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Game Preview: Suns vs Warri....

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Don't expect to see Monta Ellis or very many other Warriors you recognize. They have 7 players injured and will start two D-league call ups. (Photo by Max Simbron)
Don't expect to see Monta Ellis or very many other Warriors you recognize. They have 7 players injured and will start two D-league call ups. (Photo by Max Simbron)

No excuses tonight for the Suns. Nash feeling old and sore. Barbosa's wrist injury. Second of the back to back. None of that compares to the what the Golden State Warriors are going through.

Here's their current list of injured players:

Speedy Claxton
Vladimir Radmanovic
Kelenna Azubuike
Raja Bell
C.J. Watson
Anthony Randolph
Brandan Wright
Anthony Morrow


And now you can add their top points producer and the league's 6th leading scorer (26.1) to that list. Monta Ellis pulled up lame with an ankle injury at the 1:21 mark of the 2nd quarter in last night's Warriors "game" against the Nyets.

Ellis' x-rays were reportedly negative meaning he wasn't riding a scooter when the injury occurred. It also means he didn't fly to Phoenix after their game last night and therefor won't be dropping 30+ points on the Suns tonight.

That leaves the Warriors with starters or potential starters on the bench. They flew in last night while the Suns were able to drive home after their game. They are a 13 - 28 team. Their excuses far outnumber our excuses so no excuses is the theme for tonight's game.

You might be asking yourself who's left to play for the Warriors if all those guys are injured.

Their starting line up projects to be Biedrins at the C (and he's battled back issues all season and can't shot the ball on the best of days). Biens had 7 and 10 in only 25 minutes of play against the Nets.

Anthony Tolliver should start at the PF. I follow the D-league closer than most people and I barely know this guy who was called up from the D-League's Idaho Stampede. Here's the scouting report on him from Ridiculous Upside: Tolliver's a stretch big man that hits the boards hard and plays harder.  He can play in the post, but I envision him as a Rob Kurz type player for the Warriors.

I am not sure if being compared to Rob Kurz is meant as a compliment or not. Kurz is not currently in the NBA (which doesn't mean he can't play).

Corey Maggette of Clipper fame will start at the SF but as we saw when the Suns last played the Warriors he will also get plenty of minutes as the PF as Don Nelson isn't likely to use all 8 of his available players. Corey is having an above average season and is a dangerous player but he's still Corey Maggette playing on a bad team so don't be too impressed. But don't forget to defend him either.

Cartier Martin looks like he will start at the SG. Martin normally is a SF and has a big strong body. Yum. Martin has played well for Nick Nurse and the Iowa Energy for the last couple of years and earned himself a call up to the Bobcats last season when Gerald Wallace crashed. I've read a ton about Martin and seen a little bit of him on the small screen so I am actually pretty excited to see him play big minutes in person.

That leaves Stephen Curry to get the start at PG. We've seen Curry a few times now when the Warriors came to Phoenix in the pre-season and then again for our home-opener. Playing next to Ellis he's not always looked comfortable to me. I am curious to see how (if) his game has progressed and how he looks running the team without fighting Ellis for oxygen.

Curry dropped a career high 32 points along with 7 assists in 48 minutes last night against the Nets Devin Harris and their rookie PG Terrance Williams who I thought looked like a good defensive guard whoever else the Nets threw at him after Harris went down with a wrist injury.

Side Note: Is it me, or do injuries seem to happen more often on bad teams. Just saying...

The Warriors "bench" consists of Devean George the guy who famously refused to be traded from the Mavericks to the Nets in the Harris/Kid swap and then later in the playoffs failed to foul Melo in a late game situation. That's the most I've ever written about Deavan George and given that he only played 5 minutes in a blow out game last night against the Nets I am guess that's the most I will ever write about Deavan George. So say we all.

Poor Ronny Turiaf is left as the only guy who's name you might recognize and he's just returning to the line up after being in and out this season with his own injury issues (ankle, back, broken heart). We all love Ronny. How can you not love Ronny. That's like not loving Santa Clause (except for the obvious difference - Ronny is French).

The Warriors seem intent on not letting the Blazers earn the honor of the most injured team this season. Good luck to hem on that because it is the only award they are going to see.

The good news is, if you show up to this game and you are tall and athletic looking and you come early and hang out near the Warrior bench during warm-ups there's a good chance you could be asked to suit and play. This is your chance, fellas!

Game plan

I am not even sure there needs to be a game plan against 6 or 7 guys, half of whom won't be in the league very long.

Here's three things however that I noticed from last night's game that sort of apply:

  1. The Suns are used to having to sag into the paint in what they call their "shell" defense. This is because if they pressure perimeter players and get beat they don't trust their help defense on the back line. But with Robin playing well and perhap more minutes for Lou they might go ahead and try not giving up open shots as a game plan. Just a thought.


  2. The Bulls ran two point guards for most of the game. Hinrich is not a big guy - about the same size as Dragic - and Rose is great but he's not built like Tyreke Evans. The Bulls put Hinrich on Nash which left Rose on JRich. Once early in the game the Suns isolated that match-up in the post and Jason scored. They didn't go back to that enough (although Jason did lead the team with 17 FGA's). The Suns generally don't like to exploit specific match-ups because it gets them out of "rhythm" but perhaps when you are not in "rhythm" anyway you might want to use the 6'6" Jason Richardson posting up on Derrick Rose and force the Bulls to adjust their game plan. Only saying.


  3. Along those same lines,the Bulls closed out the game with a small line up using Deng at the four, Salmons at the three and Noah at the five. Gentry stayed with Frye (probably b/c he needed his points) but Frye ended up on Noah and got torched and Amare ended up on Deng and got torched. See the pattern? Perhaps instead of that, go back to Robin and pound the ball inside and force the Bulls to adjust to that. If nothing else, Robin still would have done better on Noah and Amare would have still struggled with Deng. Crazy, huh?

Links and such:

The little dust up with ESPN's Chad Ford took another turn yesterday. You might recall that I first brought this up to Amare on Thursday. Amare was perturbed when I first asked him about it.

Well, yesterday in the pre-game chat my pal Brett from AOL Fanhouse asked Gentry as well which lead to this great quote, "It's the biggest crock of shit I've ever heard. Because there's nothing going on in our locker room. Not one thing. Our locker room has been great, and that pisses me off, to be honest with you. Because there's not one thing going on in our locker room. There really isn't.

For somebody to make a statement that there's tension in our locker room, when it comes from a guy who's living in Hawaii? I could understand if he'd been at our practices or been in our locker room, but he hasn't. So that's very disappointing for someone to say that when they have not a clue about what's going on in our locker room."

Gentry was legitimately pissed. As was Amare post game who asked various media members about Chad Ford. Who he was. Where he lived. Etc. Amare, who denied the report on Thursday went on to say, "Whoever that guy is, he's a liar, there is nothing to it you can ask any guy in the locker room or any coach."

At the time, I speculated that this rumor could have been floated by the Suns front office in an attempt to prepare Phoenix fans for trading Amare. You will recall that Marion was subject to all kinds of "locker room cancer" talk before he was traded and while by no means a saint, people I talk to say that was way overblown.

Others I talked to about this idea disagreed though. They rightly pointed out that it woudn't be in the Suns best interest to do anything to hurt Amare's value while at the same time trying to trade him. It was suggested that Ford's sources could be other NBA types that live in Phoenix. Scouts, former players, etc. No one though thought that Fords report had any merit but it remains a mystery who floated the idea to Ford.

And as always, checkout out our SBN blogabro at Golden State Of Mind

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