Golden State Warriors (44-27) vs. Memphis Grizzlies (43-28)
7:30 p.m. PST
Oracle Arena, Oaktown, Bay Area
TV: CSNBA/HD | Radio: KNBR 680
Blog buddy: Grizzly Bear Blues
Welp, nothing to see here this week, amiright? Nope, just another calm, drama -free week in Dubland. All puppy dogs and freshly baked cookies over here!
/ducks head as sky falls
Tonight's matchup is one of those "Totally don't know how this is gonna play out but thank GOD we have a game tonight" games. This is also one of those "Winning cures all ills" games, and maybe also one of those "If we lose, especially in spectacular fashion, it wouldn't be a complete shock if the coach were fired immediately following the game" games.
No, people, I don't REALLY think that would happen, if only for the fact that coaches getting fired with nine games remaining in a playoff season just isn't something that happens, or at least shouldn't happen if the basketball gods cared about the sanity of its devout followers. The Mark Jackson "dysfunctional atmosphere" debacle, alone without further incident, is enough to send an already-weary, wary, and wayward fan base into a tailspin of bewilderment.
I've been pretty bewildered by this team for awhile, though. The lack of consistency and identity isn't exactly what I would have placed my money on at season's open; stretches of injury plague, yes, and we've had that, too, but I expected this group of talented, smart, head-firmly-on-shoulders group of non-JR Smiths to glue something together more cohesively than they've been able to do — coaching be praised or be damed.
Instead, here we are, with pivotal Friday night matchup against the Memphis Grizzlies, feeling the hot salmon breath of those ferocious beasts on our necks, all the while viewing our team under a microscope looking for any little rift that could be the next step in an epic unraveling. Exciting? I call it terrifying. But at least I'm not afraid of melodrama.
The kicker is that the Warriors are 8-3 in their last 11 games, and 13-5 since the All Star break. Really? C'mon, people — we should NOT be checking the sky for plummeting chunks of dysfunctional atmosphere. We should be yelling about Sparta while displaying our chiseled abs! How did we get here? Is it too late to just blame the White Mamba? Is he carrying some sort of curse that you can only get after spending an eternity on NBA pinewood?
Let's talk about something else. Did you know that, according to basketball-reference.com, one of Marc Gasol's nicknames is La Tanqueta, which translates to The Tanker? In NBA terms, that's probably a better nickname for the likes of [name a player on the Philadelphia 76ers]. In Warrior-Grizzly matchup terms, I can't help but imagine a big tanker ship barging its way through our sad flotilla of skiffs, although we're not alone in falling victim to his excellence; according to espn.com, the Grizzlies are allowing a league-best 90.2 points per game since Gasol returned from injury. Is this a guy you want to face when your own offense has had the consistency of a cup of curdled cream? He's also helped his team beat the Warriors 11 times out of the past 12 (and, yeah, he sat out with an injury in that 12th game that the Warriors won, back in December). So, no. I wish we were facing the Sixers.
On the other hand, Gasol's other apparent nickname is Big Marc. So, y'know. Things could be worse.
The good news is that if the Warriors beat the Grizz tonight, they give themselves a two-game buffer from the seventh seed; and if the Portland Trailblazers lose to the Chicago Bulls, GSW and POR enter into a virtual tie for 5th. So there are definitely some bright spots in a win tonight.
A loss? Almost inconceivably hard to take. I would let Mark Jackson know, but I have a feeling he's already aware.