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Warriors vs Suns Preview: Will Golden State be focused when facing another cellar dweller?

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The Warriors played carelessly in last weekend's loss to that horrible team from Los Angeles that's not the Clippers. Phoenix isn't any greater a threat, but this game is in Oakland. Can the Dubs get up for this game to protect their home court or will they once again play down to the level of their competition? Meanwhile, the Suns' Devin Booker has been torching the nets in March with three 30 point games so far. Will he draw some comparisons to Stephen Curry for more than his baby face?

Who's the 15-year old guarding Klay Thompson?
Who's the 15-year old guarding Klay Thompson?
Jennifer Stewart-USA TODAY Sports
Matchup
Golden State Warriors
58-6 (29-0 HOME)
vs
Phoenix Suns
17-48 (6-26 ROAD)
Details
March 12, 2016
Oracle Arena, Oakland, CA
7:30pm PDT
CSN Bay Area | KNBR 680 AM
Blog Buddy: Bright Side of the Sun
Projected Starters
Stephen Curry G Ronnie Price
Klay Thompson G Devin Booker
Harrison Barnes F P.J. Tucker
Draymond Green F Alex Len
Andrew Bogut C Tyson Chandler
Key Injuries
Festus Ezeli
Andre Iguodala
Eric Bledsoe
T.J. Warren

★★★

The Warriors need discipline tonight

The Suns own the third-worst record in the league going into tonight's game - not the most imposing foe for the first-place Warriors at home. That is, until you remember that the Warriors play their best basketball against the best teams and their worst basketball against the worst teams. As we saw last night with the Blazers, when the Warriors are motivated they can destroy teams from the outset. Losing in Portland by 32 while the Blazers continued to play their starters against the Warriors bench in the fourth quarter proved to be enough to get Golden State's attention. But if Sunday's loss to the team with the old guy who can't shoot anymore wasn't enough of a wake up call that every game deserves that kind of focus, I don't know what would be.

The Warriors don't necessarily "need" to figure out this issue, seeing as how they remain undefeated at home and against the top teams in the league, but it'd be reassuring to see them win another game against a bad team with Stephen Curry and the starters resting for the entire the fourth quarter like they did so frequently to start the season. This should be one of those games, but right now Warriors fans aren't so sure they can expect the Dubs to come out of the gates with the focus that's needed to win big in the NBA. We may need to start a contest for fans to create blackboard material designed to keep the Dubs angry instead of bored.

What to watch for from the Suns

Injuries in the backcourt to Eric Bledsoe and Brandon Knight really hurt the Suns this year, but they're encouraged by the development of Devin Booker - the only player in the league who looks younger than Stephen Curry. You might remember Booker as the non-Splash Brother in the final round of this year's three point contest during All-Star Weekend. What Suns fans think you should know is that he's the real deal, a young player who can not only shoot but also drive and draw fouls. That's impressive for a kid who's not yet old enough to buy his own alcohol. He's getting a lot of attention this week after averaging 28 points and 5 assists in his past five games. Even Klay Thompson is offering the youngster some praise, suggesting that Booker "has already proven that he can be a great player for a long time if he just stays humble and keeps working, which he will." The Warriors will need to stay attached to Booker to cool his hot streak.

As for the frontcourt, the Suns are going against the general trend of the league to play smaller lineups by starting two centers, Tyson Chandler and Alex Len. The two have seen their numbers increase over the last couple of months, with Len taking on a much larger role as of late than he had in the past. Len is averaging 17 points per contest since the All-Star break, compared to about 7 points before that.

Keys for the Warriors

With Andre Iguodala's ankle sprain last night (thanks, Damian Lillard...), the Warriors bench will need to find a way to step things up defensively in his absence. We've seen how critical Iguodala is to the Warriors' success and the second unit has its work cut out for it without the 2015 Finals MVP. Klay Thompson and Draymond Green may get some extra minutes if the score is close. We should also expect to see a good deal of Brandon Rush this evening.

In terms of matchups with the Suns, the Warriors have their hands full with the height of Chandler and Len on the boards. As spry and energetic as Bogut has been in recent weeks, Coach Kerr may limit Bogut's minutes in the second game of a back-to-back and the other active Warriors centers could struggle to box out the Suns' seven footers. It will be a wonderful day when Festus Ezeli is back in uniform... On the flip side of the equation, the Warriors small lineup should run circles around the Suns' big frontcourt. Let's see if Draymond Green racks up some points and assists out of the pick and roll with Curry.