Fast Forward: Warriors know they must play better at home

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Fast Forward: Warriors know they must play better at home
March 7, 2014, 12:30 pm
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If we're trying to be the team (we want) to be, we need to take care of our home. And it starts tonight against Atlanta.
David Lee

SUBARU KEYS TO THE GAME: 

1) Start fast. The Hawks are fading hard, so take them out early.

2) Own the glass. The Hawks are barely know what a rebound looks like, ranking 27th in the league.

3) Bring the noise. With the Warriors playing well on the road, expect a rollicking reception at Oracle.

OAKLAND – It’s a bold goal, but Warriors power forward David Lee is willing to make it on behalf of his team.

"We've proven on the road we've taken care of business,'' Lee said after Friday morning's shootaround at the team facility. "At home, we've only been an above-average team. And that's something . . . looking at our schedule, we shouldn't lose any more home games.

"That's no disrespect to the teams we're playing. But if we're trying to be the team (we want) to be, we need to take care of our home. And it starts tonight against Atlanta.''

[RELATED: After first 62 games, Warriors peaking at right time]

Lee is onto something. The Warriors (38-24) are coming off another winning road trip, confirming their potency away from Oracle Arena. But they have lost several home games against inferior teams, and are out to show they are beyond that.

The Hawks (26-33) are just such a team. They've been without their best player, Al Horford, for most of the season. All-Star forward Paul Millsap has missed the last five games. And they've lost 11 of their last 12 games.

Atlanta is, quite simply, a team the Warriors should clobber – particularly if they wish to assert dominance at Oracle, where they play nine of their next 11 games and 13 of the final 20.

They've also generated considerable momentum since the All-Star break, winning seven of nine games.

"For the most part, we've come out we've come out and played very, very well,'' center Jermaine O'Neal said. "Hopefully, out energy can be even higher in a building that gives you a lot of energy. So we're looking forward to that.''

Of the final 13 home games, only four – Phoenix, Dallas, San Antonio and Memphis – are against teams with winning records. All four happen to be in the Western Conference playoff picture.

"We’ll take each game like it's a playoff game,'' Lee said. "We take each game trying to be playing the best ball we can be playing, going into the playoffs. That's the key, to have our team peak at the right time. And it starts with our defense.''

Well, a 13-0 home record over the final six weeks would give the Warriors 51 wins. Nab a few road games, and they're in strong playoff position.

It's extremely ambitious, actually improbable. But when a team is playing well, as the Warriors are, all goals seem within reach.

MATCHUPS TO WATCH:
Klay Thompson vs. Kyle Korver. Thompson draws the most dangerous guard and Korver this season is the most accurate 3-point shooter (47.6 percent) in the NBA. His league-record streak of consecutive games with at least one 3-pointer ended at 127 on Wednesday at Portland.

Stephen Curry vs. Jeff Teague. Teague started well this season but has tailed off along with the rest of the team. He's Atlanta's primary ball-handler, their leading scorer and has 11 double-doubles this season.

INJURY REPORT:
For the Warriors, C Festus Ezeli (right knee surgery) has progressed well enough to begin non-contact drills but remains out indefinitely.

For the Hawks, F Paul Millsap (right knee bruise) is day to day. F Al Horford (right pectoral surgery), G John Jenkins (back surgery) and F/C Gustavo Ayon (right shoulder surgery) are out.

LAST 10:
Warriors 7-3, Hawks 1-9.

SERIES HISTORY:
The Warriors have never lost to the Hawks during Jackson's coaching tenure, posting a four-game win streak. The most recent win came on Jan. 3, when Andre Iguodala hit a 3-pointer at the buzzer for a 101-100 win in Atlanta. The Warriors are seeking their third sweep in the last four seasons over Atlanta.