Warriors-Jazz: What to watch for

Warriors-Jazz: What to watch for
April 6, 2012, 3:41 pm
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The Warriors conclude their four-game road trip on Fridaynight against the Jazz in Utah. The Warriors are coming off a 97-94 win overMinnesota on Wednesday, a game that snapped a season-high six-game losingstreak.The Jazz are 10th in the Western Conferencestandings a game-and-a-half behind eighth-place Houston. Utah is a half-gamebehind Phoenix, which is in ninth-place.Interestingly, this is a game with draft pick implications.If the Warriors get the No. 8 pick or worse, it will go to the Jazz. If theWarriors get picks No. 1 through No. 7, they keep pick.In other words, a Jazz victory doesnt do them any favors interms of ultimately getting the Warriors pick. Nevertheless, Jazz GM KevinOConnor said he wants his team to make the playoffs. Period.Here are some things to watch for when the Warriors play atUtah on Friday:Hang in early: This is a game withsignificance for the Jazz. Utah has lost five of its past seven games, whichnow has them on the outside looking in when it comes to the Western Conferenceplayoff picture. After the Warriors, the Jazz has a home-and-home seriesagainst the Spurs.So, this is one you figure Utah knows it needs. The Warriorsneed to match Utahs energy early and see if they can find a way to keep itclose heading into the fourth quarter.Jenkins emergence: Charles Jenkins hitthe game-winning shot on Wednesday against the Timberwolves, and hes beginningto pitch in on a consistent basis.Jazz point guard Devin Harris has a sprained left ankle, andhis status for the game is uncertain. If Harris cant go, expect Earl Watson toget the start and for Jamaal Tinsley to get minutes.But no matter who plays the point for Utah, its a matchupthat Jenkins has a chance to win.Thompsons impact: Warriors rookieshooting guard Klay Thompson has hit a little bit of a wall. Its not that hesplayed poorly, but he hasnt been much of a factor.Hes shooting just 36-for-88 over the past six games (40.9percent), including just 9-of-31 (29 percent) from 3-point range. Worse,however, is the fact that Thompson has taken just five free throws in the pastsix games, which total 168 minutes: more than three 48-minute games.During that span of games, Thompson has particularlydefended well, rebounded well or assisted well, either.

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