With six losses in our last eight games, it's time to right this ship. Like, for real. You know I'm not one to go nuts and start declaring games as must-win when we're one-third of the way into the season, but... really, with this current home-stand we really to go 4-1, right?
We've played well at home this season (7-3) and, as I've documented plenty times before on this site, we also play well against teams we're "supposed to beat." We struggle against the Thunder, Lakers, Clippers, Bulls (with Derrick Rose), etc. Oh, yeah, and we're 0-2 against the Spurs... who we play tonight! To be honest, I can't put the Spurs on that same level as the other teams I've listed (mainly because of their road woes and injury to Manu), but this season they just seem to have our number. Fortunately, tonight begins the Spurs' "Rodeo Road Trip," which will put them on the road for the next nine games. I say "fortunately" because the Spurs are 3-8 away from home this season. Of course, as you'll recall, one of those three wins came against us. Yup...
Our next five games, which includes the Spurs tonight, really might make our season. It might position us nicely for a playoff run -- if/when Zach Randolph returns -- or it might push is into a constant struggle where we have to push, push and push our way into the playoffs. Do we really want to limp into the playoffs, as an 8th seed, possibly seeing the Thunder in the first round? No. Way.
Over the next five we see the Spurs, Timberwolves, Pacers, Jazz and Rockets. All winnable games. As I said, I think we're allowed one hiccup, but I don't think we can afford to lose much more than one. Seriously. How much further do we want to fall? We already know we're struggling to close-out against the top-tier teams. The good news is that, while these aren't cake-walks, there's not a single top-tier team on the schedule in this current stand.
With Tony Allen banged up and our offense struggling, getting back on track tonight isn't going to be easy. We're going to need to simply turn on that grindin' gear. We're going to have to get something from Sam Young, something from Dante Cunningham, some life from Marreese Speights, some more from O.J. Mayo... we're going to need talent. As simple as that.
Tonight, we face a tough challenge. But this is a 4-1 home-stand. Or at least it has to be. Because if it's not, we might be in for a long, condensed season.