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What to Watch For – Game 20

Warriors guard Monta Ellis has been struggling mightily lately.

His last three games, he’s totaled 29 points on 12-for-43 shooting (27.9 percent). His shooting percentage is down to 40.8 percent for the season, which is simply not him. He entered the season with a career percentage of 46.9 percent. During this three-game stretch, he’s totaled six free throw attempts and is 0-for-9 from 3-point range.

Is this the game Ellis breaks out of his slump? He will be facing the team (Utah) that he missed the game-winner against. And Jazz defensive specialist Raja Bell is hobbled if playing at all. And  the Warriors haven’t won consecutive games since beating Detroit and Cleveland back on Jan. 14 and 15.

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Here are some other things to watch for tonight.

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Andris Biedrins’ involvement: Last game, with an imposing big man in DeMarcus Cousins on the other side, Mark Jackson relied heavily on Biedrins. He played a season-high 26 minutes. Perhaps knowing he would need Biedrins, Jackson fed his starting center early. Biedrins took four shots in the fourth quarter. The involvement seemed to set the tone for an active game from Biedrins.

JACKSON: “We made a conscious effort starting the game off by getting him the basketball and he did a great job. He was aggressive, he got fouled, he scored and he was all over the floor defensively; putting his body on guys and altering shots. He did a great job tonight and it started right away.”

Will Jackson employ the same strategy tonight? Certainly, the Jazz has an imposing big man in their lineup in Al Jefferson. They will indeed need Biedrins to be at his best. Makes sense to, again, get Biedrins involved on the offensive end, right?

Is the onus completely on Jackson though? At what point does it become the responsibility of Ellis, Stephen Curry and even David Lee to get Biedrins some easy baskets? No doubt, a couple scores boosts his confidence?

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The energy of the Warriors: Golden State is facing a team coming off a close loss last night, while the Warriors’ rested. That lead to an advantage in the energy department.

As pointed out by my man TK, it is amazing the Warriors haven’t taken advantage of these situations more often. That is definitely going to come back to hurt. Golden State has played nearly half its games against teams playing on no rest, while better than 80 percent of the time, the Warriors were playing after a day off.

The easy answer for energy is the Dubstitutes. If I’m Jackson, I’d have a quick trigger on pulling the starters. The second unit shows consistently they come to play.

STEPHEN CURRY: “There are no selfish guys on this team. We understand coach made the decision to stick with those guys. They played well with a lot of energy towards the end of the third quarter and saw matchups they liked. They took the game home for us. They do the same for us when we’re finishing games out so we had to do the same for them.”


 

Marcus Thompson

  • Niners in 2012

    Screw Biedrins. Force feeding Biedrins ruins the offense. Curry was way too passive last game(although 8 asts/0 to was nice), we need Steph to be aggressive shooting the ball.