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Oklahoma City Thunder vs. Golden State Warriors: 2010-2011 Game 73 Preview; Running with the Bulls

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This also counts as an open thread, so feel free to post your thoughts during the game here.

Records: The Oklahoma City Thunder (48-24) vs. The Golden State Warriors (32-42)

Time: 7:00 PM Central Standard Time

Place: The New Myriad, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma

TV: Fox Sports Net Oklahoma, Comcast Sports Net Bay Area

Radio: WWLS The Sports Animal (98.1), KNBR 680

Enemy Blog(s): Golden State Of Mind,

Previous Meeting(s): Dec. 6th, Feb. 13th (Season Series Tied at 1-1)

The Golden State Warriors are the most inconsistent team in the NBA. That's the #1 thing you have to know about this matchup. No matter how good your team is, chances are, the Warriors will have a huge run against you at one point, and no matter how bad your team is, the Warriors will have a huge slump against you. The runs and slumps have no sense of regularity, though. There's no sense of, "Here comes the third quarter collapse." To put this in perspective, let me explain. January 1st, the Warriors are up 20 against the Heat in the second quarter, and they und up losing the game by 7. March 11th. The Warriors come back from down 21 against the Magic to win a game that had the most threes made in NBA history. And, perhaps most well-known to Thunder fans, December 5th, the Golden State Warriors come back from a 20 point deficit to nearly upset the Thunder.

Why are the Warriors so inconsistent? Well, part of it is brought on by heavy minutes for the starters. It's not uncommon to see Monta Ellis play all 48 minutes in a game, and other players, like Lee and Wright, will frequently see upwards of 40 minutes per game. Given the Warriors' breakneck style of play, this can lead to most of the players on the floor being exhausted at certain points of the game. They are also hampered by the terrible lineups of Keith Smart. He will frequently give guys like Acie Law heavy minutes when they have done nothing to warrant it, and bench players like Stephen Curry or Reggie Williams for their inferior counterparts. Most people consider his lineups to be puzzling at best, and it certainly shows in the win-loss record.

What do the Thunder need to do in order to win this game? First of all, they have to shut down Monta Ellis. Monta is pretty much the main catalyst in the Warriors' offense, so if he can be forced into a cold streak, it stops the whole offense. they'll also have to force the Warriors' offense out to the perimeter. Sure, that is where they make their living, but it is also where they die.

The Warriors will be without Andris Biedrins tonight, and the Thunder will be without Nick Collison, with Nate Robinson expected to take his place on the roster, and Cole Aldrich expected to take his place on the floor.

How will the game go? It will be a close one, with the Thunder looking to establish a presence in the post and the Warriors looking to jump out to a quick lead. Of course, my heart sits with Golden State and I'd like to think that they can win, but their front line is far too soft without Biedrins, and they haven't beaten a high profile opponent since that epic three point contest with the Magic. The Warriors will take an early lead here, but slowly fade away into irrelevance by the fourth. We all get to see Nate Robinson airball a three, laughs are exchanged.

Prediction: Oklahoma City 117, Golden State 98