Who: Warriors (38-7, 1st in Western Conference) vs. Charlotte Hornets (23-22, 6th in the East)
When: Wednesday, January 25, 5:00 PM on CSBA, ESPN
Where: Spectrum Center
Blog buddy: At the Hive
Team statistical comparison:
When last we saw them, the Warriors picked up a rare loss at the hands of the greatest player of all time, Dion Waiters. Much like the indisputable greatness of Waiters, this Warriors team takes its place on the pantheon of the NBA seriously. The Warriors haven’t lost back to back regular season games in a long, long time. Numerous players and coach Steve Kerr have all pointed to this stat as one they were most proud of last season. The Charlotte Hornets have a chance to end the streak, but can they?
The city of Charlotte is about as close to a home town as Steph Curry gets. He just got his high school jersey retired (I strongly suggest you watch this video, it’s short and sweet).
Special day for @StephenCurry30 - jersey retired by @charchristiannc & student section at @DavidsonCollege named in his honor. #Section30 pic.twitter.com/bLM4GhuZ1X— GoldenStateWarriors (@warriors) January 25, 2017
The Warriors bench rotation is still in flux. With David West still out, it has not only given JaVale McGee some additional minutes to take advantage of, but it also has opened up the end of the bench “bigs” rotation for guys like James Michael McAdoo and perhaps even Damian Jones to make appearances.
Finally, don’t look now, but the Spurs are right on our heels in the standings, currently sitting three and a half games behind us for that coveted #1 seed in the West. The Warriors know they can’t afford to let these sorts of games slip away; losing to two of the non-elite teams in the East is just not something that this Warriors team is going to allow themselves to do. Rest assured that they will be “dialed in” for this game.
Bottom line: the signs bode poorly for the Charlotte Hornets.
The Hornets are exactly the type of team that could beat the Warriors on a random Wednesday night in January. They have a sneaky good defense (ranked #6 in points per 100 possessions), they rebound the ball well (#4 in rebounds per game), and Kemba Walker is a high usage, dynamic scoring point guard that will give Steph Curry fits all night. With Walker’s ability to break down a defense off the dribble, the onus will be on Curry to defend well without fouling.
Walker is almost the polar opposite of Curry’s play style. Where Curry takes only about 22% of his attempts within three feet of the rim, Walker takes over 32%. Even more striking is the comparison of three point attempts as a percentage of total shot attempts - 38% for Walker, over 54% for Curry. So, Walker will be taking it to the hole a lot.
On the wing, look for Nicolas Batum to do his “3 and D” thing, but given the Warriors roster, I wouldn’t expect Batum to be able to do too much damage against our bevy of excellent wing players. Beyond Batum and Walker though, things look a bit less rosy for Charlotte. They’ve got Michael Kidd-Gilchrist who can’t shoot worth a damn, but somehow is managing to lead the team in rebounding (7.5 rebounds per game) while playing just under 30 minutes per game.
Our old pal, Marco Belinelli is playing nearly 25 minutes a game… but mostly, what sticks out to me is that the bottom half of this roster is pretty mediocre. Kemba Walker and Batum will need to have Dion Waiters level performances if Charlotte hopes to come away with a win.
The Warriors lead the league in too many categories to list. Hornets will need an act of God to stand a chance in this game, especially after the Warriors disappointing loss to the lowly Miami Heat. I predict we will see Damian Jones on the court again tonight, and Steph Curry will cheer for him while wearing a white towel on his head in the 4th quarter. BOOK IT!
Side note: Please get well soon, Jerry West!! We need you to stick around for a lot longer!!