What a great win last night by the Warriors in a close out game vs. the Denver Nuggets. With that win, fans of the NBA have their first upset of the 2013 NBA Playoffs. As Andrew Bogut said in his postgame interview with TNT “Nobody gave us a chance, Nobody.” I know I didn’t. I thought Denver would win this game because all we’ve heard all year is about how deep of a team they are. It doesn’t matter they don’t have a star, national writers would say, their depth can overcome that. Well apparently Danilo Gallinari is the closet player they have as a star because they sure missed his scoring. I don’t want to hear excuses though because the Warriors are playing without David Lee who is a big part of their team so they were playing on even terms. The Warriors got great games last night from Stephen Curry (22 pts, 8 asts), Andrew Bogut (14 pts, 21 rebs, 4 blks), Draymond Green (16 pts, 10 rebs), and Jarrett Jack (13 pts, 4 rebs, 4 asts). I would argue that Stephen Curry is a star, even though he may be considered to be on the “lower tier” of star status. Opposing teams have to be aware of him at all times.
Do I think the Warriors are going to beat the Spurs? No. Are they going to give the Spurs a much tougher series than the Lakers did? Absolutely! If David Lee was healthy I would like the Warriors chances of actually upsetting the Spurs. They are an exciting young team that, unlike previous Warriors teams, can actually play a little bit of defense. This has to do with Andrew Bogut’s presence on the team. What a great trade by the Warriors to be able to rid themselves of a highly inefficient player named Monta Ellis and acquire a defensive and rebounding stud in Bogut who was also a former #1 overall pick. They have a nice mix of young players and solid veterans that complement their young leaders very well. It produces a brand of basketball that is fun to watch and can help them make a deep playoff run. This is the type of mix I want the Utah Jazz to put together around Gordon Hayward and Derrick Favors.
The Bogut – Duncan match up is going to be intense. The Parker/Green – Curry/Jack match up is going to be fun. A big key in the Warriors pursuit of an upset will be Carl Landry guarding Tiago Splitter and Kawhi Leonard. Andris Biedrins could see some playing time to help match up with the Spurs length. I would also like to know who on this Warriors team can help slow down Manu Ginobili. The Warriros will definitely need better games from Harrison Barnes and Klay Thompson who combined to shoot 7-24 in game 6 vs the Nuggets and Draymond Green will need to continue his stellar play from game 6. They’ll need to keep the tempo high and make these old guys tired. The Spurs are a tough resilient team. They won’t get flustered if they go down by 12, 14 points early. They’ll fight and claw their way back. The Nuggets were not all world defenders. Will the Warriors be able to match the Spurs toughness? Ultimately I think the Spurs will win this series 4-2. The Warriors will win a couple games at home and will thoroughly entertain us for 6 games.
For you Jazz fans reading this I want you to keep your eyes on Jarrett Jack. He is a smooth, underrated veteran who is a free agent this summer and will turn 30 years old on October 28th. If the Jazz can’t sign Calderon, Jack is #2 on my wish list. I think he would be a good veteran presence for whichever point guard the Jazz take in the draft this year. It sounds like he’s looking for a contract in the 4 year, $20-$25 million range. The way he has played the 1st round of these playoffs (and most of the year really) that sounds about right to me, but would that price be right for the Jazz? We shall see.