The Golden State Warriors bounced back after a loss to the Chicago Bulls with a thrashing of the New York Knicks. Stephen Curry registered a casual triple-double in 30 minutes of playing time and #FullSquad was back in action. On Sunday the Warriors will take on one of the better Eastern Conference teams in the Toronto Raptors, who are coming off a triple-overtime thriller against the Washington Wizards.
Frontcourt: With Rudy Gay gone, Terrence Ross is now getting the starting nod at the small forward position, and he has done an admirable job capitalizing on his opportunity. He is shooting over 40% from beyond the arc and is a threat in transition as well as spotting up. Jonas Valanciunas is still a bit raw, but when he has his moments and is staying out of foul trouble, he shows his potential on both ends of the floor. Amir Johnson is a tenacious power forward, but his offense comes and goes as it is mostly limited to pick-and-rolls.
Backcourt: Kyle Lowry and DeMar DeRozan have both been the driving force behind the post-Gay surge the Raptors have been on. Lowry was one of the biggest All-Star snubs, playing a relentless style of basketball, and DeRozan has been a scoring machine off the dribble and coming off screens in the mid-range area.
Keys to Warriors Victory:
Keep the offense flowing
Over the last two games, we saw the best and the worst of the Golden State’s offense, although it told us more about the opposition than the Warriors themselves. Against the Bulls the team looked lost, hardly stringing together any kind of consistent looks, forcing bad shots and not moving the ball well. Against the Knicks, who are significantly worse defensively, the Warriors were hitting shots, finding the open man with an extra pass and getting out in transition. David Lee is back in the starting lineup, which should help when it comes to consistency, but the Warriors need to continue playing as a team.
Start out strong
Coming out of the gates slow, especially on the road, is like shooting yourself in the foot. Last time against the Raptors, the Warriors surrendered a 36-19 lead to Toronto in the first quarter. A sensational 42-15 final period saved the Warriors, but the team will have to be locked in before the tip at the Air Canada Centre.
Toronto Raptors (32-26) vs. Golden State Warriors (36-23)
1:00PM PST, March 2, 2014
Air Canada Centre, Toronto, ON
TV: CSN Bay Area
Radio: KNBR 680 AM
Raptors Projected Starting Line-up
PG: Kyle Lowry
SG: DeMar DeRozan
SF: Terrence Ross
PF: Amir Johnson
C: Jonas Valanciunas
Key Reserves: G Greivis Vasquez. F Patrick Patterson