OPEN THREAD: Game 52 - Warriors vs Suns

Warriors (W-L): 31-20

Suns(W-L): 36-15

Time: 6:00pm PST

TV:ESPN

Radio: KNBR 680

Different Uniform ... same goofy look

Like so many others, I'm still in shock with the Shaq to Suns trade that occurred last week. Few can argue that a trade of this caliber changes dynamic once again for the powers in the West, but it still leaves the question, "Will tonight be the night we see the debut of Shaq in a Sun's uniform?" Not bloody likely (Austin Power's impression). Shaq is out of the "pretend hurt" stage, now in the "oh shoot I have to get into shape" stage, and is expected to come back after the AllStar Break. So what does that mean for tonight? How will the Warriors fare against the best record in the Western Conference? Let's find out ... Jump!

Suns pre trade: I always said Marion was completely underrated even though he has a huge contract. The Suns were battling with the Hornets for 1st position all year before they traded him away and they are keeping up the pace even without him. However, watching them lately you can clearly see they are missing the boards and blocks that The Matrix gave them night in and night out; one of the many reasons for why they must be excited for Shaq to get into game shape.

Now that the Suns have the big "Aristotle" and are (arguably) considered stronger contenders, it will be interesting to see if this trade pans out. Too many people have their own opinions, so I’m waiting to see how the team gels when Diesel gets onto the court. If Shaq is out tonight, look for a high scoring, fast pace game that will tire us out by halftime. I’m excited.

The Warriors on the other hand also have a change in the lineup with the signing of Chris Webber. I’m holding any judgment till next month when Webber has had ample time to get into game shape and learn our system. So far it’s been luke warm but his passing ability has helped out right off the bat.

All in all, tonight is not about Shaq or Webber, trade talks or congressional hearings. Tonight will boil down to the play of 4 guards. The first two are the most prolific players in this league; Steve Nash vs. Baron Davis. One is a two time league MVP while the other has once again been snubbed for the all-star weekend even though putting up MVP like figures.

The second two? Raja Bell vs. Monta Ellis. These shooting guard will no doubt add a scoring punch for both teams to watch out for. My hope is that these dynamic match-ups will make this one of the most entertaining games this year. I’ve always waited for these games when the Suns come into town and play at the Roaracle on national TV. Throw in a young beast like Amare against our sly defensive tandem of Jackson and Biendrins, and you've got yourself some good ol' fashioned mayhem.

Our Warriors closed a close game the other night against the Wizards by coming back from a 23 point deficit, but tonight they better come out blazing to have a shot at controlling the best in the West. The Warriors have won the past two games against the Suns and ESPN reported it best when asking Grant Hill about their last encounter with the Warriors:

Grant Hill:
Suns forward Grant Hill described Golden State's 129-114 win on Nov. 26 as a "track meet."

With the Warriors recent poor performances in close victories, I’m hoping National TV, playing against the top team in the Conference, and our GSoM crowd, will motivate them enough to but on a show!

Predictions:

No more predictions from me but I have a prize for the individual who can predict the combined final score of the game. As a side question, the one who can predict the combined score of Davis and Ellis will win if an event of a tie. My prediction is: Final combined score of 253 with Davis and Ellis combining for 62.

GO WARRIORS!

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