Warriors eye NBA history against Williams-less Nets
The Warriors swept the Nets last year for the third time in the past five seasons and have won eight of the past 11 games against Brooklyn/New Jersey. (AP)
Programming note: Warriors-Nets coverage tips off at 4 p.m. with Warriors Pregame Live on Comcast SportsNet Bay Area (territorial restrictions apply)
It's about numbers now for the Warriors, specifically one number: 7.
Having won all six games on this road trip, the Warriors enter Barclays Center to play the Brooklyn Nets on Wednesday hoping to complete the trip with an undefeated 7-0 trip, which would be first in the annals of the NBA.
"We're going to chase history,'' Warriors coach Mark Jackson said. "We're playing against a well-coached, good basketball team that's playing much better. It's a great opportunity for us.
"Who would have thought we'd have an opportunity to do something that hasn't been done in the history of this league?''
The reasonable answer: Nobody. But that was before the Eastern Conference turned into Indiana, Miami and a pile of palaver. And that was before the Warriors regained relatively full health and found their rhythm.
The Warriors have won 10 in a row, with the last six coming on the journey east. They've beaten defending champion Miami, and they've put away five other teams ranging from the mediocre (Atlanta, Washington) to the abysmal (Cleveland, Orlando, Milwaukee). The Nets (13-21) and first-year coach Jason Kidd, with their own three-game win streak, are trying to move from abysmal to mediocre.
Misguidedly assembled by owner Mikhail Prokhorov and general manager Billy King to make one more push for Conference supremacy, Brooklyn has been the league's biggest disappointment. Their collection of proud stars is aged (Kevin Garnett), aging (Paul Pierce) or injured (Deron Williams).
[PHOTO GALLERY: Warriors go streaking]
Garnett is the least efficient scorer on the team, shooting his age (37 percent), averaging 22 minutes per game. Pierce, 36, is losing fourth-quarter minutes to Mirza Teletovic. Williams, only 29, is out again with tender ankles.
Not that the Warriors will or should take pity on the poor; they have spent many years in that condition and now they're on a mission to live the good life. Victory No. 7 on this trip would make this quite the prosperous road trip.
"Our team is playing more consistent basketball,'' said David Lee, who is playing as well as any power forward in the league. "Everybody is stepping up when they need to step up.''
MATCHUPS TO WATCH: Klay Thompson/Andre Iguodala vs. Joe Johnson/Pierce: Johnson has been Brooklyn's best player, particularly in the clutch, where he has earned the nickname "Joe Jesus.'' He has indeed saved the Nets. It's up to Thompson or Iguodala to ensure Johnson does not put on the type of one-man show the Nets might need to stay with the Warriors.
Lee vs. Garnett: There was a time when Lee had not chance against KG. That time has passed. Unless Garnett can rediscover some youth, he has no chance of keeping up with Lee.
INJURY UPDATE: For the Warriors, centers Jermaine O'Neal (right wrist surgery) and Festus Ezeli (right knee surgery) are out.
For the Nets, guard Deron Williams (ankles) is out indefinitely and center Brook Lopez (foot) is out for the season.
SERIES HISTORY: The Warriors in 2012-13 swept the Nets for the third time in the past five seasons and have won eight of the past 11 games against Brooklyn/New Jersey.