Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Big Game for Golden State

I am very intrigued by the Golden State Warriors and their hunt for a playoff spot. They've won 14 of their last 19 games, are playing great basketball, and seem to be gaining momentum as a popular upset pick for the first round ... if they get in.

Getting into the playoffs is no sure thing for G-State, as they lead the Clippers by only one game and would lose a tiebreaker should both teams finish 41-41. The Clippers host a depleted New Orleans team, while Golden State has to go on the road to Portland. While the Blazers are ravaged by injuries and certainly not scaring anybody, I tip my cap to them for playing hard to the finish. Brandon Roy was still playing through tendonitis as of a week ago, and their furious comeback attempt against Houston a few days ago was nothing short of inspiring in this age of tanking. So while the Warriors look good for a W on paper, there is no sure thing when you play on the road against a team that refuses to quit. (By the way, one person who I know is rooting for a G-State loss is my buddy Jack, who is about to become an attorney in San Francisco and is seeing his dreams of getting Warriors season tickets on the cheap being dashed by this late playoff run. I'll be rooting for the Portland upset, Jack.)

Perhaps even more interesting than just watching to see if the Warriors make the playoffs is finding out who they will play. Many fans and critics have latched on to G-State's 6-1 record against Dallas over the last 7 meetings and decided that a 1-8 Dallas-Golden State matchup has the makings of a huge upset, ala Nuggets-Sonics in the 1994 Playoffs. I don't doubt that the Warriors could play Dallas tough, but beat them? I doubt it. The Mavs are so focused and have so many weapons that I just can't imagine them losing a first round series. However, I do think the Warriors could give Phoenix a lot of trouble. Golden State is one of the few teams in the league with enough speed, athleticism, and talent on the perimeter to challenge the Suns, both in terms of pace and output. Now that Jason Richardson is healthy and spreading the floor, the Warriors are capable of 45-point quarters at any time. Throw in the fact that they can use Baron Davis to attack Nash on both ends of the court and I think this could be a long series for Phoenix. It is surprising that no one has mentioned this, because if the Warriors win tonight and the Lakers lose to the Kings, it would be Golden State with the #7 seed. Keep your eye on those games out west tonight.

No comments: