THE SCOUTING REPORT
Ready, set, HighTops!
The Warriors are already counting their lottery balls.
With a record of 14-38 well they should. They ended their longest losing streak of the season (9 games), with a home victory over the Clippers just before the All-Star break. But are well on the way to a new one after their lost in LA yesterday. The Warriors are in the middle of a 25-day stretch where they play 9 home games and only 1 road game. So, with a record of 10-15 at home (40%), I think they’re expecting to improve their record by months end. But, a win against the Kings won’t endanger their lock on the 3rd worst record in the NBA.
This will be the 4th and final game between GS and the Kings. The Kings have won 2 of the previous 3, losing at GS on Jan. 8th 108-101. After jumping out to a 61-48 halftime lead, the Kings did the unthinkable and were outscored 62-40 in the 2nd half. With 5:49 left in the game and with a 7pt lead 98-91; the Kings were only able to score 3 more pts in the quarter.
On average the field goal shooting has been equal, with the Kings shooting 43.7% to GS’s 43.0%. The Kings scored 12 more points from the field, while GS had 3 more points from the FT line. The Kings dominated the rebounding with 167 Total rebounds to GS’s 122, and 47 Offensive rebounds to GS’s 29. As equal as it has been, neither team should be happy with their offense. The Kings 4th quarter collapse in the Jan 8th game, and GS shooting only 32% on 94 FGA’s and losing the Jan.26th game by 3, were embarrassments to both teams. It goes without saying that this series could easily be 2-1 in favor of GS, or 3-0 in favor of the Kings.
The ever changing landscape of the Golden State Warriors roster makes guessing their up coming line-up as easy as picking the next Super Lotto Numbers. So, here goes. Monta Ellis is injured again. He sprained his left knee in the Clippers game just before the All-Star break, and is expected to be out a week to 10 days. Which could mean he’ll be back, but he missed yesterdays LAL game and was listed as Not Traveling with the Team. So, I’m guessing he doesn’t play against the Kings. Vladimir Radmanovic has an injured Achilles and is expected to miss another week. Azubuike is out for the season with a knee injury; Bell is out indefinitely with a wrist injury. Randolph is out till mid-March with an ankle injury, and Wright is out till mid-February with a shoulder injury. Cartier Martin, who along with Curry kept the Warriors in the Jan 26th game, is back in Iowa of the D-League. Corey Maggette, who sat out last Monday and Wednesday's pre-All-Star-break games against the Mav’s and the Clippers because of a dislocated left ring finger, did play in yesterday’s game against the LAL. And, even though he’s listed as Day to Day, I’ll assume he’s playing unless of course he’s traded before the game.
So, GS probably starts Curry & Morrow at the guards, Maggette and Tolliver (the D-Leaguer who had his contract picked up for the season) at the Forwards, and Biedrins at Center. That leaves a very thin bench of Ronny Turiaf, CJ Watson, Devean George and 6’11" rookie Chris Hunter. Curry is making another run at Rookie of the Month, and almost had his 2nd consecutive triple double when he went 11/10/8 against LA yesterday. Anthony Morrow has shown that his pick for the Rookie Challenge game was well deserved. For February he’s averaging 21.8/6.2/3.5 on 56.4% field, 52% from 3pt and 92% from the FT line. Corey Maggette is only shooting 41% but as we found out in the last game when he went 3-22 and still scored 19pts, the man scores points. And in February he’s averaging 20.3 pts and 6.7 rebounds per game. Biedrins is scoring only 5.2 ppg on 68% shooting with 8.8 rpg and 2.2 assists. And, Tolliver is averaging 11.2/4.8, which is a far cry from his initial double double performance when he first joined the team from the D-League.
Both teams are averaging around 106 PPG on 47% shooting, but the Kings hold the edge in Rebounding and the quality of the bench. GS doesn’t play defense so the Kings shooting woes, the last 2 games of this series, are probably on their own head, and I can’t see that happening a third time. Curry and Morrow can put up points, but I’ll take Tyreke and Kevin attacking the paint over jump shooters any day. The Kings are as healthy as they’ve been all season, and GS is, hurting. The Kings can go big and slow down the game, or run with GS and watch the Warriors run out of gas in the 4th. Either way the Kings should win their 3rd road game of the month, and the Warriors probably extend their new losing streak to 2 games.
THE KEY BATTLE
Andris Biedrins vs. Spencer Hawes. If Hawes plays against Beans as he did against Kendrick Perkins, he should have a dominant night. Hawes was simply brilliant against the Celtics on defense, maybe his best effort of the season (top five at least). Jason Thompson was also smoking, and the thin (literally) Warriors frontcourt can't hang with that physicality ... provided the refs let the men play out there.
Corey Maggette vs. Omri Casspi is another big match-up. Maggs famously shot like Duhon in his last game against the Kings (a Sacramento win), while Omri was hot as Hades Tuesday. We'll see.
Jason Thompson will have fewer than four but more than zero blocks.
"Et tu, Mancakes?" Don Nelson bellows as another Warrior falls.
7:30 PM PT. You Bay Area folks can catch it on CSN Bay Area (in HD, I believe). We in Sacramento Metro will be watching on CSN Sacramento. Two game threads (7:30 and 8:45) and a post-gamer (10:15).