Warriors-Suns: What to watch for

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Warriors-Suns: What to watch for

Programming note: Warriors-Suns coverage from Phoenix begins at 5:30 p.m. with Warriors Pregame Live and the tip-off following at 6 p.m., only on Comcast SportsNet Bay Area!
The Warriors play the Phoenix Suns on Wednesday in theirfinal game before All-Star weekend. The game against the Suns is the first ofsix consecutive road games for Golden State.
The Warriors have not been very successful at AmericanAirways Center, having dropped 13 in a row there. The last time the Warriorswon in Phoenix was back on March 18, 2005.The Warriors and Suns have split two games this season. TheSuns defeated the Warriors 102-91 on Jan. 2, and the Warriors defeated Phoenix102-96 just nine days ago at Oracle Arena.Here are some things to watch for during Wednesdays gamebetween the Warriors and Suns:Always about Nash: It usually starts andends with point guard Steve Nash, Phoenixs two-time MVP. Nash is on a big-timeroll right now, having dished out 58 assists in the past four games, and sohes as important a piece to the Suns offense as hes ever been.RELATED: Steve Nash game logs
One school of thought is to try to make Nash a scorer,therefore limiting his ability to get teammates involved. But over the years,Nash always has done a great job of taking what the defense gives him, and ifthe Warriors allow him open shots, hell willingly take them.Defend the 3: The Suns are at their mostdangerous when they spread the floor and allow Nash to penetrate and findshooters. The last time the Warriors and Suns played, Golden State did a nicejob of contesting 3-point shots.Phoenix went just 5-for-25 from 3-point range on Feb. 13 atOracle Arena, with Channing Frye shooting 1-for-8 from beyond the arc. Frye isan important player for the Suns because when he is knocking down 3-pointers,it allows center Marcin Gortat more room to operate in the middle.Encore for Udoh?: Ekpe Udoh is coming offhis first start of the year, and he had a big game for the Warriors. Withstarting center Andris Biedrins out with flu-like symptoms, Udoh scored 19points and grabbed eight rebounds in 38 minutes against the Clippers.REWIND: Warriors take down Paul, Clippers behind Monta's 32
Warriors coach Mark Jackson hinted strongly that Udoh could remainin the starting lineup even after Biedrins returns. But that turns out not to be the case, as Jackson announced Wednesday morning Biedrins would once again start. When Udoh enters on Wednesday, hell have to match up with thebigger, stronger Marcin Gortat, who had a big game the last time these teamsplayed. Gortat had 15 points and 12 rebounds in Phoenixs loss to the Warriorson Feb. 13.Bench output: Despite Udoh still coming off the bench, it seems obvious that he'll log more minutes with the starters moving forward. Itwill be interesting to see how that affects the second unit. While Udoh wasnta big scorer for the second team, he was an integral piece, providing defensein the middle.The Warriors bench combined for 38 points in the teams winover Phoenix nine days ago.

Warriors guard Livingston begins turnaround after shooting dry spell

Warriors guard Livingston begins turnaround after shooting dry spell

OAKLAND -- Amid the recovery mission that followed the absence of Kevin Durant, as every Warrior eventually pitched in, Shaun Livingston stood virtually alone as someone who wasn’t doing his part.

The Warriors, and Livingston, would like to believe that is about to change.

When Livingston made 3-of-4 shots in a 112-87 rout of the Mavericks on Tuesday night, it was the first time he shot higher than 50 percent on multiple shots since Feb. 28, the day Durant went down with a knee injury.

“You go through slumps,” Livingston said after practice Thursday. “Fortunately for me, I’ve played long enough to know. You keep shooting. Keep pushing forward, good things will happen.”

As the Warriors lost that game at Washington, and four of the next six, Livingston’s usually reliable midrange game disappeared. In the first 10 full games since Durant was sidelined, Livingston shot 18.8 percent (6-of-32).

So his teammates did the heavy lifting. Andre Iguodala excelled as the steady vet. Klay Thompson and Draymond Green dipped and then came hard. Stephen Curry climbed out of his rut and started dancing again. The big men -- Zaza Pachulia, JaVale McGee and David West -- were titanic. Pat McCaw, Ian Clark, Matt Barnes and James Michael McAdoo filled in the gaps.

They had to, because Livingston the most reliable shooter on the team was nowhere to be found.

“We all want to play the best that we can,” Livingston said. “But the reality is it doesn’t work that way all the time.”

On Tuesday, for the first time this month, Livingston looked like himself. He was the guy who shot 55.6 percent in October, 54.4 percent in November, 57.6 percent in December, 58.9 percent in January and 54.1 percent in February.

“It was good for Shaun to see the ball go in the rim,” Warriors coach Steve Kerr said. “He’s had such a great year shooting the ball, and then the last couple weeks he hit a dry spell. Which is going to happen to everybody.”

The “dry spell” was shocking, because it was Livingston. He’s in the final weeks of his third season with the Warriors, and throughout that time there was only one month in which he shot less that 49 percent (47.5 in March 2015). Signed in July 2014 to be the team’s No. 3 guard and primary backup to Curry, Livingston is shooting 51.9 percent in his Warriors career.

The Warriors would like to think he’s ready, once again, to do his part.

“Last game was good for him, just to make a few and see the ball go in,” Kerr said. “I’m confident he’ll get it going.”

Warriors forward Matt Barnes 'trying to kill' the Kings

Warriors forward Matt Barnes 'trying to kill' the Kings

The Kings waived Matt Barnes during the All-Star break.

Less than two weeks later, he signed with the Warriors.

On Friday, Barnes will square off against Sacramento at Oracle Arena.

"I'm trying to kill 'em," he told the San Francisco Chronicle's Connor Letourneau on Thursday. "Simple."

In 54 games (13 starts) with the Kings this season, Barnes averaged 7.6 points, 5.5 rebounds and 2.8 assists while shooting just under 33 percent from deep.

His final game in a Sacramento uniform came against the Warriors on Feb. 15. He registered 15 points and 14 rebounds.

"Things didn't go well there," Barnes added. "They're the enemy now."