for the entire season. Averaging 22.1 ppg, 4.7 rpg and 7.6 apg, Baron Davis has become one of the elite PG's in the league. While his shooting can be suspect at times (43.2% from the field, 33.1% from the arc) he is still the player that Golden St turns to for big baskets.
Advantage: Golden St

Shooting Guards: Mike Miller vs Monta Ellis

Mike Miller has been struggling lately scoring the ball with a total of 37 pts combined in the last four games and has failed to break 20 pts in a game since scoring 34 pts at Madison Square Gardens against the Knicks on March 21. That span of 7 games is the longest that Mike has failed to score at least 20 pts since going 7 straight from Dec 21-Jan 4. Monta Ellis is a free agent this summer and playing like he wants a big contract this summer. The Mississippi native is averaging just under 20 ppg (19.9) on 52.9% shooting from the field. Not a great perimeter shooter (25%) Ellis relies on speed and a quick release to get his shot off over taller SGs.
Advantage: Golden St

Small Forwards: Rudy Gay vs Stephen Jackson

Rudy Gay is back on top of his game after struggling with the lead role a bit after the Gasol trade. Rudy has emerged as a candidate for Most Improved Player in the league this year. Rudy is among the top 40 in the league in both 3 pt shots made and dunks. The only other player on both lists is Kobe Bryant. Stephen Jackson has to be one of the stranger team captains in the league. Formerly considered a malcontent in San Antonio, Atlanta and Indiana, Jackson usually guards the toughest opponent and that has had an effect on the notoriously streaky shooters accuracy this season. Barely shooting over 40% from the field (40.7%) he makes it up with clutch long range accuracy (37.6%) and a tough mental attitude. It is strength against strength in this game but Jackson has not been playing well on this road trip.
Advantage: Memphis

Power Forwards: Hakim Warrick vs Al Harrington

It is not for certain that Harrington will start this game but that is the norm for Don Nelson coached teams. Harrington has been a disappointment this season after his strong play last year after the trade with Indiana. Across the board his numbers are down this season. Hakim Warrick has been a major surprise for the Grizzlies since the Gasol trade, nearly replicating Gasol's offensive numbers while spreading team's defenses to cover his better range. His defense has improved mostly by the Grizzlies option to play zone defense more to cover for Hak.
Advantage: Memphis

Centers: Darko Milicic vs Andris Biedrens

Darko injured his shoulder against the Knicks but is said to be playing tonight against the Warriors. That is important because Biedrins is the Warriors secret weapon. He is quick to loose balls and offensive boards and has enough speed to be a threat on breaks for the lightning fast Warriors. Darko was playing some of the most consistent ball of the season prior to the injury so everyone is hoping it wasn't anything serious.
Advantage: Golden St

Benches: Memphis vs Golden St

Memphis has a 1-2-3 punch off the bench with Lowry, Navarro and Crittenton combining to add pace and athleticism to the bench. When they are shooting well they cause a lot of teams matchup problems. The Warriors counter with size off the bench from the likes of Michael Pietrus, Kelanna Azubuike and Matt Barnes. The retirement of Chris Webber has no effect on the Warriors. Brandon Wright has yet to show the ability to play the NBA game and may be joining Patrick O'Bryant who is a bust as a lottery pick from 3 years ago.
Advantage: Golden St

Relevant Blogs/Commentary:
Golden State Of Mind
The City
Warriors World

BallHype: hype it up!

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