Instead of giving you a Raptor fans’ opinion about what the Warriors bring to the table, it’s better to get somebody who has covered the Warriors on a daily basis for more than a decade. I had a chance to preview tonight’s game with Matt Steinmetz who is an analyst for Comcast Sports Bay Area and a writer for Examiner.com. I think it’s all you need to get ready for tonight’s game but if that wasn’t enough Matt’s outlined 5 things to know about the Warriors on the court and 5 things to know about the Warriors off the court. Check it out, it’s a great read. You can listen to the interview by simply clicking on the play button however I recommend clicking here to let your browser play the file or let it download it. It’s much better quality.
We covered a lot of topics including Al Harrington, Monta Ellis, their PG situation, TJ vs. Jose, Chris Bosh’s perimeter game, Steven Jackson, Don Nelson’s style of play, Corey Maggette, their rookie Anthony Randolph, Jermaine O’Neal, Olympics, Leo Rautins, Lenny Wilkens, Chris Mullin’s contract, his prediction for tonight and more. I thought of getting into get into the “best fans” debate but thought better of it, I think we’ll lose right now.
The Opening Tip was a big hit and Dinosty’s back with another hilarious edition for the Warriors game. Download it here in PDF format.
The game itself is a tough one even though Monta Ellis is out and Baron Davis has left for the Clippers. The Warriors’ length, athleticism and high-tempo game has given the Raptors fits over the years, we lost both meetings last year in 100+ point affairs. Remember, you can easily find past games by drilling the Stat-O-Meter 3000 as I’ve done here. It’s going to be a very different game than Philly because they’ll look to get away from the half-court as much as possible and force the Raptors to defend and get back in transition. Unlike Philly, they want to take jumpers. Their quick-shot mentality will result in a lot of rebounds being up for grabs and its imperative that we clean the defensive glass because expecting a win with Philly rebounding numbers is
impossible improbable. O’Neal’s touching on the rebounding issue by saying in order to get those long rebounds you need better rebounding guards:
“There were a lot of long rebounds that hit around the free throw line area that we collectively need our guards to get in there and rebound. When they talk about rebounding, everyone thinks the two bigs are supposed to rebound but good rebounding teams have good rebounding guards. We can’t run out without the ball.”
Excellent point. Long shots generate long rebounds and Calderon, Ukic, Parker and Kapono must all help out if don’t want Golden State’s swingmen swooping up those rebounds. Andris Biedrins will likely matchup with O’Neal and it should be a matchup of strength vs. length. Biedrins can bother O’Neal with his reach and can effectively take away his fadeaway but O’Neal’s physicality and dipping shoulder can work the other way around. We’ll see which coach is more successful in using his weapon.
As Matt pointed out in the interview, Don Nelson has always found a way to slow down Chris Bosh – last year he put Stephen Jackson on him to counter his quickness and it was very effective. Nelly is sure to be brewing something for O’Neal and Sam Mitchell must match him for wits if we want to avoid an opening night home defeat. The advantage for the Raptors lies at the PG position where Jose Calderon is up against DeMarcus Nelson and C.J Watson. Our man Corey Maggette’s coming off a 8-11 shooting night where he ended up with 27 and 8 and who’s going to guard him might be the question of the day.
It’s always concerning when we’re playing a player like Ronny Turiaf who’s liable to dominate the glass by hustling 24/7. He could be the Dalembert of this game if he’s not kept in check by our big. He’s likely to come off the bench and be matched with Andrea Bargnani who cannot afford to be ball-watching this game. The pace and quickness this game will be played at will determine the winner and if we manage to slow things down we’ll be fine. Bargnani’s the one Raptor that – when he’s in form – can play at a high tempo and match-up with those lanky GSW PFs and C’s. This could be a breakout game for Bargnani if his jumper’s falling, but that’s any game for him really.
Roko Ukic is coming off a successful NBA debut and he’d like to thank the coaching staff and his teammates. His reaction to playing his first NBA game:
“It was just cool to be there”
No Roko, you’re the only one who’s bringing the ‘cool’ to this team. And you’re the first Raptor since Keon Clark that I would buy a jersey of.
AltRaps gathers around all the daily papers and press and puts it in one nice widget on the front page of this site under “Latest Web Articles”, do check it out. Remember, tonight is our first event at Philthy McNasty’s on King St. Festivities start at 6:30PM and we also have contests, prizes, drink specials, food specials and more. Try to make it. Also, the live chat/blog starts at 7:00PM EST.