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Warriors Vs. Mavericks Preview/Game Thread: A Little Effort Would Go A Long Way

After a lackluster performance against the Memphis Grizzlies on Wednesday, Golden State Warriors coach Mark Jackson called yet another one of his team's performances embarrassing. <em>Michael Hickey-US PRESSWIRE</em>
After a lackluster performance against the Memphis Grizzlies on Wednesday, Golden State Warriors coach Mark Jackson called yet another one of his team's performances embarrassing. Michael Hickey-US PRESSWIRE
Golden State Warriors (15-21) vs. Dallas Mavericks (23-19)
7:30 p.m. PST
Oracle Arena
TV: CSNBayHD, NBATV | Radio: KNBR 680
Blog Buddy: Mavs Moneyball

Andytobo of SB Nation's Dallas Mavericks' site Mavs Moneyball laments a disappointing season for the 2011 NBA champions, using the unifying theme of shots just not falling.

Statistically, that is indeed arguably what's hurting the Mavs most: they've fallen from third to 15th in the league in shooting efficiency and star forward Dirk Nowtizki's true shooting percentage has fallen to the lowest it's been since his rookie year.

But as much as that might pain Mavs fans to watch, enduring the problem that CSN's Matt Steinmetz highlighted about the Golden State Warriors this season is even tougher to deal with.

The Mavericks, playing their third game in three nights, would seem to be vulnerable if the Warriors can bring consistent energy on Saturday. However, bringing consistent effort has been an issue this year for Golden State.

What makes losses like Wednesday night's 18-point loss to the Memphis Grizzlies so hard to watch is that the Warriors' effort was, well, "embarrassing", something that Steinmetz observed that first-year coach Mark Jackson has uttered 3-4 times this season about his team's performance. Given the way this roster is constructed, losses are expected, especially against a team as hot as Grizzlies. But falling behind 21-4 primarily due to inattentive transition defense and giving up transition baskets off of made baskets at the other end is hard to stomach.

While the Mavs look to avoid 7 straight road losses tonight, the Warriors will try to avoid falling a season-worst 7 games under .500, which reflects a sad state of affairs for this team right now (even though it probably won't feel quite as bad as it does now to those with playoff hopes if the team manages to keep their lottery pick on lottery day). Yes, the Warriors are only 4 games out of the 8th seed in the 2012 NBA Playoffs - and 5 behind 7th seed Dallas - but that's also five teams they have to leapfrog to get there while also trying to avoid a low point in the season.

I want to be enthusiastic about this team but after rooting for my home town franchise for my entire life it really isn't about wins and losses anymore - it's hard to remain positive when the team just doesn't show up, especially at home. More than anything, what we have to hope to see tonight is effort, win or lose.

And to the team's credit this season, they have often bounced back well (effort-wise), particularly in front of their loyal home fans.

Optimistic predictions:

  • There will be effort.
  • Offensive rebounding is about effort and the Warriors and Mavs are 22nd and 23rd, respectively, in offensive rebounding percentage. It's a relative weakness for both teams, but it's a winnable battle for the Warriors tonight and something that would help them stay in the game.
  • Ellis will have another big scoring night tonight.
  • Curry will play and once again give the team a scoring boost.

Pessimistic predictions

  • While the Mavs have not shot well this season, neither have their opponents (6th lowest shooting efficiency in the league) and their top 10 in 3-point defense. As the Warriors' strength is their perimeter scoring - even without Curry - that will cause problems.
  • If neither Klay Thompson nor Dorell Wright are able to get hot from deep, the Warriors will ultimately find themselves seven games below .500.
  • Athough playing three games in three nights could wear on the Mavs, they're also coming off two consecutive losses - and six straight road losses - and will probably be hungry for a win.

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