This will be the final game of what was the longest road trip for the Golden State Warriors after the All Star break. After knocking out the Knicks and Wizards, the only team preventing a perfect return to Oracle are the struggling Atlanta Hawks.
It’s fitting that this is Zaza Pachulia’s old team - and the place where he coined his iconic “Nothing easy!” call to the basketball gods. Now, this isn’t anything like going into a game 7 of a playoff series (which is what inspired Pachulia back in the day) but the premise still holds - if the Dubs don’t come out with a healthy respect for their opponents, this easy win could turn into a heart-breaking loss.
Let’s not do that, ok?
Injury update: Bell’s back! Livingston’s resting
The Warriors are getting healthy (finally). I don’t want to jinx it, but it’s hard for me to not get excited about the return of Jordan Bell. He hasn’t done a ton since his return, but look for Bell to get more and more comfortable as I expect Kerr will prioritize working him into the lineup.
In his first game back against the New York Knicks, Bell managed three points, three assists, and a block in around 15 minutes of action. Not bad for his first game back, right? The second game saw him only play about half as many minutes, and he was slightly less productive, of course - two points, a rebound, and an assist in under seven minutes of action.
Also, the Warriors are starting the parade of final stretch rest - though it’s continually surprising to me how little we rest Draymond Green, who still has that lingering shoulder issue:
Status update: Shaun Livingston (rest) will not play in tonight's game at Atlanta.— Warriors PR (@WarriorsPR) March 2, 2018
Second-year guard Patrick McCaw is still out, but recent reports are saying that he’ll get a new evaluation when the Warriors return home and he could potentially be ready to have the cast removed.
This means that two-way player Quinn Cook should get a pretty healthy run. The matchups probably feed into this decision a bit as well, as it would seem that Cook matches up better with the speedy Dennis Schroder anyways.
Also of note
The Warriors schedule is nice. After this early game tonight, the Warriors do not return to action until Tuesday - against the lowly New Jersey Nyets - a team that has managed more wins than the Hawks... but it’s just one more win and that means they’ve only struggled to 20 wins so far this season.