Warriors-Thunder: What to watch for

November 18, 2012, 5:19 pm
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The Warriors will try to build on a two-game winning streakwhen they play the defending Western Conference champion Oklahoma City Thunderon Sunday at Chesapeake Energy Arena.The Warriors (5-4) are coming off a 106-98 victory over theTimberwolves in Minnesota on Friday. This is the middle game of a three-gameroad trip for the Warriors. The trip concludes Monday in Dallas.The Thunder (7-3) have won six of their past seven games,including a blowout win over New Orleans on Friday. The Thunder has beaten theWarriors six consecutive games in Oklahoma City.Here are some things to watch for during Sundays gamebetween the Warriors and Thunder:Warriors body language: This is a gamethat few expect the Warriors to win. Theyre going into an Arena where theyhavent won in a while and theyre playing one of the leagues eliteteams.Still, if the Warriors expect to have realistic hopes ofmaking the postseason this season, theyre going to have to win some games thatare unexpected.This would qualify. Lets see if the Warriors have the lookof a team that expects to win.Durant vs. the rookie: Warriors rookieHarrison Barnes has been a big-time bright spot in the teams two recent games.Barnes has shown a knack for scoring and his athleticism sticks out on theWarriors.If you look at the Warriors roster minus Brandon Rush it seems obvious that Barnes is Golden States best option when it comes todefending Kevin Durant.It wont be easy for Barnes, but the reality is that hes abetter option defending Durant than Richard Jefferson, Draymond Green or KlayThompson.Curry vs. Westbrook: Its interesting despite being one of the most dynamic and explosive point guards in the league,Russell Westbrook is still relentlessly criticized for hisdecision-making.And yet Westbrook enters Sundays game averaging 8.5 assistsper game and has an assist-to-turnover ratio of nearly 3-to-1. Curry, on theother hand, has been shaky with the ball this season. He has just 49 assiststhis year and 30 turnovers, a ratio of less than 2-to-1.Since Westbrook has a size and athleticism over Curry, itsimportant that the Warriors point guard plays a steady game and can keepWestbrook honest on defense by making some perimeter shots.

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