Warriors-Suns: What to watch for

Warriors-Suns: What to watch for
February 22, 2012, 4:11 pm
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Programming note: Warriors-Suns coverage from Phoenix begins at 5:30 p.m. with Warriors Pregame Live and the tip-off following at 6 p.m., only on Comcast SportsNet Bay Area!
The Warriors play the Phoenix Suns on Wednesday in theirfinal game before All-Star weekend. The game against the Suns is the first ofsix consecutive road games for Golden State.
The Warriors have not been very successful at AmericanAirways Center, having dropped 13 in a row there. The last time the Warriorswon in Phoenix was back on March 18, 2005.The Warriors and Suns have split two games this season. TheSuns defeated the Warriors 102-91 on Jan. 2, and the Warriors defeated Phoenix102-96 just nine days ago at Oracle Arena.Here are some things to watch for during Wednesdays gamebetween the Warriors and Suns:Always about Nash: It usually starts andends with point guard Steve Nash, Phoenixs two-time MVP. Nash is on a big-timeroll right now, having dished out 58 assists in the past four games, and sohes as important a piece to the Suns offense as hes ever been.RELATED: Steve Nash game logs
One school of thought is to try to make Nash a scorer,therefore limiting his ability to get teammates involved. But over the years,Nash always has done a great job of taking what the defense gives him, and ifthe Warriors allow him open shots, hell willingly take them.Defend the 3: The Suns are at their mostdangerous when they spread the floor and allow Nash to penetrate and findshooters. The last time the Warriors and Suns played, Golden State did a nicejob of contesting 3-point shots.Phoenix went just 5-for-25 from 3-point range on Feb. 13 atOracle Arena, with Channing Frye shooting 1-for-8 from beyond the arc. Frye isan important player for the Suns because when he is knocking down 3-pointers,it allows center Marcin Gortat more room to operate in the middle.Encore for Udoh?: Ekpe Udoh is coming offhis first start of the year, and he had a big game for the Warriors. Withstarting center Andris Biedrins out with flu-like symptoms, Udoh scored 19points and grabbed eight rebounds in 38 minutes against the Clippers.REWIND: Warriors take down Paul, Clippers behind Monta's 32
Warriors coach Mark Jackson hinted strongly that Udoh could remainin the starting lineup even after Biedrins returns. But that turns out not to be the case, as Jackson announced Wednesday morning Biedrins would once again start. When Udoh enters on Wednesday, hell have to match up with thebigger, stronger Marcin Gortat, who had a big game the last time these teamsplayed. Gortat had 15 points and 12 rebounds in Phoenixs loss to the Warriorson Feb. 13.Bench output: Despite Udoh still coming off the bench, it seems obvious that he'll log more minutes with the starters moving forward. Itwill be interesting to see how that affects the second unit. While Udoh wasnta big scorer for the second team, he was an integral piece, providing defensein the middle.The Warriors bench combined for 38 points in the teams winover Phoenix nine days ago.