So far the Golden State Warriors have meant business coming out of the All-Star break, taking down the Sacramento Kings and getting a huge signature overtime win against the Houston Rockets. Next up, the Warriors will be hosting the Brooklyn Nets, who are inching closer and closer to a .500 record.
Frontcourt: With Brook Lopez out Jason Kidd has opted to start small, going with Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce as his two big men up front. Garnett’s minutes are way down this year and he is not having a particularly good season. He has scored in double-digits just 11 times and his season-high is 16 points, which pretty much sums up where KG is at the moment. Pierce is in a similar situation, although he is still capable of heating up and knocking down shots, as he has done in several games this year. Andray Blatche is generally a pretty solid contributor off the bench and when his offense is clicking Kidd doesn’t hesitate to give him some extended run in games.
Backcourt: The Nets start three guards in Shaun Livingston, Joe Johnson and Deron Williams. As many fans around the NBA are probably aware, Williams has had an extensive injury list this season, but he has been finding his groove lately and has failed to score in double-digits just once in February. Williams’ minutes are a bit up-and-down and he is struggling with his shot, but that generally doesn’t prevent him from shooting. Johnson’s performances have also been a little sporadic, although he did have a pretty good scoring run in January which pushed him into the All-Star game. He dropped 27 points on the Utah Jazz in Brooklyn’s first game out of the All-Star break, shooting 10-16.
Keys to Warriors Victory:
We all know how Mark Jackson loves matchups. Against the Rockets, Jackson played very small at times, forcing Omer Asik to guard Draymond Green. The Nets themselves really lack size and start very small, so Jackson will likely look to match that by giving Harrison Barnes and Green some more minutes off the bench, and the two players will need to perform.
Be patient on offense
Against the Rockets, the Warriors were sometimes their own worst enemy on the offensive end, taking ill-advised shots in transition when Houston had all five players back (looking at you Klay Thompson). Running down the clock a little bit in favor of running some actual sets would help Golden State in a game like this.
Brooklyn Nets (25-27) vs. Golden State Warriors (33-22)
7:30 PM PST, February 22, 2014
ORACLE Arena, Oakland, CA
TV: CSN Bay Area
Radio: KNBR 680 AM
Nets Projected Starting Line-up
PG: Deron Williams
SG: Shaun Livingston
SF: Joe Johnson
PF: Paul Pierce
C: Kevin Garnett
Key Reserves: F Andray Blatche G Marcus Thornton F Andrei Kirilenko