Gamethread #69: Golden State Warriors @ Memphis Grizzlies -- A Look at the Trade that Wasn't

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Dude's tall.

Warriors (W-L): 19-49

Grizzlies (W-L): 36-33

Tip Off: 5:00 Pacific Time

TV: CSN

Radio: KNBR 680

Blog Buddies: Straight Outta Vancouver

 

I'm sure Memphis' coaches are talking up the importance of this game to their players.  But in reality, Memphis' playoff hopes are already all but extinguished.  They are currently 5 1/2 games behind Portland for the eighth playoff spot.  I can't see them catching either Portland or San Antonio, can you?  Nevertheless, Memphis has been playing hard, winning 7 of their last 11, and we can expect them to have this game circled. The decimated Warriors should have their hands full on the road back to back. 

Jump for matchup madness!

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All that?

The chief interest in this game for Warriors fans lies in the look it affords us at OJ Mayo and Hasheem Thabeet, the two players that Don Nelson, errr.... Larry Riley, is reported to have turned down in a trade for Monta Ellis.  Due to a neck injury to Marc Gasol, Thabeet has been getting minutes recently.  And he has looked a lot better than he looked to start the season, averaging 9 points, 9.5 boards and 3 blocks in 28 minutes in his last two games.  Nellie will of course try to pull him out of the lane, and run him off the court.  A job for Anthony Tolliver, at center.

OJ Mayo is having a decent season, averaging 18 points on 46% shooting.  But I'm very curious why so many people think Mayo, at 6-4" and with serious defensive deficiencies, is a better fit to play alongside Stephen Curry than the 6-3" Monta Ellis.  I just don't get it.  Monta Ellis is a far better defender than OJ Mayo.

Here's another thing i don't get:  Forget about Kelenna Azubuike for a moment.  Is OJ Mayo a better player than the 6-6" Reggie Williams?

Unfortunately, I don't think we'll get to see Monta guard Mayo much in this game.  The short-handed Warriors will be forced to play small, barring a miraculous return of Rony Turiaf, which means Maggette on Zach Randolph, Monta on Gay, and Morrow on the only player on Memphis who doesn't need guarding, Mike Conley.

Which means either Curry or Watson should start the game on Mayo.  But look for Reggie Williams to get plenty of time. That's the guy I want to watch.  Playing OJ Mayo.

Predictions:

  • Reggie Williams gets more minutes than Anthony Morrow.
  • Reggie Williams gets more points than OJ Mayo.
  • Three Warriors finish with 5 or more fouls.
  • Don Nelson gets tossed, oh.... mid-third quarter.
  • Monta Ellis back-to-back 39 point games.  Unless Curry plays, in which case 35 points.
  • Anthony Tolliver shoots 9 three pointers, making 4.
  • Hasheem Thabeet gets very, very tired.
  • Warriors by 1 (trademark: Atma Brother #1).
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