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What to Watch For – Game #2

Sunday’s season-opening loss to the Clippers left lots of questions heading into Game 2 tonight.

Needless to say, this one is vital. Golden State needs to take advantage of having a four-game home stand to start the season. Going 1-3, or even 2-2, heading into a three-game road trip (Suns, Spurs, Lakers) would be really bad.

Here are a few things to look out for tonight.

Stephen Curry’s response: Both Mark Jackson and Stephen Curry dismissed the idea that his sprained ankle was the cause of his poor performance. (I think it’s safe to throw CSNBA’s Matt Steinmetz
in that category.

I, on the other hand, thought it was pretty obvious his ankle was a factor. If for nothing else, you could see him thinking about it. 

When he shot, he landed noticeably on his left foot, which for such a technical shooter shows a slight alteration of his balance. 

He didn’t show any signs of pain when he cut (especially when he suddenly split the defenders coming off a pick-and-roll).  But he ran noticeably wide on curls, instead of tight and sharp, and he only showed any real bursts when going right (going left he has to push off that right ankle).

I think he could have and should have played better despite his ankle. (Like Jackson said, it didn’t cause those turnovers. That was just a product of poor decision making while forcing the issue.) But with his limitation, he needs to play smarter. It will be interesting to see how his game adapts, if Jackson switches up some things to help (such as get him in some catch-and-shoot situations) and how Curry responds if things don’t go early.

One thing is almost certain, Monta Ellis will be defending Derrick Rose. 

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The Return of Dorell Wright’s Shot: He did have nine rebounds and helped hold Caron Butler to 11 points. But offensively, which is where he earned his money last year, Wright has been a tad listless (including the two preseason games).

Last night, Wright was 1-for-6 (all 3s) shooting with 8 points (him getting to the line five times, and making all five, was good thing). He missed a couple momentum 3-pointers.

He is 4-for-16 from 3-point range, including the two preseason games.

Difference between now and last year: Golden State has other options. Rookie Klay Thompson, recently acquired Brandon Rush, and Dominic McGuire are all options at SF, which explains why Wright played just 30 minutes.

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CJ Watson The Return of C.J. Watson: Why? Because he is one my all-time favorites.

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Where the Warriors turn for offense: Chris Paul highlighted a continued glaring weakness for the Warriors. They have no where to turn for consistent, high-percentage offense late in games. 

Golden State players and coaches always talk about how “we know we score.” Granted, they have some offensive talents. But Sunday, just like in years past, they showed that when the game is on the line, when the opposing defense is buckling down and the pressure is on, Golden State is left relying on outside shooting.

With no qualified low-post option, with no one really savvy at drawing fouls, and a limited number of creators, the Warriors are left with low-percentage options.

Judging by last night, I’m not even sure they have a money play to go to when they need a basket. That play you go to when you really, really need a basket.

That’s on Mark Jackson to figure. Facing one of the better defensive teams in the league, that task won’t be easier tonight.

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How the rotation plays out: In a bit of a surprise, recently acquired swingman Brandon Rush logged the most minutes of any reserve. In fact, his 28:33 of playing time was almost 10 minutes more than rookie Klay Thompson.

Ekpe Udoh, who Jackson said would play a lot of minutes, logged just under 13 minutes. The rest played just spot minutes, which means Jackson’s regular rotation is currently 8 deep. I am assuming he will try more match-ups. But if Sunday was an example of who he trusts, I expect those eight to be the guys on the road, where the rotation is usually tighter.

Another surprising  development: Ish Smith moved ahead of Charles Jenkins on the depth chart.

Jackson had praised the fellow New Yorker throughout camp. But Sunday, Jenkins didn’t play. Instead, Smith was the third back-up (Monta Ellis was the back-up PG). 

Certainly, Smith – who played one preseason game after being claimed off waivers by the Warriors – showed why he got the nod. Smith had seven points in five minutes. His one miss was a blocked layup that perhaps only an elite shot-blocker such as DeAndre Jordan would have gotten. Smith can certainly get to the rim.

Marcus Thompson

  • Sleepy Freud

    Warriors will definitly win tonight lead by the leagues best SG’s. Mr. Monta Ellis!!

  • Dave

    Watch for Lee to outplay Boozer like he did Blake prior to fouling out.

  • Grey Warden

    Regardless of what Mark Jackson says, Warriors still need to work on their offense. Overlooking something they’re good at will only make them worst as time goes on.

  • Niners in 2012

    BRush should get all the backup swing minutes. Klay is not ready for primetime. Curry should not have played last night. Kwame was horrible, what a terrible signing.

  • Ron

    Please leave Ellis at one position or the other. He could be a good PG but has to drop the shoot first mentality and make the other guys better, cause he can beat his defender off the dribble. Or just keep him as the SG. We have three other PG’s on the roster.

  • Gomer Riley GM

    Same bad roster with players not as good as almost all opponents.

    Half a$$ attempt to get better talent. No Risk, No Gain, No Playoffs.

    I am sick of this same old story year after year.

    Top Players won’t come to the Warriors because they don’t win. They can’t win without Top Players. So How does this ever change?

  • Dave

    Dorell Right is shooting threes from too far back. I know he has worked on shooting from way outside the 3 point line this off-season, but it is not working. Go back to the regular 3-pointers or just pass the ball.

  • J

    What we need right now is a definitive leader (point guard?). Lots of people talking about how the offense looked out of sync last night, and that probably has a lot to do with Steph not playing very well yesterday.

  • Spencer

    Marcus….

    Any chance Udoh ever becomes a decent rebounder? When Lee and Biedrins were.off the floor the rebounding was non-existent.

    Also, any chance we finish bottom 7 and can add another good player? Good lord that Marcus Williams trade was horrible.

  • Spencer

    I miss CJ too.

  • Dave

    Warriors are killing the Bulls!!!

  • Dave

    Warriors up 19.

  • Spencer

    Much better showing. Monta and Steph played great.