Golden State Warriors (16-6) at Orlando Magic (9-3)
WHEN: Friday, December 1st 4:00 p.m. PST
WHERE: Amway Center Orlando, FL
One quarter of the way into the season, the Golden State Warriors have looked good, but not necessarily without moments of struggle. They are doing well enough to still boast the #1 ranked offense and the 8th ranked defense, but are toying with mediocrity a bit too closely lately. A couple of tight matches recently against lower tier teams (including one loss) have left many fans feeling a bit nervous about the uncharacteristic struggles.
Warriors injuries are relatively minor, but there’s lots of them
As Brady outlined yesterday, the Golden State Warriors are banged up. Entering game two of their season-longest six game road trip, Stephen Curry (right hand contusion), Kevin Durant (sprained left ankle), Andre Iguodala (sore left knee), Klay Thompson (sprained left ankle) & David West (left lateral knee soreness) are all listed as questionable.
While we should be thankful that none of these are more serious, the injuries are beginning to pile up.
It’s difficult to say which injury is most concerning: Steph Curry is talking to Kobe Bryant about how to play through the pain; Kevin Durant and Klay Thompson are both now listed with sprained ankles even though both played heavy minutes in our last game (39 and 42 minutes, respectively). On top of all that, two of our most solid veterans, David West and Andre Iguodala are fighting nagging knee issues.
It’s extremely unlikely all of these guys will sit out against Orlando, but given the extent of the injury list it is a safe bet that coach Steve Kerr will be somewhat short handed against Orlando. We should get an update after Friday morning shootaround, but probably won’t know the exact active roster until close to game time. Kerr indicated that Andre Iguodala is probably the most likely to see rest next but we will keep you posted as news emerges closer to game time.
Are the Warriors dominant enough?
Currently, the Warriors are in second place, trailing the Houston Rockets by 1.5 games. Anyone who has watched this team can confirm that they don’t look quite like themselves - the dominant team still shows up from time to time, but so does the sloppy, turnover prone one.
As per Anthony Slater of the Athletic, even Steve Kerr is nearing the end of his rope
“Particularly galling would be the word,” Kerr said. “I like the word galling. Tonight was absolutely galling. There were some mind-boggling plays out there. I don't know what to tell you. We got to be able to take better care of the ball, make better decisions. Maybe I'll try a different tack.”
It starts at the top too, which is really, really weird - did you know the evolved Small Ball Death Squad is actually posting a negative on court number this season? As of last game, the so-called Hamptons Five is a net negative (minus 16 points in 56 minutes of action):
The Magic aren’t doing so hot themselves
Orlando has won only 3 of their last 14 games - on Wednesday they picked up their first win since November 10th. Looking back to the matchups against each other in the recent past doesn’t provide much comfort, as they have dropped 9 consecutive games to the Warriors (their longest active losing streak against any team in the NBA).
Orlando does okay on offense but when you have one of the worst defenses in the league, you need more than an adequate offense to stay competitive.
The last time these two teams faced off, the Warriors held the Magic to just 42% shooting as a team - but still only beat them by ten points. Moving forward, the Warriors are going to need to find a way to be consistently dominant; a strong showing on the road against an athletic team with a soft defense would be as good of a time as any to start.