Oracle Arena -- Oakland, CA
TV: CSN Bay Area // Radio: KNBR 680
Blog Buddy: The Bird Writes
Much has been written in the past few weeks about how the Warriors don't really want to face the Thunder in the first round and thus should rest some key players in their two remaining games with the New Orleans Pelicans, the team competing with Oklahoma City for the eighth seed in the Western Conference playoffs.
To those writers, you got lucky. Not only are the Warriors on the first game of a back-to-back tonight, they already have a key player actually injured -- Klay Thompson is out for the next few days with a sprained ankle.
Without Thompson, the Warriors offense should be a lot more stagnated and inefficien-- wait ... didn't they just put up 114 on the East-leading Hawks even while committing 18 turnovers? Yes. Yes they did. Golden State eviscerated the Hawks in all facets Wednesday night, with Andre Iguodala and Harrison Barnes especially stepping up big-time with 21 and 25 points, respectively.
So there's little reason the Warriors shouldn't be able to spread the Pelicans out and go crazy from deep, like they did to the Hawks. For the Warriors to win, they need to stay away from Anthony Davis as much as possible on the offensive end. You know what that means: Stephen Curry, bomb away from three and do your thing with the crazy no-look passes.
The Warriors are going into tonight with only two losses at home. They are 31-2 at Oracle Arena, an absolutely astounding mark. Their only losses at home came to the Spurs back in November, when the Warriors were still in the midst of their turnover-prone issues and lack of understanding of Steve Kerr's offense, and to the Bulls, in a game where Kirk Hinrich hit a game-tying three and Derrick Rose (bless his heart) nailed a game-winning, step-back long two.
In other words, the Warriors don't lose to 30-loss teams at home when they're playing with most of their key players. They just don't.
It would be understandable if the Warriors were to rest some players who aren't injured, like Thompson, if they were on the road. They've already done so, thrice: At Denver, to much criticism, in a loss last week; at Philadelphia; and at Oklahoma City in a loss.
But they are at home, and I don't believe Steve Kerr and the players really care all that much about who they play in the first round. They believe they can beat anyone, and with the sheer destruction they've had of pretty much every team this season, it is pretty hard to argue with that.
With the win v. ATL, @Warriors improved to 31-2 at home. Outscoring foes by 16.8 Pts Per 100 Possessions at home; next best is +8.9(LAC/POR)— NBA.com/Stats (@nbastats) March 19, 2015
.@Warriors are outscoring opponents by 11.6 PTS Per 100 Possessions. On pace to be league's highest NetRtg since the '96-97 Bulls (+12.0)— NBA.com/Stats (@nbastats) March 19, 2015
So could the Warriors rest Andrew Bogut and/or Andre Iguodala? Sure. Would it be understandable? Yeah, they need rest; it is a long season. But will they? There's a chance Kerr might rest Bogut, but I don't think he'll rest Iguodala. He needs to be in a rhythm come playoff time, and after the game he had Wednesday, I think it is more important for him to get into a groove offensively than get some rest.
That rest should come after the Warriors have wrapped up the #1 seed. And with the way the Warriors are playing and the Grizzlies are scuffling, that could be in the next week or so. Just wait until then, Steve. Think of the fans!
- Warriors 107, Pelicans 96.
- Stephen Curry and Anthony Davis each have dueling 30-point efforts as part of near-triple-doubles.
- Andre Iguodala has another solid all-around game with 16 points, 7 assists, and 6 rebounds.
- Anthony Davis dunks from the free throw line. Hey, it's more likely than Kentucky losing, I think.