Zach Randolph has a hip contusion and will be a game-time decision, but that shouldn't give the Warriors any reason to feel good about their chances tonight at the Oracle Arena.
Newly minted mega-millionaire Mike Conley (5 years, 40 million) has been playing, arguably, the best basketball of his career in these first 5 games of the season. The Grizzlies might be at an even 2-2, but Conley has nearly doubled his career average in assists and tripled his career average in steals this season so far. It is difficult to extrapolate to what extent Conley can keep this up over the course of 82 games, but the Grizzlies may have finally tapped Conley's potential coming out of Ohio State and at a relatively good price if he continues to make the leap he has made so far. As they say, point guards, like big men, take a little longer to develop.
But beyond the point guard position, the Warriors face another Western Conference team with a strong front line that, if the Los Angeles Lakers were any indication, may given Dre Biedrins and David Lee more problems in the paint on the offensive and defensive end. In place of Randolph, Darrell Arthur has filled in nicely at the power forward position and Marc Gasol continues to be a steady presence at the center spot whose size and skill has given Warriors "bigs" problems for years. Rudy Gay, signing a contract extension over the summer, like Conley is becoming a complete player on the offensive and defensive end -- doubling his career average in assists and steals (3.5:1.75, 2.3:1.3, respectively). He has also reduced his turnovers by half as well. Dorell Wright at the wing should provide an upgrade on the defensive end that the Warriors have sorely missed since Stephen Jackson was traded to the Charlotte Bobcats. This should be Wright's first major test as a defender for the Warriors.
Curry, again, is "doubtful," which could spell doom for our Warriors, again, especially in light of how well Conley has been playing. Coach Smart has admitted that having shooting guards and wings take over this responsibility of becoming a backup point guard is not working out, citing playing out of position and not utilizing their talents as reason for the need of Jeremy Lin to stop "playing scared" (to quote Monta Ellis) and provide minutes off the bench. Lin has apparently gained more of Smart's confidence if the game versus the Lakers was any indication.
But the problem with Lin's performance seems to center around performance anxieties, especially when playing at the Oracle. Witnessing Lin play against Santa Clara University, in probably one of the most hyped bay area sporting events of this past year second to the San Francisco Giants playing in the World Series, it was evident he was playing passively as he sacrificed his body for points like he was mimicking Charlotte Bobcats, Gerald Wallace. Nor did he take many shots from the perimeter, he seemingly felt more comfortable that game playing facilitator.
The problems with Lin's performance at the Oracle have been well documented by Marcus Thompson and fans, who are beginning to realize that the local hype is possibly more oppressive than liberating, which is ironic given how racial slurs against opposing teams' fans in college made him feel more comfortable.
The Grizzlies can be a tough assignment for these Warriors lacking a floor general, but it will prove to be another test of how the Warriors fare against the "average" borderline 8th playoff seed/first-round-knock out-type teams.