Golden State Warriors (12-9) vs. Charlotte Bobcats (9-11)
4 p.m. PT
Time Warner Cable Arena - Charlotte, North Carolina
TV: CSN/HD BA | Radio: KNBR 680
Buddy blog: Rufus on Fire
If you're surprised by the Charlotte Bobcats' record - even if it's only 20 games - perhaps some context will help it make a bit of sense: the following is a quick rundown of their nine wins.
The Charlotte Bobcats' 9 wins this season.
Now I fully acknowledge that beating up on that group of teams is probably a recipe for a playoff berth in the
LEastern Conference - right now, they're the seventh seed. But every single one of their wins have come against teams that range from shamelessly tanking to epic disaster mode.
So this is about as cocky as you'll see me get about the Golden State Warriors: the Warriors have absolutely no business either being added to the list above or becoming the first Western Conference team the Bobcats manage to beat this season. If the Warriors are as good as many of us think they can be (and they sometimes seem to believe they are), they really can't afford to lose this one.
Also, Steph Curry has generally played well against the Bobcats.
In his six games against Charlottte in his career, Curry has been outstanding: he has averaged 25.3 points per game on 50% shooting, including 61.9% from the 3-point line. That's better than he has done against almost any other team in the league (he has been quite good in seven games against Toronto as well). In the three games he's been available to play in Charlotte, he has averaged 25 points getting his hometown career high in that gem of a performance last season in which he had 27 points, 7 rebounds, and 7 assists.
Thing is, that game was before he really started setting the world ablaze last season - the only thing that seems to be stopping him from a 30-point game this time around is a Warriors blowout win that allows him to go to the bench.
Even with whatever sample size issues you want to bring up, Curry should be expected to have another strong performance today in Charlotte. With Curry probably good for 25+, here are a few other things to watch for.
Three keys to victory for the Warriors against the Bobcats
Turnovers: Turnovers, particularly of the senseless unforced variety, have really hurt the Warriors this season, regardless of who they're playing or how they're defended - they're currently 29th in the league in turnover percentage at 15.8%. Tonight, that might be a stat to pay particularly close attention to: the Bobcats are seventh in the league in opponent turnover percentage at 14.4%. Given that they are not at all an efficient shooting team, the Warriors don't want to help them with points off turnovers.
BISMACK BIYOMBO IS THEIR MOST EFFICIENT SCORING OPTION! WATCH THE POST!The Bobcats are likely to give the Warriors a healthy diet of Al Jefferson, who is not having a good season with his new team by any standard. However, he does tend to fare well against the Warriors historically: for his career, his 57% true shooting percentage against the Warriors is the best he's performed against any opponent...outside of the Bobcats. On a team that doesn't otherwise have a lot of efficient scorers - compounded by the absence of one of their better scorers in Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, who is out indefinitely - keeping Jefferson from going off would be an important key to winning.
Ball movement: It was pointed out recently that all the iso-post ups shouldn't really a major concern going forward because they've really only been a problem since the team lost Andre Iguodala. Perhaps that's a fair point worthy of further research, but for now it's pretty clear that they're better when they get the ball and people moving and create open shots as a unit. If they could just limit the isos tonight, that would please me.
- Steph Curry goes for 25, only falling short of 30 because he doesn't need to play late in the game.
- Warriors come up big with their best turnover performance of the season, with a 10% turnover percentage.
- Warriors get a comfortable 12-point win that is not even as close as the final score suggests.