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The Nets come to town for the first time since they've moved to Brooklyn, and with a substantially better team than they had last year. Even after losing to the Lakers last night, their 6-3 record isn't a mirage... or at least not entirely.
Of their 6 wins so far this season the Nets have beaten just one team over .500 (Boston), and are 2-2 on the road. After garnering a ton of press in the offseason and losing out in our Long National Dwightmare, Brooklyn has put together an experienced and savvy team - a far cry from the disaster they've been in the recent past.
Brooklyn fans are thinking of this as a "gimme game" against a lottery team, and a potential blowout victory. Somehow the fact that the Nets were *worse* than the Warriors last year has escaped their notice - as do the Warriors' four wins against winning teams this year.
None of this means an easy win for the Warriors. It does suggest that this game is an excellent reality check for both teams. For Brooklyn, it's a chance to see how they perform after a tough loss to the Lakers, and a chance to beat an improving team on the road. For the Warriors, it's an opportunity to match up against another playoff-bound team at home.
Similar-sounding first names are all Williams has in common with Darren Collison, Curry's last matchup against the Mavs. Williams' scoring has dropped slightly, while his shooting is up from last year and his assists are slightly down. Any bulk Steph's added will help here, since DWill likes to back down his defender in the paint and he's got the strength to do it. On the other hand, Williams is about as far from a defensive ace as you can find. Expect some flash in this matchup, but not a lockdown performance on defense from either player.
Slumping Shooting Guards
The bad news is that Klay Thompson is in a severe shooting slump. The good news is that Joe Johnson is in a severe shooting slump. Either one of these players could suddenly find their stroke again, of course, but the matchup seems destined to produce about twice as many misses as makes at both ends. This could good for the Warriors, because
While the Nets rank 9th in offensive rebound rate, they rank 19th in defensive rebound rate. The Dubs come into the game ranked 13th in offensive board rate, and 3rd in defensive. This plays to our strengths at both ends of the court. Good games on the backboard from Festus Ezeli, Andris Biedrins, Harrison Barnes, and Draymond Green could be the difference here (assuming David Lee has his usual good-rebounding game).
One other matchup to watch - Crash vs the Black Falcon. Gerald Wallace isn't a major scoring threat, but he's an active and savvy defender. This could produce an interesting battle between him and Harrison Barnes, whose confidence in his scoring ability seems to have taken a giant step over the last 5 games.
Overall, I like the Warriors' chances against the Nets tonight. See the game thread for predictions!
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