Nets game holds key to Warriors road trip

curry_stephen_warriors.jpg

Nets game holds key to Warriors road trip

Programming note: Nets-Warriors coverage begins on Comcast SportsNet Bay Area with Warriors Pregame Live at 4 p.m. Stick around after the final buzzer for Warriors Postgame Live.

There are certain games during the course of an 82-game schedule that seem to stick out more than others. Friday night’s game between the Nets and Warriors in Brooklyn would seem to be one of those games.

The Warriors (11-7), coming off a win at Detroit on Wednesday, are playing Game 2 of a seven-game road trip, and the Nets are the second-toughest opponent (besides Miami) that they’ll face.

When charting out a road trip such as this, it’s not a game you put down in the “win” column early, that’s for sure. But that’s why it could be a real swing game for the Warriors. If the Warriors can come out of Brooklyn with a win, it sets up the possibility that this road trip could be something special.

Here are some things to watch for during Friday’s game between the Warriors and Brooklyn Nets:

The point guard matchup: Warriors point guard Stephen Curry is playing very well these days, having put together four consecutive games of at least 20 points and 10 assists.

Question is: Can he have that type of impactful game against a very good opponent on the road? He may have to if the Warriors have a shot at winning the game.

As for Williams, he struggled against the Warriors in a Nov. 21 loss at Oracle Arena, scoring just nine points – on 4-for-12 from the field – and handing out eight assists.

Look for small-ball: If there’s one thing Warriors coach Mark Jackson has been questioned about this season, it’s his propensity to forgo playing with a center and instead pairing David Lee and Carl Landry up front.

Well, there should be plenty of Lee and Landry on Friday because Brooklyn center Brook Lopez will not play because of sprained right foot.

Andray Blatche could get the start in Lopez’ place and Reggie Evans – assuming he’ll play – will likely get plenty of minutes, too.

Locate Wallace: Gerald Wallace didn’t play when the team’s played on Nov. 21, and he’s been a player who has a nice history against Golden State.

Wallace is a very good defender, and his athleticism has afforded him the ability to get plenty of easy buckets over the years. If Wallace is defending Klay Thompson, it’s important Thompson makes sure to take as many quality shots as possible.

Wallace is also a very good rebounder from the small forward spot and Golden State will have to be aware of that.

 

How the Warriors factored into Gordon Hayward's decision to join Celtics

How the Warriors factored into Gordon Hayward's decision to join Celtics

On July 4, Gordon Hayward decided he would leave the Utah Jazz and join the Boston Celtics.

On Monday, he joined Adrian Wojnarowski on The Woj Pod to break down the free-agent process.

"How much were you looking at Utah in the West and Golden State?" Woj asked Hayward. "When you imagine what Utah could be -- if you stayed, Ricky (Rubio) comes and you look at the other pieces -- what did you think that Jazz team could be? And Golden State -- does it have to impact your thinking?"

"Golden State is obviously the team to beat," Hayward answered. "Whether you're in the West or the East, you have to play them at some point in time. I thought in Utah, I thought we matched up pretty well with them. Just the style that we played, some of the guys that we had. I thought that we matched up pretty well.

"Unlucky with George (Hill) and his injury, but we had moments against them -- even though we got swept -- we had moments against them where I thought you know, maybe we could make a run at 'em."

Hill did not play in Games 2 through 4 because of a toe injury.

In Game 3, the Jazz led by nine midway through the 3rd quarter, but the Warriors won by 11.

In Game 4, the Warriors led by as many as 24 points early in the 2nd quarter, the Jazz cut it to five points in the 3rd quarter, and Golden State wound up winning by 26.

"The games at home, I thought we were right there," Hayward said. "We do have a healthy George, it's probably a little different -- maybe we sneak a game. But they're still a juggernaut.

"But when we're going through this process and you keep seeing some of the big-name guys and the West is loading up more and more and more, it's not something where, it's not like 'I'm gonna go East just so I don't have to play them,' because you don't want to run from competition at all. That's not how I am.

"But there is a sense that it's probably the smarter thing as far as you're not gonna have to battle it out with all these teams just to make it to the second round ... giving yourself a better chance against a Golden State.

Chris Paul to the Rockets.

Paul George to the Thunder.

Jimmy Butler to the Timberwolves.

Paul Millsap to the Nuggets.

Kyrie Irving to the ?????

The Spurs.

The West is going to be a bloodbath, and Steve Kerr believes the Warriors will be even better next year.

As Hayward summarized:

"It definitely crosses your mind, 100 percent."

Drew Shiller is the co-host of Warriors Outsiders and a Web Producer at NBC Sports Bay Area. Follow him on Twitter @DrewShiller

LeBron refutes report about his mindset regarding Kyrie: 'Booooo!!!'

LeBron refutes report about his mindset regarding Kyrie: 'Booooo!!!'

The LeBron James-Kyrie Irving saga took another twist on Tuesday morning.

On Monday afternoon, Derrick Rose reportedly agreed to terms on a $2.1 million minimum deal with the Cavs.

In his news story, Joe Vardon of Cleveland.com wrote the following about Rose:

"He's also looking at a potential starting spot in the same lineup with LeBron James, now that Irving has asked for a trade and James is eager to see him off."

So at 7:55am PT on Tuesday, SLAM Magazine tweeted:

Seven minutes later, LeBron responded with a quote tweet:

Two minutes later, he tweeted again:

In case you were curious, LeBron watched a movie with family and friends on Monday night:

When LeBron initially received word about Irving's trade request, he was reportedly blindsided and disappointed.

Now? Who knows.

One thing is certain, however. The Cavs are definitley in a "very peculiar place."

Drew Shiller is the co-host of Warriors Outsiders and a Web Producer at NBC Sports Bay Area. Follow him on Twitter @DrewShiller