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What to Watch For (Game 7): The Warriors Need This One … Will They Play Like It?

Both the Warriors and Nuggets come into tonight’s game at 3-3. But somehow, you get the sense these teams are far apart.

For starters, the Nuggets are coming off a blowout home win over Utah, and the Warriors are coming off getting blown out by the host Los Angeles Lakers.

Denver started slow, but have won three straight and are starting to look like the formidable team many expected. Golden State started well but have lost 2 of their last 3 and are starting to look like the mediocre team many expected.

Of course, the Warriors can change that perception with a win tonight. Watch for the sense of urgency Golden State plays with. Coming off a humbling loss, and playing without starting center Andrew Bogut, the Warriors could respond with another listless performance, demoralized by the cards they’ve been dealt. Or, they could go the other way, get more focused, more hungry, knowing any win they get during this rough patch of season will pay dividends down the road.

Here are some other things to watch for tonight …

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Watch to see if Jackson goes big, giving most of the minutes at center to Festus Ezeli and Andris Biedrins, or continues with the small ball and plays Landry at center.

The Carl Landry-David Lee tandem, which has been one of the bright spots this year, didn’t work against the Lakers’ size. Well, Denver also has some size to contend with.

Kosta Koufos, the starting center, is 7-feet, 265. Kenneth Faried, the starting power forward, plays bigger than his 6-8, 228-pound frame suggests. The Nuggets have been bringing 7-foot gazelle Javale McGee off the bench.

Denver leads the league in rebounds per game (50) and is second in rebound differential (+8.7, second only to the Lakers’ 9.5).

This would seem to be an ideal game to give Ezeli and Biedrins the bulk of the minutes. None of the Nuggets’ big men are high scorers. Jackson doesn’t need to try and offset their offensive production by scoring on the other end.

Plus,Denver’s perimeter players are always in attack mode. Ty Lawson and Andre Iguodala, the starting backcourt, aren’t good shooters. They live on penetration. The Warriors need a shot-blocking presence.

Will Jackson get sucked in by the offensive skills of the Landry-Lee combo? Or will he stick with a traditional lineup?

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Watch the Stephen Curry-Ty Lawson match-up. The last time they played against each other in the regular season, Curry put up a ridiculous stat line: 36 points on 13 of 17 shooting with 7 assists, 7 rebounds and 1 turnover in 36 minutes.

In eight career games against the Nuggets, Curry is averaging 21.8 points on 54.5 percent shooting with 6.3 assists and 2.4 turnovers.

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Watch for Joe Lacob drooling on the sidelines. The Warriors wanted Andre Iguodala to fill their small forward hole. They couldn’t work out a trade with Philadelphia, who wound up getting Andrew Bynum in return. But the first five games has proven the Warriors still need a beast a small forward (it’s looking as if rookie Harrison Barnes is going to need some time).

Iguodala is averaging 14.5 points and 6.5 rebounds in 36 minutes per game. With Danilo Gallinari starting at small forward, Iguodala will likely defend Klay Thompson.

Marcus Thompson

  • Zak

    I was confounded by the lack of Ezeli in the 2nd Q when the Ws went flat on O and Landry was not making shots. Had they at least kept up the D that was keeping LA shooting under 40% they would’ve given themselves a chance.

    If Curry is having trouble going back to back with good games it’s no comfort to think what Biedrins might do coming off his “most quality” game of the year. Somebody said Tyler, maybe?

  • al oha

    THAT was a Biedrins “most quality” game of the year?

    How did the bar get set so low for a $9 million dollar per year player?

    I’ve seen 10 year olds shoot better free throws when transitioning from 8 foot baskets to 10 foot baskets.

    Pathetic.

    For a guy who looks like Rick Barry’s illegitimate son, why won’t the Warriors DEMAND he learn how to shoot free throws, underhand if he can’t shoot them overhand.

  • Niners in 2012

    I don’t understand the RJefferson at SG lineups. I know Rush is out but why not give Jack/Jenkins a chance playing together? Jenkins may not be a pure PG but he can score better than RJ. BTW, RJ getting blocked by Jamison was probably the embarrassing moment of the year so far.

  • Stan

    The WARRIORS need to have Beidrens fly on a separate plane..the StratoPinto. One of those “classic” airplanes.

  • Stan

    ..uh,by himself as the only passenger. Being his salary makes him so important.

  • Stan

    The pilot has a chute. Andres? his always smiling countenance has “What, me worry?” written all over it. No need for a bulky chute..

  • Gunner

    Can we fire Mark Jackson already? He doesn’t have any plan or strategies, and have his players playing by instinct. His only play is to have Curry or Landry go one on one.

    He keeps playing Lee with Landry who get out rebounded like crazy. His team’s performance is really below the sum of its parts.

    Please fire him and hire someone like Jerry Sloan.

  • 2holehitting

    Mark Jackson did not may Clay Thompson clank his 2 free throws that would have sealed the game. Mark Jackson did not make Thompson seconds later not foul and give a clear lane for a tying dunk.

    You had a brain dead guard not doing his job and who has not looked good yet this year.

    You also have a team that is not that good. No center, your 6th man is out for the year, and with them you were only predicted to win 37 games. Not world beaters.

  • Grey Warden

    Jackson needs to tell Klay to stop chucking up so many 3′s. Ridiculous. 15 3pt attempts. Did Thompson and Gallinari have a contest to see who could shoot the most 3′s? Drive to the basket once in awhile.

    Heck, the Warriors’ entire guards and small forwards lineup needs to stop settling for jumpers.

    Either way, same old Warriors. Always finding ways to lose a game.

  • Bane

    Anyone have an explanation for why Klay was shooting those free throws during the first overtime instead of Curry? Is there any excuse for that?

    I wonder if Jerry Sloan would be interested in coaching the Warriors…