February 17, 2010

#53: SAC @ GSW 2/17/10

On a night when most NBA eyes are on either the trade ticker or on lists of '10-'11 cap commitments, two sad-sack and tired teams will do battle by the Bay. The Kings are no strangers to the Oakland faithful, and this won't even be the first game this year that the Warriors face the Kings without Monta available. To be honest, it feels like this game has already happened dozens of times already. The season's really starting to drag.

While thoroughly beatable, Sacramento's won two of three and pushed Boston to the limit just last night. They're not going to exhibit the same curl-up-and-die mentality the Clippers did. To win, the Warriors will not only need Steph Curry's stroke to come back... they'll need his offensive creativity to start making things happen in the halfcourt. They'll also need Biedrins and Turiaf to outproduce the Kings' frontline, which'll require the acquiscence of both Nellie and the zebras. As with so many Warriors games of late, staying out of foul trouble, both on a team and an individual level, will be critical.

Warrior To Watch: you'll inevitably be watching Curry, so remember to keep an eye on Anthony Morrow. Is he simply on a hot streak, or is he starting to find his shot in a sustainable way?

King To Watch: Jon Brockman. Only the Kings' third-best rookie, but a bruiser who'd do the Warriors a world of good. For all their vaunted dips into the D-League and elsewhere, the Warriors can never grab a hold of effective bangers like this guy.

PostThoughts -- Warriors 130, Kings 98

This was the Warriors' fourth 30-point win of the year, which has to be a record for a 15-38 team. To be perfectly honest, I always find games like this kind of bittersweet. It's maddening to see glimpses of a fully firing team offense, only to have it disappear again for a month. Still and all, what a blast.

CJ had a monster, highlight-reel, jaw-dropping game, and it really and truly could not have happened to a nicer guy. With 45 assists in his last four games, Steph Curry seems intent on making folks like me look foolish for doubting his ability to excel at the point; I'll admit, I still have a few reservations, but he's certainly starting to bring me around. Morrow and Ronny and Tolliver contributed nicely, and Devean's double-digit EXPLOSION was fun. Maggs and Beans stank, but I'm choosing to read nothing into that for now.

Does a game like this prove that Monta has been holding this team back? Probably not... there are ways to use Monta effectively, and it's not his fault that his coach is too tuned-out to find them. But a Curry-led lineup does seem to function better in this lawless environment than a Monta-led lineup. The next four games could be very telling.

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