Chucky Atkins vs. Speedy Claxton and Derek Fisher:
This is where my confidence in us goes down. Chucky's offensive game is coming along wonderfully now, I don't know what's gotten into him on the offensive end, but I am liking it and hope he can sustain it. I know, asking for Chucky to stay consistent, is like asking George to retire, it just won't happen. I also would like for Chucky to take it easy on the 3's, at least use better shot selection, and not shoot a 3 whenever he gets the feeling that he has to try to be like Antoine Walker. I swear he jacks up 3's like a drug addict pop pills, and that's not exactly a good thing for us. What is worse than that is that he can not defend an opponent and tonight he has two he has to deal with. Craig is not called Speedy for nothing, too bad Chucky will probably have to learn that the hard way. And then comes in the fan favorite, Fisher, yes, even as an opponent, I feel that he will be one of the fan favorites tonight. He is getting a special ceremony at the beginning of the game, either that will be so emotional to him that he plays poorly or it will inspire him to give his fans still in LA an outing, but that performance will be at our PG's expense. I think their PG's will likely own us. They combine for about 20 points and 9 assists, while out two PGs combine for roughly 14 and 6. Maybe Tierre can come in an play a game like he did against the Hornets or the Bucks (the first time we played them), we could sure use it.
Kobe Bryant vs. Jason Richardson:
League's scoring leader against one of the fan favorite dunkers. There are two things that each of these players are doing more of than they ever have done...shoot the ball and pass the ball. In fact, per 48 minutes, J-Rich (4th in shoots per 48 minutes) is shooting more than Kobe (12th in shots per 48 minutes), yet this could be a bad thing for the Warriors, because they Warriors have only won 3 games. This could have nothing to do with it, but something to think about, at least. Jason is one heck of an athlete, can jump out of the building, is a strong rebounder, but can't seem to find a way to lead his team to some W's. This should be a good matchup tonight, both are strong, athletic guards, very active on the offensive end, but the one of the separation points is located on the defensive end. Kobe is one of the best defenders in the game, whereas that is one of J-Rich's weaker points. Kobe should come victorious out of this matchup, hopefully he got the memo about the Lakers plan to start inside, and this should be another W for us.
Caron Butler vs. Mike Dunleavy:
Caron has played very well for us this year, being a strong 3rd option for us to go to. Caron plays his best ball at home and with only one day of rest, well he has both in favor of him going into tonight's game. Caron is a lot quicker than Mike, he should be able to take advantage of his quicker first step and get to the basket quite a bit. Dunleavy can shoot, rebound, pass, and is a capable scorer for the Warriors, but he is not known for his defense. Caron should be able to produce a 15 point and 7 rebound game, I think that would be just what the doctor ordered for tonight. JJ will have his work cut out for him against the French Michael Jordan, Pietrus is quite the athletic freak, and is putting up 10 points a game. Mickael can dunk, jump, and play D, but his shot is still a little shaky. If JJ can keep him from the basket, stay in front of him, force him to shoot...then this #2 should be no problem. Najera will see some spot minutes here, especially if Caron gets off to a good scoring game, in attempt to bully him around. Najera is slower though, so Caron and JJ can work with that, as long as they keep Ed off the boards.
Lamar Odom vs. Troy Murphy:
The young Warrior is impressing me. He is putting up some pretty impressive stats, scoring, rebounding the ball equally well on both ends, and shooting a decent percentage. He seems to be playing much better with his increase in minutes. Odom's game against the Bulls was the first game that he hadn't had double scoring figures, since opening night. Now, I will just attribute that to playing against the Bulls, something that we have always had some problems against. Believe it or not, Odom actually plays slightly worse at home, but Murphy plays noticeably worse on the road, so maybe that will equal each other out. I think if Lamar is able to contain Troy's shooting, he should have no problem against him. Lamar is more athletic, has longer arms, and he is quicker than Troy. I expect for Lamar to get the ball more tonight, with the Lakers trying to correct our problem, before it becomes an issue. If everything goes to plan, we will be seeing the ball go inside more, hopefully sooner, and if we are lucky, we will see the ball go outside-in, meaning more open looks for others (perhaps Kobe), when the Warriors start to collapse on us in the middle. One more thing that Lamar has to be sure to do is attack, we can't have him settling for jumpers, especially when he is playing against Cliff, who as I am sure will see some playing time at the PF. The PF spot will played mostly by Murphy, but 12 or so minutes will go to Cliff and a few to Najera. Cook should be able to hold his own against Troy, both can shoot the ball, Brian is a better shooter than Troy when he has his spacing. I would look for a solid night from Cook. I think Najera could give us some problems, because he is tough, although small, only concern I have when he is in is on the glass.
Chris Mihm vs. Clifford Robinson:
Lucky for us, we are playing at home, meaning we can expect for Chris to show up tonight, because for some reason, he isn't a road player. When you team is starting a PF, it really makes you wonder what the center that was starting has done so poorly in. And that's kind of where I am, when I see that they have gone with starting Cliff, instead of Davis. a 6-10, 38 year old is not usually your ideal starting center, so that means that the slightly younger, bigger, Davis is in a major slump. The only thing that Davis has been able to do this season is rebound, his scoring has become virtually non existent, only averaging a bucket a night, and not even 1 assist a game. Seems like they have lost confidence in him and age getting him the ball less and less, and probably why they are starting Cliff. And what's even worse for the Warriors, is that Cliff is not adapting to his new role all that well. He is shooting the lowest FG% of his career, the lowest 3 point %, but his rebounding numbers are slightly up, right there with his rebounding numbers, early in his tensure with the Suns. I think that with an athletic Mihm, playing at home, we should dominate this matchup. Chris is much quicker than Cliff has been in years, and the same goes when he is going against Davis. Even though Cliff is much slower in getting open, getting to the outside, getting his open shot, Chris still has to respect that he can shoot the ball and stick with him. That's probably the reason that Cliff's numbers from the outside are down, he isn't getting the shot selection he would like and is forced to playing a lot more in the post than he is comfortable with. The only thing that concerns me when Chris is going up against Dale is the fact that he can still rebound, might take him the rest of the game to get down the court, but he still can rebound the ball pretty well for the limited action he is seeing. I think that Cook should get his fair share of minutes tonight, some at both the center position and at the PF. He can very well go against Cliff when he is in there. I would imagine that Vlade will see his 5 or so minutes against Foyle, since he is the rawest of the bunch. To this day, I still wonder why the Warriors signed Foyle to that big contract that they did, if it was for his positive attitude and locker room presence alone, then they got ripped off. I don't hope for anything out of Vlade, that way I won't get disappointed. Right now all I am hoping for is whatever time he sees out there will slowly help him get into better condition, we need him, and at the stage he is at right now, he is useless. I don't think any of our centers will have a tough time tonight, as long as Mihm remembers he's at home and stays out of foul trouble, we should be fine.