For the second straight game, the Mavericks face a crucial game for their playoff hopes. They failed in the test in the first game against Denver, and now they will see if they can conquer through very hostile territory in Oakland. The Mavs won both gamew against the Warriors earlier in the season, but some things are obviously different now.
More on the Warriors-Nuggets game last night, Monta Ellis breaking out, and 6-5 Kelenna Azubuike starting at center.
Angry Warriors ready to play
Golden State has held Denver off from catching them for the eighth playoff spot for awhile now. That ended last night as the Warriors lost 119-112 and now sit at a half game back of the Nuggets and are currently the nine seed. If you know the Warriors (and by now, you do) they are not happy about this turn of events. And if they are normally amped to play the Mavs, they'll be even more so tonight because of the circumstances. If they can win tonight, it will put them in a three-way tie with the Mavs and Nuggets at 45-28. That is a logjam the Mavs obviously want to be no part of.
Monta is the new Iverson
Obviously Monta Ellis has a long way to go before he can be accurately compared to Allen Iverson, but with his twisting and turning in the lane and top-notch athletic ability, he sure is doing an excellent impression. He shoots an unusually high percentage for a guard (53.3 percent) and is averaging almost 20 points per game for the season. In his last five games, he's averaging around 24 points per game and provides some much-needed balance to a team that likes to fall in love with the outside shot at times.
Azubuike is your starting center
You read it right. Don Nelson, who apparently likes to make a mockery of announced starting positions made 6-foot-5 Kelenna Azubuike the starting center in last night's game against the Nuggets. He didn't carry it all the way and have Azubuike jump center for the tip off against Marcus Camby (Al Harrington had those honors, as usual), but it is a testament to Nellie's willingness to do whatever he wants, which may be what he has the Warriors doing tonight. Don't be surprised if you see Baron Davis with a 'C' next to his name on the starting box score tonight.
If they make the playoffs, can they catch fire and pull another first-round upset?