What to Watch For – Game 9

According to ESPN’s Briand Windhorst, Miami guard Dwyane Wade is going to try to play tonight against the Warriors.
After missing three games and Monday’s practice, Wade took part in Tuesday’s shootaround. Wade said after shootaround he would get some treatment on his aching left foot and see how it feels before tip-off. He said he was hoping to come back tonight.

WADE: “If it’s not bad they say they’ll let me play.”

Obviously, watch for how Wade looks. If he’s limited, he might work to the Warriors’ advantage – settling for jumpers and slacking on defense. If he’s feeling good, uh oh.
Here are some other things to watch for tonight.


Monta Ellis’ minutes: If Golden State has any chance of winning this game, it’s going to require a huge game from Monta on both ends. He’ll likely have to defend Wade. Certainly, he will have to carry the offense. Can Jackson afford to take Ellis out tonight? If he does, you’ll know he is serious about it being a process. If he doesn’t, it may suggest he is desperate to end this five-game skid.

Ellis is averaging 40.3 minutes his last four games.


Nate Robinson at point: He’s been getting lots of minutes as coach Mark Jackson has been using Robinson as the back-up to rookie Charles Jenkins. But Jenkins, like center Andris Biedrins, is mostly serving as a fill-in for the first five minutes of the first and third quarters. Will that remain the case or will Jenkins get extended minutes? Will Ish Smith ever get back off the bench?
If Robinson is the back-up point, that gives you some insight as to how the second unit will run when point guard Stephen Curry comes back. Robinson isn’t a typical point guard in that he’s best when he’s attacking and scoring, though he can pass. He may just become Monta lite with the second unit.

By the way,  Curry’s trip to Charlotte produced good news. He doesn’t have to have surgery again. He won’t have an extended rehabilitation period.

Curry was examined by team orthopaedist Tim McAdams on Saturday. Monday, he met with OrthoCarolina foot and ankle specialist Bob Anderson, who performed surgery on Curry’s ankle in May. After the examinations, Golden State released a statement that Curry’s ankle has sustained no structural damage. He is officially listed as day-to-day, though he won’t be able to play until he passes a functionality test.

Curry won’t play tonight against Miami. Doubt he’ll play Thursday against Orlando. But I wouldn’t be surprised if he returns Saturday when the Warriors visit Charlotte.


Trade deadline set: Thanks to the lockout, the trade deadline has been pushed back to March 15, noon PST. That’s the Warriors’ deadline to make something happen.


 Who gets the minutes across from LeBron James: No doubt, Dorell Wright will get the start. But he sat the entire fourth quarter last game. That says one of two things: his defense isn’t good enough to make-up for his lack of offense or Jackson is starting to see the need for someone to score.

Golden State has a few options for defending James. The best is probably Dominic McGuire. But he lacks the offensive punch the Warriors need with Curry out. Rush may have the best combination of defense and offense at this point. He is long and athletic with some size, so he has a shot at being a presence against James. But he also has it going the best offensively.

The Warriors will need to score. They can hold Miami to eight points below it’s average, and the Heat would still get 100 points. Golden State has yet to score 100 this year – and that’s with Curry in the lineup. Jackson can’t afford to keep getting no offensive production from the small forward spot, not against one of the most explosive teams in the league. So Wright will likely need to get hot to stay on the floor. During this five-game losing streak, he’s averaged 3.4 points. He averaged 16.4 points last year.

His good friend gave him some advice to that end.

WADE: “He needs to shoot more. That’s the only advice I give him: shoot more. Not against us, but against other teams. I watched some games and he didn’t get enough shots. When you’re  a shooter and you’re getting one shot every 15 minutes or something like that, you’re out of rhythm. So I just told him to shoot the ball when he gets an opportunity.”

Marcus Thompson