These games without Malone are going to be difficult for us, because he gives us a lot of our momentum and is a big inside presence for us, but if our bench steps up like it did against the Suns, then we will be able to win these few games without him.
Also, what exactly were the Warriors thinking when they released Parks, now they only have 3 big men (Robinson, Murphy, and Dampier), that means that Murphy will have to play A LOT & some at center. This problem is because Popeye, Foyle, & Eschmeyer are all injured. Can they make it any easier for Shaq if they tried.
Ok, now for the player matchups...I am going with a little variation in format, I have pics of the player instead of the name (tell me which yall like better)
: Nick has had some good games against us in the past, hopefully Payton can do something about this though with his solid D. Both guys are flashy, running point guards who can pass and score. It should be fun watching the former Laker pg against the current. I expect Payton to limit Nick''s shots and force him to not be able to play his style of ball. Payton on the other hand, shouldn't have much problems penetrating to the basket because the Warriors won't have much in there, he will get some open looks at the basket, and plenty of assists (some being alley-oops) to the big fella.
: J-Rich is a fast guard that likes to get out on the break, hopefully we won't allow him to get any highlight worthy dunks against us. The good news is he relies a lot on his inside game, and isn't really a good shooter, so if Kobe sticks with him, he shouldn't be a threat to us. He doesn't force a lot of contact when he tries to go to the basket, so we shouldn't get into much foul trouble contesting his shots. He isn't a good defender, so Kobe should have a relatively easy night. Kobe can penetrate, pull up and shoot or whatever he wants without much opposition from Richardson. Kobe wins this matchup, hands down.
: George played well for us against the Suns and that's when Marion was guarding him, he also did a good job of defending Marion, and didn't let him go off on us. So if he doesn't leave Dunleavy and let him knock down wide open treys, then we should be fine. Jr. relies a lot on his outside shooting, so George takes that away, and he's not a factor in this game. Dunleavy also isn't a great defender, so George should be able to get his typical amount of shots, and should be able to shake this Mike off and put up a decent amount of points for us.
: This game is key for Slava, he has to prove he can come through again and provide a solid performance in Malone's absence. Last time he started, he had a good night on offense and defense, he needs this again. It would be nice if Slava could give us some points (12 or so), but I would much rather him play solid D and not score at all. Cliffy ain't going to get a career night against us or anything, but if not guarded he will have a solid game (25+). Slava can't just stay inside, because Robinson will shoot behind the arc, from mid-range, and up close...so Slava has to play him close. If Slava can give us some defense against him, then sure Cliff will still score, Slava ain't that good, but his production will be limited to the teens, and he will get tired and not as useful.
: Last time Shaq let
Dampier have way to good of a game against us, that will not happen this time. Shaq will punish them, if he doesn't then there has to be something wrong. This matchup isn't even a challenge. Shaq will score, back down, rebound, and get alley-oops at will...and if you are going to tell me Dampier is going to stop him, then you must be crazy. Shaq will shut him down this time, not allowing him to get anything resembling an open basket. If Dampier has more than 6 or 8 points then I will be very surprised. Matchup goes to Shaq, no question about it.