|2008/2009 NBA Regular Season|
|December 20th, 2008|
|Jamal Crawford||PG||Jameer Nelson|
|Marco Belinelli||SG||Keith Bogans|
|Kelenna Azubuike||SF||Hedo Turkoglu|
|Rob Kurz||PF||Rashard Lewis|
|Andris Biedrins||C||Dwight Howard|
|December 15th: Magic 109, Warriors 98|
It's likely that Bogans, and not Mickael Pietrus, will get the start tonight, according to Kyle Hightower of the Orlando Sentinel. UPDATE: in a separate post, Hightower reports Brian Cook will be inactive tonight due to personal reasons. Either Adonal Foyle or Jeremy Richardson will take his place.
In the preview post for the last time the Orlando Magic and the Golden State Warriors played, I attempted to list the things that have gone wrong in the Bay Area since the Warriors' historic defeat of the Dallas Mavericks in the 2006 playoffs. Add another item to that list: Coach Don Nelson's gone nuts and wants to trade everyone. That list includes backup point guard Marcus Williams, who has perilously close to sulking/eating his way out of the NBA. The Magic have no interest in trading for him. Still, I wouldn't rule out the Magic's holding casual trade talks with the Warriors. They have young, versatile bigs like Brandan Wright and Anthony Randolph who may interest Magic GM Otis Smith. That's just speculation on my part, though.
In that last game, the Magic, playing without Dwight Howard, managed to beat the Dubs thanks in large part to Golden State's not being able to throw a beach ball into the San Francisco Bay. Tonight, they'll be without Corey Maggette and Stephen Jackson, their two leading scorers, but that won't make things any easier. Jamal Crawford dropped 50 points on the Bobcats on Saturday night, which understandably has Warriors fans upbeat.
The Warriors' defensive ineptitude is well documented, so the Magic--in theory--should not have too much trouble dispatching them tonight. However, a lack of effort will end up with an upset, followed an uptick in "I told you so!" emails from Celtics and Cavaliers fans. So for my sanity and their dignity, the Magic need to win tonight, preferably by a wide margin. The Warriors don't play defense, but that doesn't mean they don't want to win. If the Magic's shots don't drop, it will come down to--and here comes that cliche--"which team wants it more". Yes, I am indeed concerned about the Magic potentially dropping a game to an eight-win team in December. Crazy? No. Just mindful of franchise history. Trap games. Ugh.