After a discouraging three game skid, the first of the year for Dallas (only Houston and the Clippers have not lost three straight games) the Mavs came home and made amends against two of the more talented teams in the league. Fortunately for the struggling Mavs, Portland and Indiana have fallen on hard times as well.
Hard times is certainly not what the 7 seed Mavericks will face tonight in the Bay Area. Despite Stephen Curry uncharacteristically failing to eclipse the 20 point mark in each contest, the Golden State Warriors have rattled off four straight wins and are playing as well as anybody in the league. In fact they’re as hot as the Knicks!
In a series of tweets over the past few weeks I’ve pretty much established that the Warriors are definitely not a candidate to miss this postseason in a rugged Western Conference battle. Their starting five is as good as anyone’s but their weakness – and it was a Toney Douglas/Draymond Green blaring weakness – has been addressed without giving up as much as a scratch of Golden Gate paint.
Back on January 15th the Warriors traded the aforementioned Douglas to Miami in a deal involving Boston that netted the Warriors Jordan Crawford and MarShon Brooks. They needed better than Crawford but they got him for…absolutely nothing.
At the trading deadline they flipped Brooks and fellow spare part Kent Bazemore to the West’s worst team, the Uta-, no the Sac-, no it was the Los Angeles Lakers. Steve Blake arrived in Golden State for…absolutely nothing.
To acquire Andre Iguodala in a sign-and-trade in the offseason the Warriors sent what picks they could to the Utah Jazz to free up cap space, leaving them with perhaps Harrison Barnes as their only valuable trade asset.
Or so fools like me thought. The acquisitions of Crawford but especially Blake holed up a backup point guard spot that was in severe disarray.
With the NBA’s Western Conference seemingly grouped into 1,2/3,4,5/6,7,8,9 most of the year, the Warriors additions of depth, experience and the always helpful talent has turned them into a much more consistent team threatening to jump into the mid-tier of the West in place of Portland.
Tonight is a huge, huge, huge game for the Warriors, but even with all that’s been said it’s probably even bigger for the Mavericks.
In any sport when two teams face there’s no more intriguing gap than the 2 GB. The result either puts a serious cushion between the two, or the no questions asked, don’t need to check %’s or loss columns split of a single game.
So far each team has won, the Mavericks at home by 4 and the Warriors at home by 2 even though #NedovicIsOnTheCourt. There’s matchup three tonight @GSW and the finale on April Fools @DAL, but believe you me there’s no foolin’ around! Corny? Go read Grantland they do it, too. And they’re famous.
The Mavericks are 2 games behind the Warriors but the Warriors sights are at last on moving up and not being weary of falling down, as Portland’s margin is down to just a half game more than the other direction, 2.5 games.
It’s most certainly a golden opportunity for the Dallas Mavericks but just as Texas state-sized of one for their opposition.
Bottom line: both sides have a ton…a ton at stake, and there’s no better way to make your impact at this point in the season than beating a team ahead of you or right behind you, and tonight at “rOaracle” Arena it’s going down, friends…and foes.