Sunday, February 24, 2008

Warriors Battle Injuries at a Critical Point of the Season

The win against the Celtics could have been the most impressive win of the Warriors' season in terms of drama and quality of opponent. The win against New Orleans on the road stands out as well, but the Warriors beat the Celtics without Stephen Jackson.

The W's have been terrific all year with a roster full of healthy players, but recently health has been an issue. Captain Jack has been ailing from an ankle injury since Feb. 9 against the Kings and Andre Biedrins is recovering from his appendectomy. Baron seems to be dragging that left knee a bit after giving the team some serious minutes throughout the year. Monte has kept this team in the hunt with his stellar play throughout February and Webber seems to be playing better. He rarely logs more than 20 minutes a game, but his floor time has been improving. He defended well against Kevin Garnett and is starting to get on the same page with the offense. Biedrins could be out another week or more and we know the Warriors are not the same without Jack in the game. He was just starting to heat up as he notched a season high 41 Feb. 11. Brandon Wright will be called upon pick up for Biedrins and Pietrus will have to contribute for the W's to stay alive during this rough period.

Before the All-Star break, it was a tight race between three teams for the 7th and 8th spots in the Western Conference, but Houston has just won its 12th straight tonight and are looking like they could beat anyone in the West. They have finally got all of their weapons healthy, as in Tracy McGrady. They also got deeper at the point by adding Bobby Jackson, who has playoff experience with Sacramento, who was coached by Rick Adelman, who is the current Rocket coach.

As February comes to a close, March will bring some critical games directly affecting the playoff campaign. These are four games coach Nelson has circled in red ink. Mar. 2 versus Portland at home. The Blazers won the first two out four total meetings, both up in Portland. The W's will be anxious to even the score and stop the Blazers from sneaking up from behind. The second meeting is also at Oracle on Mar. 27. Also critical home game comes on Mar. 21 when the W's host Houston for the fourth and final meeting of the season series. Houston crushed the W's in the first half of the last meeting in Houston, but the W's made a valiant comeback effort in a loss. The fourth critical game will be on the road in Denver Mar. 29. It looks like the Nuggets are the closest competition for the W's unless the Rockets cool off considerably or Portland gets back on track. Taking three out of four from the Nuggets would make life much easier. Oh yeah, and they need to weather meetings with Phoenix, Dallas, and back to back with the Lakers.

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