Warriors fans have less reason to worry this year. In fact, optimism has popped its head up like Punxsutawney Phil for perhaps the first time since the “Run-TMC” era, when Hardaway, Richmond, and Mullin ruled the hardcourt. After the inaugural NBA campaign of former Stanford head coach Mike Montgomery, the biggest reason to be hopeful this season is last year’s prize acquisition, point guard Baron Davis (19.2 points, 7.9 assists per game in 2004-05), who did what point guards are supposed to do — make everyone around them better. Visions abound of Da Baron feeding Jason Richardson, aka J-Rich (21.7 ppg in 2004-05), for Jordan-esque alley-oops far above the rim, and if the supporting cast of Dunleavy, Pietrus, Foyle, Fisher, Murphy, Cabarkapa, and Biedrins can jell, the Warriors may actually have a chance to attain a truly golden state, that of a playoff team. Hey, we can dream, can’t we? The Warriors make their ’05-’06 home debut with a preseason scrimmage against the Phoenix Suns tonight at 6 p.m. at the Arena in Oakland, offering diehards a chance to assess whether they should bet the mortgage on the possibility of a postseason berth, and fanning the flames for casual sports fans still hemming over whether to scoop up season tickets. Visit Warriors.com for tickets, stats, and schedules. — Eric K. Arnold
Roller Derby in Alameda!
There’s nothing more delightful on a fall evening than watching two teams of thugs on roller skates beat the shit out of each other. That’s the enduring appeal of roller derby, the nostalgic leftover from the ’60s and ’70s that’s still hanging on in the Bay Area — one of the few sports that never became big business. Rasslin’ is cable-glitzy, tractor pulls are passé for urbanites, but roller derby still packs ’em in. This Saturday (8 p.m.), it’s Alameda’s turn to feel the squeal of steel wheels, when local favorites the Bay Bombers take on the Chicago Pioneers at Alameda High’s gym (2201 Encinal Ave.). The Bombers, led by Richard Brown, Vicki McEwen, Sam Washington, and a guy named Icebox, will have their hands full with “Bad Boy” Alfonso Reyes and his naughty Pioneers. $20-$25 door, $10 for little bruisers. Bomber line: 510-636-9300 or Freewebs.com/bombersrollerderby — Kelly Vance