Game Thread #8: Golden State Warriors Vs. Utah Jazz - Nate Robinson Makes His Oracle Arena Debut

LOS ANGELES, CA - JANUARY 06: Nate Robinson #2 of the Golden State Warriors signals the offense as he brings the ball upcourt against the Los Angeles Lakers at Staples Center on January 6, 2012 in Los Angeles, California. The Lakers won 97-90. (Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)

Tip-Off: 7:30 pm PST

TV: CSN Bay Area | Radio: KNBR 680

Blog Buddy: SLC Dunk

The last four games have been tough on the Golden State Warriors and last night's loss to the Los Angeles Lakers was tough to watch due to the turnovers in the second quarter followed by poor rebounding in the third quarter.

As I wrote earlier while trying to sort through my thoughts about this young season, it's sort of hard to know what to make of this team right now - they've got a new coach, no real preseason preparation, and are now battling injuries. That's not an excuse for things like, oh...say... squandering fast break layup attempts, but it makes it hard to evaluate a team seven games in.

And yet they have to move forward with another game tonight that will hopefully make us forget the last few games.

Some predictions:

  • Monta Ellis will continue looking impressive as a distributor and Kwame Brown will continue catching the ball. I think this is a key for this team that the Warriors find some way to high percentage scoring opportunities. Ellis flying at you and capable of making good decisions is a good start. There's been a motion to call this phenomenon of Ellis dribbling and passing to Kwame Brown who catches the ball and puts it through the cylinder "M2K". It is up to you to experiment with this in the game thread.
  • Klay Thompson will continue shooting well. Thompson is 5-for-8 from the 16-23 foot range over the last two games. The Jazz are allowing the second highest shooting percentage in the league (42.1%) from the 16-23 foot range, according to Hoopdata (don't pay any attention to which team is in third - we're talking about the Jazz here). Match made in rookie heaven.
  • Nate Robinson will please the home crowd. And then make them want to throw things. Possibly on consecutive possessions. He might also find it a bit more difficult to score with someone other than Steve Blake in front of him.
  • Enes Kanter unveils his unseen skills that have been reserved for Jazz players in practice to this point.
  • The Warriors will get beat on the offensive boards for the fourth consecutive game tonight. The Warriors are 24th in offensive rebounding differential and the Jazz are a team whose strength is apparently post play and getting to the free throw line. Not a good combination.
  • The third quarter will be the turning point. It wouldn't be surprising at all if the Warriors go into halftime with a lead. It would also not be surprising if the Warriors squandered that lead in the third quarter due to Jazz rebounding.
  • So it's hard to predict the outcome, but playing shorthanded against a team that can put up points in the post is not encouraging. I'm hoping for a win but, if not, a competitive game will do. My gut says Jazz by 6.

Jazz fans still holding a grudge against Mark Jackson

In case you had forgotten about Mark Jackson's forgettable stint in Utah, the folks at SLC Dunk haven't and they linked to a 2003 SI article by Ian Thomsen about tension in the locker room between Jackson and John Stockton:

Three members of the Jazz organization now understand why Jackson has been traded seven times in his 16-year career: They say that over a period of weeks, he succeeded in turning several teammates against Stockton by repeatedly remarking that those players would be better off if Jackson were the Jazz's floor leader. Other players rallied around Stockton, who, because of his quiet nature, was vulnerable to the locker room politicking...Jackson says his actions were in no way aimed at Stockton. "I'm a born leader, and if people take that as manipulation, then maybe they haven't been around leaders," he says. "I make no apologies for embracing people and talking to people and making them feel like they're important. Maybe in the past those stray dogs have been left on the side, but that's not the way I treat people."

That's not a glowing endorsement of a future head coach, but we'll just keep that tucked away in the SI vault from now on.

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