The clock finally struck midnight for Cinderella last night, as the Warriors’ magical run came to a close at the jazz hands of the Utah.
The 100-87 defeat capped off a frustrating series for the Warriors. All in all, the Jazz were just too big and strong for them and like a big offensive line in football that seems to gain momentum come the fourth quarter, Boozer and Co. just wore out the Warriors as the games went on.
So, what now?
The Warriors’ front office has to decide a couple things:
1. Was the Dallas series merely a perfect storm? That is to say, was it just a best-case scenario for the Warriors? Nellie knew the Mavs, Baron and JRich had their way with the small guards, etc, etc. For example, if the Warriors got swept by the Spurs, Suns or even the Jazz in the first round, would there be more of an impetus to shake things up?
2. Pietrus, Barnes or neither? They play (almost) the same role in Nellie’s system. Both are going to be free agents, but with big contracts already on board (Baron, JRich, Foyle) and new contracts on the horizon (Monta, Biedrins), there’s no way Mullin can keep both. Pietrus has the higher ceiling, but Barnes never takes a night off like MP2.
3. Trade Baron? Think about it: his value will never, ever be higher. Yes, he’s the heart of the team with a system that is made for him. Yes, he’s single-handedly responsible for resurrecting the franchise into Bay Area relevance. Yes, the Beard has reached iconic status. Buuuuut … he had a similar breakout campaign a couple years ago with the Hornets, he’s never going to shake the injury concerns, and five of the top six teams in the upcoming draft (Memphis, Boston, Milwaukee, Atlanta, Portland) need a point guard. Throw in some teams who might be interested in trading a star player (like a Garnett) and you have the makings for some interesting scenarios.
4. Trade Richardson for a big man? This option is less drastic and has actually been tossed about a bit already, with Darko and Gasol mentioned as options. If you ask us, you can’t trade JRich, not after all he’s done for us fans.
[And the answers to earlier trivia: 1-J, 2-C, 3-I, 4-F, 5-N, 6-H, 7-Q, 8-L, 9-A, 1O-0, 11-K, 12-B, 13-M, 14-E, 15-D, 16-P, 17-G]