The Golden State Warriors face the Washington Wizards today at 4 p.m. PST, looking to win their third game in four days.
4 p.m. PST
Where: Verizon Center - Washington, D.C.
TV: CSNBA | Radio: KNBR 680
Blog buddy: Bullets Forever
Yes, it's the third road game in four nights.
Yes, it's the back end of a road back-to-back.
And nope, the Golden State Warriors still don't have Andrew Bogut in the lineup.
But if the Warriors want to (continue to?) be taken seriously on a national scale, this is a game they need to dig deep for and figure out a way to win - good teams find a way to beat teams beneath them in the hierarchy of things and the hapless Washington Wizards are beneath the Warriors.
Or maybe that's just an extension what I felt about last night's game: for a fanbase traumatized by a couple decades of losing, games like this help to reinforce that things done changed.
I don't know about you all, but I'm still in disbelief that the Warriors even have a legit chance to have a winning road trip given circumstances.
Almost tipoff...Dubs looking for their first winning road trip of seven games-or-more since 1970-71 (4-3)— #GSWStats (@gswstats) December 6, 2012
The flipside of my ongoing anxiety about the Warriors having a letdown sometime soon: this Warriors team has what it takes to keep this road momentum going because they've showed all season - and last night in particular - that they can win with defense.
And against the Wizards, a solid defensive and rebounding game should be enough to win the game.
Key statistical battleground: offensive rebounding
The Warriors are 11-1 this season when they outrebound their opponent and that figures to be a key number to watch tonight.
Although the Wizards have not been very good this season, one thing that they have done well is rebound: they're 11th in the NBA in offensive rebounding rate and have the bodies to rebound on any given night. While we might think about the road loss to the Charlotte Bobcats when thinking about road letdowns, it might be worth think about a more recent game on the rebounding front: the loss to the Orlando Magic at home on Monday in which the Warriors got bullied inside.
If the Warriors can cut off second chance scoring attempts for the Wizards, they'll be in good position to win this game.
Key player to watch: Jordan Crawford (?)
What's interesting about the Wizards' two wins this season they actually lost the offensive rebounding battle and won by outshooting both the Miami Heat and Portland Trailblazers.
The player who stepped up in both games was Jordan Crawford, who has been inconsistent this year but has been way more efficient than average in those two games including a 3-for-6 3-point shooting effort against the Heat.
Most of all, I think we'd all like to see another strong defensive effort from the Warriors today and the Wizards are a team that will succumb to defensive pressure - the Heat's intensity has wavered this season and Portland just hasn't been very good this season defensively. Locking them down and forcing turnovers will go a long way to helping to get another road win.