Golden State Warriors (12-10) vs. Dallas Mavericks (13-9)
7:30 p.m. PT
Oracle Arena - Oakland, CA
TV: CSNBA/HD, ESPN | Radio: KNBR 680
Blog buddy: Mavs Moneyball
The obvious storyline for tonight's Golden State Warriors' game is that Monta Ellis is returning to Oracle Arena in a Dallas Mavericks jersey, as reported by Gerry Frailey of the Dallas Morning News.
"The first time I came back here, it was emotional because it was my first playing after getting traded," Ellis said. "It was something I had to do. "It was very exciting playing for those fans. They've always been great to me here. They stuck with me through everything.''
Ellis ducked talk of a vendetta against the Warriors front office that dealt him. Ellis' performance against his former club has said more than enough.
But for the Warriors right now, I'm not even sure that kind of talk really matters - this team needs a win tonight entirely independent of their opponent after that brutal loss to the Charlotte Bobcats .
Golden State would not be playing if the playoffs started today. Denver is 6th.— BBALLBREAKDOWN (@bballSource) December 11, 2013
Losses to the Charlotte Bobcats - even if they are a bit better than expected this season - have to be seen as unacceptable if the Warriors want to move up in the Western Conference. Perhaps a loss at home to the Mavs wouldn't be seem in so grave a light, but it's an early opportunity to make sure the Warriors don't lose too much ground.
And yes - it's extremely early in the 2013-14 season, but it's clear that the West is going to be a dogfight this season with a few better than expected teams stepping up. Owning this home court advantage that faithful Warriors fans provide the team is essential to success this season.