Game 28 Preview: Warriors vs. Trail Blazers

This guy likes to go fast, so he might be able to score a billion tonight.

Game Time:  7:00 p.m.  TV:  CSNNW

Back-to-back games again, NBA?  Awwww...forget it.

The Golden State Warriors come to town pursuing their age-old dream of outrunning every team in the NBA.  At 9-16 they're not any more successful at it this season than they were in years past.  Perhaps less, in fact.  They started the season 6-2, looking like they had found the magic formula for success.  Going 3-14 since has dimmed the magic a little.

Golden State is fast-breaking team still.  They're second in the league in fast break points scored, trailing only the Raptors.  They attempt more shots than anyone but Minnesota.  The problem is, they're not scoring outside of the break.  When they were exciting they'd post 110 regularly.  Despite all the running and shooting they're a puny 13th in points per game.  The only thing they do besides run is shoot threes.   They're 7th in the league in attempts from beyond the arc and 2nd in percentage.  But 18 fast break points and 24 points from threes only adds up to 42.  They're 20th in field goal percentage, dead last in free throw attempts, and 26th in free throw percentage.  That makes the other 68 they need to succeed hard to come by.  Offensive rebounds off of their copious misses are their best bet.

Though their offense has lost some of its classic form their defense is vintage Warriors.  They allow opponents 47% from the field, almost 38% from the arc, and they give up more free throw attempts than anyone other than the Timberwolves.  They give up more fast break points than anyone.  Only Phoenix, Toronto, Washington, and New York give up more points in the paint.  Only Phoenix and Washington are worse defensive rebounding teams.

Glue this all together and you come up with a raunchy -6.0 ppg deficit...and a ton of losses.

Despite that, Golden State still swings some impressive bats.  They start with their guards, Monta Ellis and Stephen Curry.  Ellis scores 24.4 with 5 assists and more than 2 steals per game.  He shoots over 47% from the field as a guard and draws nearly 6 foul shots.  The only part of his offense that isn't textbook is his three-point shooting but that doesn't keep him from taking them.  Curry hurt his ankle and isn't expected to suit tonight.  He scores 20 with 5.6 assists and is a fantastic three-point shooter.

Andris Biedrins and David Lee make a nice rebounding duo.   Both average 10 per game, though more than 7 of their combined 20 come on the offensive end.  Lee is scoring 15 a night.  Biedrins doesn't shoot much with so many scorers around him.

Dorrell Wright is a three-point shooting small forward who used to defend but can't quite get the knack of it since his move to the Warriors.  Small forward Reggie Williams had a monster game against Minnesota  last Tuesday spelling Curry but he suffers from lack of aggressiveness and doesn't make a consistent impact.

Though they sub in plenty of players to keep fresh the rest of Golden State's bench isn't much to write home about.  Acie Law, Brandan Wright, Vladimir Radmanovic, and Louis Amundson dot the landscape with generally mediocre results.

The Blazers will need to get back and watch the deep ball and the Warriors' glass, obviously.  As with the Timberwolves last night playing any kind of smart offense should bring a score.  This is another one of those games where you try not to be stupid, bringing some motivation and not getting sucked into their game.  A little effort, a little energy, and a little hustle should bring another little feel-good win.

Feel the barely-controlled chaos at the always-interesting GoldenStateofMind.

Enter tonight's Jersey Contest form here.

--Dave (blazersub@yahoo.com)

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