Welcome to Sacramento, Stephen Jackson and Don Nelson. Please do not stay long.
The Dubs come in with awfully bright roster ... which happens to be overshadowed by the team's veteran leader (who just signed a lucrative extension that won't even kick in until next summer!) grousing to the media about broken promises, trade demands and general schlubber blubber. Stephen Jackson, the oldest player on the Warriors (non Mikki Moore division), is the least mature, at least in public. The team's highest paid player, Mr. Monta Ellis, happens to be the second most immature. Ellis, you may remember, told the media ... on media day, when players are supposed to be completely smiley ... that he couldn't play with Stephen Curry, the team's top draft pick. Of course, Ellis had never actually seen Curry play. After the first preseason game, during which Ellis had realized that Curry does not suck, Ellis changed his tune. (Ellis gets paid the same as Kevin Martin to do less at a less efficient rate while being a clearly worse teammate, by the way.)
And in the background sits mastermind Don Nelson, who could have been yours, Sacramento. How unfortunate we were to lose out him, huh? (No Nattin' Musseltheus jokes, please. Allow me my schadenfreude in peace!)
THE KEY BATTLE
Holy crap, it's a team with a non-freak, sub-280 center! The Kings have already faced Greg Oden (twice) and Andrew Bynum, who -- outside of Dwight Howard and sometimes Shaquille O'Neal -- represent the most powerful players the position has. Spencer Hawes will get to match up with stringy Andris Biedrins, a deft rebounder and efficient scorer who is far from meaty but ultralong. If Hawes gets plenty of post work tonight, it will be interesting to see how well he finished on Biedrins. (If he gets minutes against Mikki Moore, all the better.)
According to parts of the basketball thinking class, neither of these two teams plays a point guard in the starting five. Rumor has it the Kings liked Stephen Curry's game, but (ignoring Jonny Flynn and Ricky Rubio for a second) preferred the physicality of Tyreke Evans and had concerns about a Curry degenerative knee condition. Evans has made the Kings look brilliant in VSL and three preseason games, while Curry had struggled for the most part. But Curry remains a prototypical Petrie guard, and it will be interesting to see whether Evans or Kevin Martin can shut him down in what should be a gingersnap fast game.
WILD GUESS OF THE EVENING
Donte Greene will get playing time. In the actual basketball game, not just warm-ups. He will not take a 3PA.
What the fungus? This whole thing has been pretty serious. I need to remember to pour Beam on the cereal on weekends, too, I guess.
No T.V. at all, so no illicit streams. Radio on KHTK 1140 AM at 7 PM Pacific. Plenty of tickets still available. Game thread will open at 7 PM.