Golden State Warriors (13-12) vs. New Orleans Pelicans (11-11)
Arena: ROARACLE -- Oakland, CA
Tip: 7:30 PM
TV: CSN Bay Area // Radio: KNBR 680
Buddy Blog: The Bird Writes
Yes, Warriors fans, things look pretty bleak right now. However, it could be worse for the Warriors, who have had to withstand do-everything swingman Andre Iguodala in a suit for a few weeks now. They're lucky they aren't the Chicago Bulls, who have had to deal with another devastating season-ending leg injury to 2011 MVP Derrick Rose. The Bulls, who will probably make the playoffs again, but have no shot at winning a championship. The Warriors at least can weather the storm once Iguodala returns and bolsters both the offense and the defense.
Mark my words, Golden State has been its own worst enemy lately. Turning the ball over consistently, not getting back in transition, failing to spot the open man, and just generally not playing all that hard. See Warriors beat writer Rusty Simmons:
MJax continued: "We’ve got to find answers. I’m finding it that the guys in the suits and ties want it more than the guys in uniform."— Rusty Simmons (@Rusty_SFChron) December 16, 2013
They are in danger of falling to .500 on the season if they lose to the Pelicans. They have lost four out their past six, falling behind by double figures in five of those games. They have allowed over 100 points in 13 of their last 15 games, a porous defense not at all helped by David Lee, who is averaging 37 minutes per game since Iguodala went out against the Lakers nearly a month ago. They aren't currently playing anything like the Western Conference contender many projected they could be before the season started.
However, if Golden State can start putting together energetic efforts, things will start looking brighter, especially with Andre Iguodala's return on the horizon. That all starts with tonight's game against the Pelicans, playing without young stud Anthony Davis, out for a month with a fractured hand.
Sorkin's Four Keys To A Warriors Win
Attack, Attack, Attack!
With no Davis to go up against, Golden State can exploit New Orleans' relative lack of athleticism and get out and run. No Davis means little to no shot-blocking on the interior for the Pelicans. Golden State should be able to attack the rim with little thought of getting their shots swatted away. David Lee, especially: The Warriors have been slightly better this month without Lee on the court, per NBA.com. Lee should be able to bounce back from a recent bad spell without any seven foot defensive monsters there to bother him.
In wins, the Warriors have typically shot well from three, especially Stephen Curry. Without Davis on the floor, there really won't be enough athleticism to step out on Curry when he gets a pick, and this should allow him and Klay Thompson to walk into open three-pointers all night. The Warriors currently rank 27th in the NBA at over 17 turnovers per game. Opponents have converted those into, not coincidentally, the third-most points off turnovers in the NBA. The Warriors must take care of the ball in order to win, as too often it's careless turnovers that stop a Warriors rhythm or start an opponent's fast break. It's not only careless turnovers, it's the failure to get back on defense, stop the ball, or funnel the action away from the basket.
Take Care of the Ball
The Warriors currently rank 27th in the NBA at over 17 turnovers per game. Opponents have converted those into, not coincidentally, the third-most points off turnovers in the NBA. The Warriors must take care of the ball in order to win, as too often during losses we can point to careless turnovers that stop a Warriors rhythm or start an opponent's fast break. They interrupt the flow of the team's offense, and too often result in game-changing fast break points.
Stop Dribble Penetration
Too often in the Warriors' recent slide, it's been dribble penetration that's killed them. Kemba Walker, James Harden, and Sunday, Eric Bledsoe and Goran Dragic, have been able to get into the paint seemingly at will, getting easy baskets at the rim or open 3-pointers. Golden State must do a better job tonight of stopping dribble penetration by the Pelican backcourt triumvirate of Jrue Holiday, Tyreke Evans, and Eric Gordon, and this will go a long way towards helping the Warriors defense get back in tune.
- Lee puts up his 14th double double, with a season-high 26 points to boot, without Anthony Davis haunting him on the defensive end.
- Curry breaks a few ankles en route to scoring 25 points, hitting six three-pointers, adding nine dimes and three steals.
- Without Davis, the rock of their offense and defense, the Pelicans fail to put up 100 points.
- Warriors lead by as much as 16, win by eleven, 107-96.