PROGRAMMING NOTE: Warriors Pregame Live starts tonight at 7, followed by Warriors-Utah at 7:30, and Warriors Postgame Live at 10 -- all on Comcast SportsNet Bay Area.
The Warriors finish up a six-game homestand on Thursdaynight against the Utah Jazz. Regardless of what happens, it will end up as adisappointing stretch.If the Warriors beat the Jazz, theyll end up 3-3, whichsimply isnt good enough to make any headway in the rugged Western Conference.Still they will have ended things with consecutive wins and a little bit ofmomentum.But a loss would give the Warriors a losing homestand and a7-13 record overall. And with 10 of their next 15 games on the road, thingsdont get any easier.Here are some things to watch for:Backcourt advantage: When the Jazz beatthe Warriors 88-87 on Jan. 7 at Oracle Arena, Golden State was missing pointguard Stephen Curry, out with an ankle injury.It will be Utah that is short-handed on Thursday. Backuppoint guard Earl Watson is doubtful for the game after spraining his ankle onWednesday. And Raja Bell, who did a nice job on Monta Ellis in the first game,has missed the past two games with a strained abductor and is listed asquestionable.Even starting point guard Devin Harris isnt 100 percent,dealing with a sore hamstring.On the interior: Much of the Warriorsfortunes are tied into whether they can get anything positive out of centerAndris Biedrins and power forward Ekpe Udoh.Warriors coach Mark Jackson has been trying to coax someproductiveness out of each player, and it appears as if slowly but surely itmight be working. The bottom line is that the Warriors are at a disadvantagewhen Jackson elects to play David Lee at the center position. Against a team such as Utah, with AlJefferson and Paul Millsap, that would seem to be a recipe for disaster.Depth advantage: The Warriors bench hasbeen the best part of the team this season. In a win against the Kings onTuesday, Jackson played his subs for almost the entire fourth period, and theyrewarded him with a victory.With the Jazz having played Wednesday night in Utah, theWarriors bench should have another opportunity to make an impact. Brandon Rush,who had 15 of his season-high 20 points in the fourth quarter against theKings, is leading the NBA in 3-point field goal percentage at .593.Limit turnovers: Bottom line is that whenthe Warriors treat the ball badly, they usually lose. When they take care ofit, theyve got a chance. Take this homestand for example The Warriors had 18 turnovers against Indiana and lost; theyhad 24 turnovers against Memphis and lost; they had 11 turnovers againstPortland and won; they had 20 turnovers against Oklahoma City and lost; theyhad eight turnovers against Sacramento and won.