Chandler rejected the Warriors’ overtures for upwards of $13 million per year. Instead, he chose big money in New York, where he is all but guaranteed to be back in the playoffs and perhaps even contending for a championship. Tonight represents the only opportunity for the Warriors to exact any kind of revenge against. And it will be the only opportunity for Andris Biedrins to match up against the guy for whom the Warriors were ready to send Biedrins packing.
In reality, Biedrins may end up defending Amar’e Stoudemire and Chandler will likely be defended by Lee. Still, Biedrins can one-up Chandler by bringing more energy, having an impact on offense and making sure Chandler doesn’t catch any sick lobs.
It is highly likely, however, that Chandler shows exactly why the Warriors wanted him by protecting the basket, dominating the boards and finishing with authority. But if anyone can match Chandler’s energy and hustle, it’s Biedrins. With Kwame Brown and Ekpe Udoh also getting time at C, Biedrins should be able to give such energy.
Here are some other things to watch for tonight:
Who defends Carmelo Anthony: Tonight may be a good time for Mark Jackson to go with that big frontline, featuring Ekpe Udoh at small forward. Dorell Wright is an OK defender, but he’s too small and not quick enough for Carmelo Anthony. Udoh may have the best combination of size, athleticism and strength to defend Carmelo (though Ekpe may not be quick enough). Anthony went for 37 in the opener against a good defensive team in Boston. He usually has good games at Oracle. It will be interesting to see how Jackson goes about slowing down Carmelo.
Of course, there is also that Stoudemire guy. If Lee starts on Amar’e, that will be a big sign of confidence by Jackson. Lee defended Blake Griffin pretty well, but Amar’e is a much more polished post defender.
Klay Thompson’s minutes: The emergence of Brandon Rush has led to a decline in playing time for rookie first-round pick Klay Thompson. He went from the first perimeter player off the bench in the opener on Sunday to playing just six minutes in the second half Monday against the Bulls.
Better believe Thompson noticed. He was the last guy on the court Tuesday after practice, working on his game.
THOMPSON: “From a competitive standpoint, I only played 10 minutes (Monday). I thought I helped in a lot of ways and we won the game, but you want to get your work in. If you don’t play 30, 40 minutes, there is no reason you shouldn’t be out here.”
Stephen Curry’s ankle: Obviously, how his sprained right ankle is holding up will be of utmost importance. If Curry doesn’t play, that means Monta Ellis’ minutes will jump considerably, and the Warriors’ offense will be lacking one of its better scorers and play makers. Curry looked great Monday, especially as a playmaker. He seemed to be more focused on setting other guys up and waited for his opportunity to score.
If he plays, look to see if he takes a similar approach early – throwing lobs, pushing the ball to create opportunities, odd-angled cross court passes to get an open look from the weakside, etc. It opens up his game, as it spreads the defense and builds his confidence, and it’s less stressful on that ankle. When he’s in floor general mode, the game is more cerebral than physical. He dribbles less and thinks more.
BTW, unless his ankle is killing him, I see Curry playing. But the smart move may be to rest, giving him four days of complete rest. On the other hand, he had seven months to rest it and that didn’t work.