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What to Watch – Game #1

Finally, NBA basketball is back in the Bay Area. Real basketball.

Golden State kicks off the 2011-12 campaign by hosting the Los Angeles Clippers. Needless to say, a good start is vital for the Warriors. Forward David Lee said the key to a successful season is dominating at home.

LEE: “Every game we play at Oracle I expect to win. We need to get much better as a team on the road this year. But I think that’s gotta be our team’s mindset. If a team’s going to come in and get a victory at Oracle, it’s going to be because they had a great shooting night or they played above what they’re capable of playing or they played a great game. With our fan base and how good we were at home last year, and we’re going to be a much-improved team this year, we need to settle for nothing but victories at home.”

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So as we prepare for the opener, here are some things to watch for tonight:


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A breakout game for Monta Ellis: He has a history of thriving on the court when things aren’t going off it.

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Charles Jenkins’ poise: Whether he starts or comm off the bench, he’s likely going to get a lot of minutes. That’s a big deal for a rookie second-round pick. How will he handle the pressure?
I think he will be a solid back-up, but that doesn’t mean he won’t succumb to the nerves. If he shows poise tonight, that’s a great sign. If not, expect lots of minutes for Ellis.

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If David Lee elevates his game: He will be called on to do a lot for the Warriors. Rebounding is not just enough anymore.

On offense, see how he does in the post. Coach Mark Jackson has touted Lee’d growth in the post. With Andris Biedrins and Kwame Brown being the only true centers, Golden State, as usual, needs low-post offense to come from elsewhere. Lee is the first option.

On defense, his job is to slow down some of the game’s best players. He won’t stop them, but he needs to be a presence. Toward the end of last season, he did a good job making life difficult for opposing bigs. But it has to become a way of life and not a good stretch.

LEE: “I’ve got a good first three games here. I’ve got Blake Griffin, Carlos Boozer and Amar’e Stoudemire. That’s something I’ve wanted to improve and I thought I improved it last season toward the end of the year. And that’s something I want to continue to improve. For us to win the game (tonight), I need to play well offensively. But most important, I need to do a good job on Griffin or (DeAndre) Jordan, or whoever.”

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Mark Jackson’s game management: Does he call timeouts during opponent’s runs or let them play through it? Does he let key players play with fouls? Will he adjust the game plan or demand better execution? Does his foul when up 3 in the final seconds?

Tonight may be one of several close games. How he does things will matter.

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Dorell Wright’s defensive presence: He hasn’t been on his game offensively, but it was just preseason. More important his activity on defense. With Dominic McGuire waiting in the wings, and even Chris Wright, the Warriors need Dorell to be physical, to rebound, to be a factor on the defensive end

Marcus Thompson

  • MontaFans

    left an idiot coach and replaced with a even worse one…. warriors should have won the game or at least lose a close game instead….

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  • Dave

    Lee has been elevating his game. Will Curry and Monta do the same?

  • Dave

    To q uote another site, Beans and Lee were ballin…everyone else stunk out the joint.

  • Dave

    Warriors will win tonight against the Bulls.

  • MLBSF

    What an absolutely disgraceful performance. I was promised things have changed, and I can see nothing has.

    You can’t just keep the same team as last year, and expect them to be any better than the 10 games below .500 they finished at.

    I don’t understand what the new ownership has promised me yet. They talk a good game. Much better than the bad game its players are going to be delivering night in and night out.

    Tonight’s game against Chicago looks like the makings of another crushing.

  • robert rowell

    MT2 – you tweeted during last nights game that Goose would be an allstar. i didn’t detect sarcasm, so tell me, what kind of Xmas trees were you smoking?

  • Hawk707

    MT2 why don’t you blog more? The Raider & Niner blogs have new articles everyday……..