The NBA season is a marathon, but here are five Warriors games that you just can't miss for the hoops, the hype and, possibly, the hilarity.
The season is right around the corner and there's a lot of cautious optimism about what our Warriors are going to do this coming season with 1) David Lee, new power forward; 2) Stephen Curry, officially the face of the franchise; and 3) new ownership with Joe Lacob's imprint everywhere. The addition of Jeremy Lin (more so than Ekpe Udoh) was an equally important highlight of the off-season, which was controversial as much as it was exciting. But all this is to say that the Warriors are never short on drama, even though it's not always good drama.
To whet your Warriors appetite, here are five games, in no particular order, that I believe you should set your DVR for. Which games are looking forward to watching? Any of these?
1. Asian/Asian American Night - Rockets @ Warriors, Oct. 27
Okay, so it's not really "Asian/Asian American Night." In fact, it is opening night. But to some extent you wonder if this was deliberately scheduled as the first game of the season after Yao Ming asked Jeremy Lin to participate in his charity game, played in Jeremy Lin's parents' home country of Taiwan. Millions of people in China tuned in for the waste of game when Yao faced fellow countryman Yi and there is no doubt that the same will happen for people of China and Taiwan. The connections between Yao and Lin are already there and I am sure the Warriors corporation is taking this to the bank. Expect giveaways (Lin bobbleheads anyone?) or gimmicky cross-straight diplomacy between China and Taiwan.
Now all Lin needs to do is get on the court.
The trade rumor of Ellis to the Grizzlies for O.J. Mayo and Hasheem Thabeet gets resurrected as Monta makes a trip "home" early on in the season. Perhaps an amazing showing at home will re-spark the Grizzlies' interest in Ellis. If the Warriors win, that would sweeten the deal even more. Last season, the Warriors split the series 2-2. But more importantly, Ellis scored hit 20-plus points every time and on one occasion logged 12 assists, seven rebounds, and five steals. My thoughts? Better wear your Ellis jersey while you can because those things may become vintage items by the trade deadline.
My prediction is that both teams will be just as bad as they were last season. The addition of Wall will help, but I wonder if Wall can corrall uber-talented boneheaded twins JaVale McGee and Andray Blatche into playing smarter basketball rather than trying to be point-centers like Ralph Sampson (which they both clearly aren't). This game will not be a battle of new powerhouses.
Instead, this will be a battle of the next generation of upstart point guards. The fourth quarter battle between Lin and Wall in summer-league game is what suddenly put Lin on the NBA map and you can bet the news will spin this as a showdown between them. Either that, or Lin will be called the "The Wall to John Wall" (Or "Wall to Wall" for short). But who knows, this match up may be irrelevant by this point in the season when Wall's elite quarterbackin' shines through and Lin is so deep on the bench, he's practically unrecognizable. Either that or Lin is cut.
But, a battle between sophomore Stephen Curry and Wall could be more entertaining or THE highlight matchup. With a year of pro ball and a summer of international competition under his belt, Curry's game should be elevated by this point in the season. Wall's a bigger point guard, but Curry's savvy should help him. Curry definitely struggled offensively and defensively against bigger and more elite point guards last season. But this matchup could be one that we will look forward to for the next 10-plus seasons.
4. Morrow's Return - Nets @ Warriors, Jan. 17
I'm glad the Warriors didn't overpay for Morrow's 3-point services, but he sure was a likeable, fan-favorite kind of dude. Rumor has it that he took Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) to practice during his first season, until teammates began picking him up. And unlike Warriors of the past, Morrow and the Warriors didn't part on bad terms (for once). AND for the most part, Morrow exceeded fans' expectations by not only being productive but having a consistent shooting stroke, which hasn't happened since Chris Mullin began to fossilize in 1994. Warrior fans will give Morrow a standing ovation before and during the game. The rest of this game will not be very interesting, but just to see Morrow, albeit in a Nets jersey, will be great for the fans. My predictions? Morrow scores 14 points on three 3-pointers. The crowd goes wild.
5. The Greatest Show On Earth - Heat @ Warriors, Dec. 10
If I had to explain the Miami Heat's swagger right now, I think it could only be described by the confidence, celebrityhood, and cockiness of Chaz Michael Michaels from Blades of Glory, before getting excluded from international competition by the World Skating Federation. The Heat (their gigantic three) seem so full of themselves that it makes you sick. But, for some reason, you can't stop staring or resist getting sucked into the hype.
(The Heat are not just "sex on hardwood" but they are "sex on everything")
Expect a blow-out of USA Dream Team circa 1992 proportions. I'm talking 1992 Dream Team vs Angola blow-outs. We all know who the Warriors are in this comparison. But regardless, it will be a game to watch just to see how the Warriors match-up against the titans of the Eastern Conference and how much better they have to be in order to be an elite team.
My expectations: Highlight worthy jams and possibly the greatest pre-game festivities and introductions for an AWAY team, which will get Warrior fans more excited for the game ... but for what the opposing team will do.