Fast Forward: Warriors look to avoid dreaded 'M' word

Jackson: 'We understand where we are and we'll be just fine'

Fast Forward: Warriors look to avoid dreaded 'M' word
December 17, 2013, 9:00 am
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We have to fight our way out of it. I think we have what it takes. I know we have what it takes. I know we're a good team. But you can't call yourself a good team with that record.
Stephen Curry

UPDATE: (12:30 p.m.) -- Warriors forward Andre Iguodala was among the last players to walk off the court after the team's Tuesday morning shoot around, and he looked as if he's ready to rejoin the lineup after a 26-day absence.

That could happen, according to several Warriors sources, as early as Tuesday night's game against New Orleans at Oracle Arena.


Programming note: Coverage of Pelicans-Warriors begins at 7:00 on CSN Bay Area with Warriors Pregame Live.

The Warriors are on the brink of an unwanted distinction, a reality Warriors never imagined they'd have to face given their spring of splendid revival, their summer of glorious addition and their fantastic preseason press clippings.

Mediocrity beckons on Tuesday, and the Warriors can't seem to grasp brushing up against such harsh reality.

They'll have to if they can't squelch the Pelicans on Tuesday night at Oracle Arena. A loss to New Orleans (11-11) would put the Warriors at 13-13, their first dance with absolute mediocrity – precisely .500 – since Nov. 18, 2012, when they were 5-5 through the first 10 games.

Those Warriors had no experience with winning, no knowledge of success. That came in the ensuing months, and now it's not sure it wants to stick around.

Stephen Curry "used to" believe the Warriors were better than 13-12. He bought the hype. He believed in his coaches and teammates. But naked truth is undeniable. And the Western Conference standings are indelible, demanding that certain facts, such as ninth place, be faced.

"We have to fight our way out of it," the point guard said. "I think we have what it takes. I know we have what it takes. I know we're a good team. But you can't call yourself a good team with that record.

"It doesn’t really matter what I say. It's how we go out Tuesday against New Orleans and try to turn it around."

At this stage of the Warriors' development, it's partly about knowing your opponent but mostly about knowing who they are. And they don't. How can they, when the mood changes multiple times over the course of a single game?

"The only way out of it is to do something," coach Mark Jackson said. "Too often now, we continue to make the same mistakes."

Tonight brings an opportunity, yet another one, for the Warriors to find a personality. They have, depending on the moment, displayed the zeal of junkyard dogs as well as the flat indifference of a soggy napkin.

"We've got to start finding it now," said center Andrew Bogut, whose snarling persona rarely takes a walk.

Said forward Draymond Green: "If we fix it, we'll become the team that we thought we should be and that everybody else thought we should be."

The man said, "if." That's all he has for now. That's all anybody can have before tipoff Tuesday night.

David Lee vs. Ryan Anderson
-- Lee has trouble containing the post-up power forward or "stretch four," such as Anderson. Did D-Lee take anything from the lessons administered Sunday by none other than Suns stretch four Channing Frye?

[RELATED: Warriors need Barnes, Thompson to answer the bell]

Klay Thompson vs. Eric Gordon -- Shooting guards with much in common insofar as either can shoot his team into, or out of, a game. Thompson is rangier and a better defender, though he's been off his game of late.

Curry vs. Jrue Holiday -- Two point guards with different skill sets. Holiday, the better athlete, slashes and kicks and doesn't shoot many 3-pointers. Curry works from the outside in. Curry's job is to keep Holiday from creating havoc in the paint. Holiday's job is to keep Curry from getting comfortable beyond the arc.

SERIES HISTORY: The Warriors have won the last five meetings, sweeping the four-game series last season and taking a 102-101 win at New Orleans on Nov. 26.

INJURY UPDATE: Forward Andre Iguodala (left hamstring) is out, as are centers Jermaine O'Neal (wrist surgery), Festus Ezeli (knee surgery) and Ognjen Kuzmic (pinkie surgery).

Power forward Anthony Davis (hand) and guard Tyreke Evans (ankle) are out.

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