Here we go, Grizzlies fans. We're starting a 4-game road swing tonight in the Bay Area, against the Golden State Warriors, with the hopes of keeping our 6-game win streak intact. I know it seems like a large task -- not to beat the Warriors, but to carry a 7-game win streak -- but if the past two weeks are any indication of what kind of team we've actually become, this team should continue to take off and build on a division lead over the Spurs and Mavericks.
Tonight, I expect this to be a heavy up and out game, meaning we're going to have to play above the Warriors and get out on transition defense in order to keep them from running us out of the gym. We do have the size (see: Marc Gasol) and we're showing to have the transition play, on both side of the ball, to run with the best of them, so as long as we stick to our post-Zach Randolph game-plan we should be OK tonight. There's surely a let-down game in our future. No question about that. But, I just don't see it tonight.
Much like how we're going to have to figure out where we stand offensively when Randolph returns, the Warriors are going through a small identity crisis now that Stephen Curry is back in the mix. Don't get me wrong, Curry scares the hell out of me, but if having Curry back means taking the ball out of Monta Ellis' hands, a little less Nate Robinson, and some possible lost sets with David Lee... I'll take that. At least until they figure out the role and the fit.
For us, we'll need to continue to keep O.J. Mayo playing as if he's a one-time Top 5 draft pick. He's been spectacular from beyond the arc and he's helped push the offense in a time where we needed more than simply a Mike Conley drive, a Marc Gasol roll and a Rudy Gay baseline dribble. Mayo adds some stretch to the floor, a stretch that made us all ill on the inside when Tony Allen decided he wanted to be that jump shooter.
We also need to continue to see Marreese Speights build off his off-the-glass performance and even defensive presence. We know this guy can score, which is great, but to see him work the rim and use his body on the defensive side of the ball has been a huge plus. Against a team like the Warriors, he should be able to utilize his best foot and show his true skill-set. I'm actually excited to see him open up tonight.
So, here we are, on the verge of picking up our seventh straight win. The Warriors always play us tough, especially on the road, but with the way we're playing it will take a let-down performance for us to drop this one. I just don't see that happening tonight. I just can see Gasol and company really exploiting the slight weaknesses of the the W's. I see... a WIN.
Prediction: Grizzlies 111, Warriors 103
THIS IS A MUST READ FROM OUR FRIENDS AT GOLDEN STATE OF MIND.