Thunder-Warriors: What to watch for

Thunder-Warriors: What to watch for
February 7, 2012, 5:52 pm
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For the second time in 11 days, the Warriors take on theOklahoma City Thunder at Oracle Arena. The last time these teams played onJan. 27 the Warriors hung in for a while but OKC turned it on in the fourthquarter for the victory.The Warriors are coming off a disappointing overtime loss toSacramento on Saturday, while the Thunder turned back the Trail Blazers inPortland on Monday night.Here are some things to watch for:
Contain the stars: After the Thunders120-109 win over the Warriors on the 27th, Golden State coach MarkJackson expressed disappointment in his teams effort level, particularly thebig men.But it was Oklahoma Citys two stars Kevin Durant andRussell Westbrook who were most responsible for that victory. Durant had 37points and Westbrook 28 points and 11 assists. Each of those players shot 50percent from the floor, too, which meant they were pretty darnefficient.If the Warriors hope to knock off the Thunder on Tuesday,theyre going to need to turn both Durant and Westbrook into volumeshooters.Limit turnovers: The bottom line is thebackcourt of Stephen Curry and Monta Ellis have to be a lot better when itcomes to taking care of the ball. That backcourt tandem averages 13 assists andseven turnovers per game between them, and thats not good enough.In the last meeting between the teams, Curry and Ellis combined for 12 turnovers and seven assists.Rebound better: In the teams lastmeeting, OKC outrebounded the Warriors 53-34.In that game, Warriors center Andris Biedrins played just 10minutes and grabbed one rebound. Still, Biedrins is the best Warrior when itcomes to rebounds per minute and it only makes sense for Biedrins to play moreagainst Oklahoma City on Tuesday if rebounding is an issue again.Response from starters: Jackson has beencritical of his starters in recent days and in two of the last three games heallowed the substitutes to finish up games.STEINMETZ: Warriors' second unit, Mark Jackson both defensive
Jackson is clearly looking for more energy from that firstunit, and with the Thunder having played Monday night in Portland it shouldntbe hard to tell if the starters deliver for him.