February 8, 2010

#50: DAL @ GSW 2/8/10

Corey Maggette's dislocated finger will keep him out until after the All-Star break, effectively dashing all hopes of trading him. Also planning on dashing our hopes tonight? The Dallas Mavericks! They continue to scuffle, having failed to beat Minnesota two days after comfortably handling us, and again won't have Dubs alum Erick Dampier available to help their weak offensive rebounding. If Andris Biedrins can avoid whistles and Nellie's gin-soaked disdain, he can keep the Mavs off the glass pretty capably here. But Maggette's absence, combined with the fact that Dallas rarely sends its opponents to the line, means that the Warriors will have to execute intelligent team offense to have a chance here. That's not the kind of thing they've excelled at lately.

Warrior To Watch: Anthony Morrow... in this new Maggette-less world, he'll get as many minutes as his healed knee can handle. Swish and fist-pump and take away the pain, you beautiful man.

Mav To Watch: Drew Gooden, a fringy big who's looked like an All-Star in his two games against the Golden State Lilliputians this years. Someone -- Ronny, Tolliver, maybe Hunter -- needs to slow this guy down.

PostThoughts -- Mavericks 127, Warriors 117
Dang! Real fun one. It speaks to how low our collective expectations have gotten that we can feel good about a fourth-quarter home collapse to a struggling team. But this was the best the Warriors have played since the Chicago game, and the best Nellie's coached since God knows when. Well, actually, in game #50 of a trainwreck season, you'd think he could use CJ to give Curry and Monta some breathers. Still, injuries forced him to use sane, normally-sized lineups (it's like we're always sayin'), and the result was an actual classy loss, not the usual crap loss Bob Fitzgerald tries to wishcast into being classy.

The injury-constrained normal lineup wasn't the only thing to get Dubs fans excited about a bright if ever-receding future. With Maggette off recuperating, Anthony Morrow got to stretch his wings, and the dude flat-out FLEW, playing maybe the best game of his NBA career... this was one of those nights where the "Run-EMC" rhetoric didn't sound totally crazy. Stephen Curry had more success in the half-court than usual, doing some positive playmaking before (understandably) running out of gas late. And the bigs acquitted of themselves well; with 32 points on 22 shots, 22 rebounds and a comically good 10:3 assist/turnover ratio, they amply rewarded Nellie's decision to give them their full 96 minutes for a change.

That crew will have no shortage of opportunities to prove themselves in the near future; the combination of Monta's fourth-quarter knee-sprain and Maggette's mangled finger means the Currys, Morrows and Turiafs will soon be taking more shots than they ever dreamed possible. It could be ugly... it'll definitely be interesting. Much like this game, a pleasant surprise on a Monday night.

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