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Warriors at Nets preview: How much of a threat does Brooklyn pose to Golden State?

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The Warriors make the short trip from Toronto to Brooklyn in their quest to win a 22nd straight game.

Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports
Matchup
Brooklyn
Golden State Warriors
W-L (W-L HOMEorROAD)
vs
Brooklyn Nets
5-14 (4-3 HOME)
Details
December 6, 2015
Barclays Center — Brooklyn, NY
3 p.m. PST
CSN Bay Area | KNBR 680 AM
Blog Buddy: Nets Daily
Projected Starters
Stephen Curry G Jarrett Jack
Klay Thompson G Joe Johnson
Brandon Rush
F Rondae Hollis-Jefferson
Draymond Green F Thaddeus Young
Festus Ezeli C Brook Lopez
Key Injuries
Andrew Bogut (back) - Questionable?
Harrison Barnes (ankle) - Out
Kevon Looney (hip) - Out
Andrea Bargnani (hamstring) - Out
Chris McCullough (Knee) - Out

★★★

Last Tuesday, Coach Nick of BBallBreakdown did a thorough job of breaking down how to beat the Golden State Warriors, including a small set of teams that are best positioned to beat them.

In a vacuum, as in independent of context at full health, his list of the Cleveland Cavaliers, San Antonio Spurs, Indiana Pacers, and Utah Jazz isn't bad. I might throw in the L.A. Clippers just because I'm not sure there's a team more driven to steal one from the Warriors at this point, but...well...we've already seen the results of that series and have a litany of Cool Stories from Doc to prove it.

But taking context into account — injuries, days between games, location — I think that at this moment, we really have to consider the Brooklyn Nets a legitimate threat to end this winning streak.

That seems like an odd thing to think on the surface considering how they've performed lately. And sometimes, a picture is worth 1000 words:

Nets Daily homepage before Warriors game

This is not to make fun of Nets Daily, which is consistently one of the most informative sites in the SB Nation network; it's to illustrate just how bad things are currently in Brooklyn. I tried to watch part of that Nets-New York Knicks game on Friday night and there was some ugly, ugly stuff going on — from the portion I could stomach, it wasn't as if either team played well; the Nets were just worse than the Knicks on that particular night.

As described in a recent post about Lionel Hollins' job security, the only thing saving the Nets from being the worst team in the league is:

Seriously, this Nets team is not that good. So again, why should we be worried about this game?

First, the Nets took the Warriors to overtime at Oracle Arena. I wouldn't count on Brooklyn's Thaddeus Young torching Draymond Green for 20 points in a half again, whether the game is played at home, on the road, or somewhere on Mars. But former Warrior Jarrett Jack having a big game again isn't outside the realm of possibility as he seems to enjoy the thought of beating the Warriors as much as anyone, after a 28-point game in the first meeting.

Second, Andrew Bogut possibly being out isn't an easy absence to overcome in this game. As CSN's Monte Poole reported yesterday, he was kept out of yesterday's game due to a bad back and it's unclear whether he'll be able to go in today's game.

The Warriors hope Bogut -- who missed a practice last week due to back soreness -- can recover in time to play Sunday, when they face 7-foot Brook Lopez and the Nets in Brooklyn.

Nets center Brook Lopez had 10 points on 4-for-9 shooting and four offensive rebounds, including a missed game-winning tip-in at the end of regulation, in the second half alone last time with Bogut not starting but needed to play 30+ minutes for an overtime win. With the Warriors coming off a tough game in Toronto last night and being short-handed (again), contending with a big man like that might not be easy.

Third, the Nets might not be quite as bad as their record suggests — 12 of their 19 games thus far have been on the road, where they've gone 1-11; at home, they're a healthier 4-3 with solid wins against the Atlanta Hawks, Boston Celtics, Detroit Pistons and Phoenix Suns. None of those teams are the Warriors, but given that they played the Warriors so well once, it's not hard to imagine it happening again.

Of course, the Warriors have a few things going for them: they were without Klay Thompson the first time and without Harrison Barnes this time. Given this matchup, having Thompson might be better than having Barnes just so they have an extra defender to throw at Jack if he gets hot again. They were also without Leandro Barbosa at that time, who will give them an additional spark off the bench on the perimeter.

And of course, as a team that has made a name for themselves by finding motivation for each and every game, don't think they won't be looking forward to the opportunity for revenge.