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Blog Buddy: Canis Hoopus
In an epic clash between playoff contenders, the seventh-seeded Warriors head into Target Center in Minneapolis to take on the fifth-seeded Wolves.
Go take a peek at the standings. If the season ended today, we'd be headed into the playoffs for the first time since upsetting the Dallas Mavericks in the "We Believe" year. And I'm sure the Dubs would have no trouble dispatching the San Antonio Spurs this time as well.
There were several factors that were in question coming into the season. They were Andrew Bogut's ankle, Stephen Curry's ankle, defense, ankles and ankles.
Little did all of us know that this would happen.
That's at least 10% less than what we thought Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson was going to shoot this year. Perplexing.
Hard to pinpoint the issue from a fan standpoint because we really don't know what's going on in the huddle. It'd be easy to blame simple terrible shooting that's flukish from a small sample narrative, but there are external factors that can cause this trend to continue.
Coach Mark Jackson's rotations and offensive sets aren't really helping much. In the last game against the Atlanta Hawks, the Warriors played extended minutes with Richard Jefferson, Carl Landy, Jarrett Jack, Draymond Green and Andris Biedrins on the floor at the same time. Not sure what that lineup excels at, to be frank.
Simple pin-downs wouldn't hurt, as I've yet to see consistent cross-screen or stagger screen action throughout a game. Making matters worse, the same issues with Monta Ellis and Stephen Curry are starting to bubble as Curry can't seem to create enough on the dribble to find shooters like Harrison Barnes and Klay Thompson. Klay does seem unselfish enough to fit in eventually.
Maybe Andrew Bogut is the key, as he is an excellent passing big man. But he's busy trying cutting-edge ankle injections simliar to Kobe Bryant. So I fully expect 38+ minutes and 27.9 points per game when Bogut returns sometime in the distant future.
Back to the game, it appears that the Wolves may be without Nikola Pekovic, Brandon Roy and JJ Barea. This isn't including players that are already out: Chase Budinger, Kevin Love and Ricky Rubio.
So we get to see a combination of Greg Stiemsa, Lou Amundson, Luke Ridnour and Josh Howard. Yup, that Josh Howard. This Josh Howard.
Derrick William says he "grew up watching Josh Howard". Josh Howard is 32. Anyone else feel really old right now?— NBA Guru (@NBAGuru) November 15, 2012
Players to watch on Wolves
Alexey Shved and Andrei Kirilenko. One guy we know and he can ball out. AK-47 can still defend, pass and shoot well enough to be one of the top forwards in the game.
The other player is Alexey Shved and there are many similarities to his game to Ricky Rubio's. Right down to the exquisite passing and subpar shooting. Look for a couple plays where he sees the play develop before the defense does and drop a dime to a player. Preferably
Derrick Williams, for the Warriors' sake.
Player to watch on Warriors
One player I've been enamored with this season is the Latvian Legend (stuff no one says) Andris Biedrins. He's played well in the little time he has got on the court, grabbing rebounds and moving quick on defense and showing active hands. Beans still has issues finishing the ball because of his fear of shooting free throws. But there's definite progress in the past three games and it'll be interesting to see when he pulls off his first post move of the season. Remember this?
So sit back and enjoy a game between two playoff teams. Standard Warriors stuff.