As the cliche goes, "everything is bigger in Texas" in no joke in the world of the Warriors. Though last night's loss was a close one, the Dallas Mavericks were rangier, taller, and arguably chubbier (did you see Shawn Marion and Caron Butler? I don't think those are just muscles). The San Antonio Spurs will have the same effect.
The biggest question for tonight's game is what the Warriors should focus on. No, it's not stopping Tim Duncan, because who honestly can? It's not about stopping Manu Ginobili, because no one sells fouls like he does. It's not about stopping Tony Parker either, because, who wants to cross Tony Parker, who seems to be taking Trey Songz new nickname very seriously.
But lame jokes aside, the Warriors need to stop letting the reserves blow up and the Warriors let this happen last time they met the Spurs and last night when the Mavericks' reserve twin towers Ian Mahinmi and Alexis Ajinca poured in 15 points and 15 rebounds and four blocks. This isn't to take anything away from the Spurs and Mavericks' bench, both I'm sure are well-coached and developing nicely given the quality coaching and systems of both teams. There's not reason that these big guys should be playing like they're Bill Russell or Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, even if it is the lowly Warriors.
But Gary Neal's 14-point outburst on 5-8 shooting when the Spurs demolished the Warriors 118-98 is inexcusable when he typically averages 6 points a game on 41% shooting. And more importantly, no player should ride you like a donkey the way Richard Jefferson did to David Lee. But I guess if you're the Warriors and playing as bad as they have, teams that are steamrolling seem to have every right to until you make it competitive.
(Sorry Lee, you might have deserved this with the way you all were playing)
So, the keys to the game? Stop Gary Neal! Stop Matt Bonner! And stop whoever else...Tiago Splitter? Stop the weaker rotation players from turning into titans like the "monstars" from Space Jam.
With Louis Amundson back in the lineup, the Warriors bench gets a slightly deeper. Amundson chipped in a few buckets and a few blocks. It's not much but every little bit counts with the Warriors.