Could this be the day we were REALLY waiting for since Monta Ellis was traded away last spring? Ironically, in need of a shot in the arm after two consecutive loss to start the road trip, the most recent to Ellis and the Bucks, the Dubs may have their man primed for an international incident in Toronto. As reported by Marcus Thompson earlier in the day, it appears that a more healthy version of Andrew Bogut will make his season re-debut tonight against the Raptors. If he starts, he will likely be time limited and closely monitored (think watching Steph Curry for the first 30 games times 10).
Anyways, it could not come at a better time after the Dubs were outworked and exploited by teams on the glass. The Bulls and Bucks collectively crushed the Warriors on the glass 87 (22 offensive) to 114 (38 offensive). The second chance buckets turned out to be the undoing against the Bucks as they had 8 additional attempts. With the additional of Bogut, hopefully the Warriors defensive rebound returns to form that has been a calling card throughout the season.
For Toronto, they will be without Andrei Bargnani, the former number 1 overall pick, and rookie Jonas Valanciunas. But, the athletic and long tandem of Amir Johnson and Ed Davis could provide some difficult in the lane for the likes of David Lee et al. The Raptors have a guard lineup that is still figuring things out but is rather athletic and explosive. DeMarr DeRozan and rookie Terrence Ross are the high flyers with Kyle Lowry, Landry Fields, and ol’ vet Jose Calderon provide some stability at the other guard positions. Alan Anderson has also been solid recently for the Raps. But, the Raps are very average to horrible in many defensive categories. They allow close to 100 points a game, like the Warriors, but they allow a higher overall field goal percentage and don’t clear the boards as well the Dubs.
For the Warriors to be successful, they need to feed off the fact the Aussie is in the middle and use that as the focus of the game plan in terms of rebounding and defending. If the Warriors can at least do that, this should not even close tonight. In addition, the Warriors step away from the 3-point line and go at Davis and Johnson who are not very stout in the middle.
Keys to the Game:
Quit Forcing Shots: This means you David Lee. We know you are an “all-star” (in quotes intentionally) but you can expect to get calls when other guys beat you to spots. Too many times the last two games either Noah or Sanders were in perfect position and Lee forced the issue. Use your above level passing skills and find the open man, swing the ball or something. This means you too Carl Landry.
Gimme Some Mo’ Falcon: This will likely be one of my keys for most games here on out. Barnes needs the ball so he can get involved in the game. Too many times he stands around in the corner and is doing his best impression of Andris Biedrins. Get the man the ball so he can posterize more foreigners.
Rebound and Run: Clear the glass and get easy buckets, simple. Toronto is going to try and slow the game down to keep the game close because they don’t have the ability to stop teams, more possessions equals more points.
WHO: Golden State Warriors (26-17) at Toronto Raptors (16-28).
WHERE: Air Canada Centre
WHEN: Monday, 4:00 p.m., CSN Bay Area
Prediction: This one may get out of hand. After two straight losses, Mark Jackson likely questioned the team’s focus and toughness. With Bogut back, I think the Dubs have too much in their favor, start fast and cruise. 105-90 Dubs