Okay so I'm back to .500 for all the games I've taken the time to actually write a preview for. Honestly though, I'm suprrised that we managed to stay in the game for so long despite (a) some of the non-calls out there that clearly we should've gotten and (b) somewhat containing somebody. The problem with the game? We let them get hot from beyond the arc. Not surprising, since we suck at that, but we can't be letting any team go 9-14.
Having said that, we now walk into a Golden State team primed for the playoffs. Let's take a look (and not mind that Gelabale is still on the list for the "starting lineup"...
Once again we're dealing with a backcourt that can shoot. We don't really need to talk about Stephen Curry at all, given that we know he can shoot the rock. He's becoming a more all-rounded guard lately, and his assists have been jacked up immensely since the departure of Monta Ellis. Honestly, we need to hope that Rubio/Ridnour (whoever's really guarding him at the time) can be able to just stay in front of him when he has the ball and near him when he doesn't. I'm hoping for Ridnour to be guarding rising young-gun Klay Thompson, who's set to become another specialized shooter in the NBA world (I imagine him to be more of a Chandler Parsons mold though). Through the last couple of games he's been somewhat inconsistent in terms of shooting, so look to see how he does the first few minutes out to really see what it'll look like. Bottom line, If we can't defend beyond the arc at all, look for Golden State to exploit that weakness and pass it into the paint when we're trying to guard the outside for some easy trips to the line.
On the flip-side, if we don't control the paint in this game it's going to be almost shameful. The biggest beneficiary of this whole thing is going to be DWill, who's been playing pretty well decently but faces a challenge in David Lee. Since Bogut (ankle, back) isn't with the team for this road trip game, Andris Biedrins is starting alongside of Lee. Look for Pekovic to manhandle whoever is really guarding him (likely Biedrins), though if it's Biedrins it might be a bit tougher since he has a slight height advantage over him (but let's face it, Pekovic might just throw him through the hoop). I'm anticipating a lot of "whoever the hell we have playing point guard at the time" to Pekovic passes to get points honestly. AK's the man who's going to do everything inbetween on both offense and defense, and I imagine him to provide consistent help defense to Williams when Lee is more than 10-feet from the rim. He'll have to keep an eye on Harrison Barnes though, who's amazingly efficient on the scoring end of things. 9-11 the last time out is pretty impressive, albeit against a Suns team that can barely defend.
In terms of bench? Jarrett Jack and Carl Landry seems to be the two to watch out for (what the hell ever happened to big-man Jefferson? How they've fallen...). Jack's a quality backup PG, so look for him to relieve Stephen Curry (who, funny enough, is listed as the sole PG on the team in the depth chart), and Carl Landry has a decent game. I have no doubts that our second unit should be able to contain and should be able to outscore them. Draymond Green has some good rebounding skills, but I just don't see him being much of a factor even with our second unit in (Steamer's been more of an 'enforcer' when the second unit is out there, it feels like).
Now what do we need to do to win?
- Contain the Golden State starters. In terms of cohesion, I feel that our second unit is stronger than theirs. If we can limit the damage from their first unit (especially Curry or Lee), then I can see our second unit really doing some damage.
- Three-pointers. We need to both make them and stop them from making them. We can't have any of this 50%+ three-point field-goal percentages. That won't win games. (OKC shot 65% from the great beyond, for the record).
- Be more aggressive. Whenever any of our point guards slow the game down we can't seem to get a consistent amount of points. It seems that whenever we pick up the tempo a bit the shots seem to roll in and we have a more consistent rate of getting to the line. The catalyst for that is just being more aggressive and pushing the ball forward. I want to see the team trying to play at a faster pace to not allow Golden State to set up their defense properly and then exploit it with some fancy passing.
... and of course, I leave y'all with some things on my mind.
- For the love of anything decent in the world, can we please play Chris? Come on Adelman, let's use the guy that can just out-jump the opponents entire front court for some hoops!
- I'm still calling it when I can. A lineup of Rubio / Shved / Kirilenko / Williams / Pekovic would be pretty good. If not, how about a Rubio (or Barea) / Shved / Gelabale / Kirilenko / Pekovic lineup just so the announcers can say "Look at that international lineup."
- Gelabale's hair. I'm really sad he gave up that 'fro.
... that's all I got. This is the time, let's make a win-streak occur. A minor sidenote question, who else is glad that we didn't get Mozgov?