I'm feeling good this morning, despite the Warriors' loss last night. As Andre Iguodala said, a tough loss like that will go a lot farther than a bad win in bringing the team together. The defensive identity of the team is real, not illusion. Toney Douglas took advantage of his opportunity and played very well. We know that the Big Perimeter lineup still needs work - not surprising, given that Barnes is newly returned. For at least the near future, it makes more sense to start Toney than Harrison Barnes when Stephen Curry can't go.
With Curry listed day-to-day, that may be true tonight. If so, the Dubs will complete their road games against both WCF teams without their main weapon. Unlike the Spurs, though, the Grizzlies have struggled a bit out of the gate, and are coming in 2-3. (Incidentally, in Golden State's "early cupcake schedule", this will only be the second team below .500 they've played.)
Memphis is off to a slower start, dropping games to the Spurs, the Pelicans, and the Mavericks. Only in the OT win against Detroit have the Grizzlies broken 100 points on offense - and they've given up over 100 3 times.
Mike Conley has been playing well, but Marc Gasol has been only ok, and Zach Randolph is not playing well at all. More importantly, the Memphis defense has been in relative shambles - near the bottom of the league in both blocks and steals, and with the 26th (!) DRtg. Unlike the past, the Warriors look likely to win this game on the defensive end, assuming they can win it at all. This year, it's reasonable to assume that they can - even without Curry.
Wing play for the Warriors can be the difference in this game. Tayshaun Prince, Mike Miller, and Tony Allen don't match up with Barnes/Thompson/Iguodala nearly as well as the Spurs do - no one except Miami does. Of course, this assumes that Andrew Bogut and David Lee can neutralize the Memphis front line - with Lee's improved defense, a little slump from the Griz, and Bogut fully healthy, that's doable.
Keys to the game are the same as always - reduce turnovers, rebound, play D, hit shots, push the pace. Expect bounce-back games offensively from David Lee and Klay Thompson. Expect another grit and grind game, particularly if Curry doesn't play. And don't bet against a win for the Warriors.
- Warriors by 5 (add 5 if Steph plays)
- Lee 22/10
- Bogut - 4+ steals and/or blocks
- Tayshaun Prince retires at halftime