The Big Picture: The Golden State Warriors are probably going to miss the playoffs, again, and there's no simple reason for why. On paper, it seems pretty obvious that Monta Ellis, Stephen Curry, and David Lee should be complemented by a defensively-oriented big (like Louis Amundson) and a defense-oriented wing. Unfortunately, Amundson can't get off the bench and they just don't have any defensive stoppers. As a result, they're 27th in DRtg, and with that defense, only elite offense could get them into the playoffs, when there's is merely solid.
Compare to the Bobcats, who have equally poor offense, and nearly equally solid defense. Where Gerald Wallace has "failed" to be the human tornado he was last season, David Lee has regressed a little. Where Boris Diaw is the team's unlikely leader in eFG%*, Vladimir Radmanovich leads the Warriors. Where Tyrus Thomas has contributed more than just about anyone expected, Dorell Wright has reinvented himself and is in the midst of a career year.
*Diaw leads if you exclude Derrick Brown, who's only played 419 minutes this year. Note that a huge percentage of Brown's attempts come at the rim and that if he played more Big rather than Wing, his rebounds would probably go up. He's played well this year and deserves to play more than Eduardo Najera.
The main difference, though, is that the Cats are finding ways to maximize their limited talent on hand, while the Warriors have an overabundance of useful and intriguing -- if not exceedingly attractive -- perimeter talent. Reggie Williams is, apparently, an atrocious defensive player, but the dude might be the third-best offensive player on the team, and he's kind of redundant behind Stephen Curry, Ellis, and Wright. Milwaukee probably wouldn't do it, because it would drain them of two good defenders and Scott Skiles might go on a rampage, and Memphis would probably think they could get more for O.J. Mayo, but I'll happily rosterbate three-way trades, like this one, that could help everyone involved**.
**I tried to get Mayo to the Bobcats by trading Stephen Jackson, but that'll be a tall task, unless someone caves mightily.
Musical Interlude: Jimmy Eat World -- "Lucky Denver Mint"
Key to Victory: Jax is the Bobcats' #1 matchup issue for most other teams. His sheer size and relatively good quickness allow him to cover guards while causing problems for those smaller guards trying to cover him, either in the post, where he can muscle them into the lane, or on the perimeter, where he can simply shoot over their outstretched hands. Ellis is hardly the biggest wing player in the league, though he's not exceptionally small. Either way, Jax has a major size advantage, and the game could hinge on how well those two players deal with each other.
Detail That May Interest .08% of You: Cats players, while they're in the Bay Area, really ought to take advantage of the uniquely excellent restaurant scene. My suggestions for unfussy top-flight food: Ton Kiang, in San Francisco's Richmond district, for dim sum... Delancey Street Restaurant for white-tablecloth Contemporary American, and that doubles as a charitable foundation... and Patio Espanol, for Spanish and Basque cuisine.