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' championship-level defense may never get recognition it deserves

Warriors' championship-level defense may never get recognition it deserves

The Warriors talk defense from sunup to midnight, and maybe beyond. They explain why defense is essential to their offense, which gets universal praise -- accolades that should go to their defense.

The latest example came Monday, when the NBA announced its All-Defensive teams.

Warriors forward Draymond Green was voted to the first team, one vote short of unanimously, and none of his teammates joined him on the five man first team.

Or the five-man second team.

Guard Klay Thompson finished 12th in the balloting, with 45 votes, including 16 for first place. He was omitted from 71 of 100 ballots.

Forward Kevin Durant finished 23rd, with six votes, all second place. He was omitted from 94 ballots. Guard Stephen Curry finished 29th, with three votes, omitted from 97 ballots.

Forward Andre Iguodala finished 30th, with three votes, including one for first place, and was omitted from 98 ballots.

As always, there was some dubious voting, including the omission of Green from one ballot and the inclusion of Celtics guard Isaiah Thomas -- who ranked 410th among the league’s 411 defenders with a rating -- on one ballot.

But the Warriors continue to be identified by their No. 1-ranked offense while being more accurately defined by their defense, which ranked No. 2 in defensive rating.

It ranked No. 1 in practically every other category that matters. The Warriors were tops in field-goal percentage defense (overall and from 3-point distance), fewest points per shot, blocks and steals.

But if they were hoping for more recognition for the primary reason why they’ve won two championships in three seasons -- and more regular-season games in a three-year span than any team in NBA history -- that’s not happening.

Not now, and maybe not any time soon when folks are so mesmerized by the offensive fireworks provided by Curry, Durant and Thompson.

Draymond Green receives most votes on 2016-17 NBA All-Defensive Team

Draymond Green receives most votes on 2016-17 NBA All-Defensive Team

For the third straight season, Draymond Green is considered one of the best five defenders in the NBA.

The NBA announced Monday that Green was named to the 2017 NBA All-Defensive First Team.

Of the 100 ballots submitted, according to the NBA, Green received 99 first-place votes, but no second-place votes, meaning one voter left Green off their ballot.

Green is joined by Utah's Rudy Gobert, San Antonio's Kawhi Leonard, Los Angeles' Chris Paul and Houston's Patrick Beverley.

Gobert and Leonard also recieved 99 of a possible 100 First or Second team votes.

Green, Leonard and Gobert are the three finalists for the Defensive Player of the Year, which will be announced Monday night during the NBA Awards Show in New York.

Green is the first player in Warriors franchise history to earned All-Defensive First Team honors three years in a row.

In a season when he had several game-saving plays, Green averaged 10.2 points, 7.9 rebounds, 7.0 assists, 1.38 blocks and a league-leading 2.03 steals in 76 games. Green was also the first player in franchise history with at least 150 steals and 100 blocks in a season.

Warriors shooting guard Klay Thompson received eight First-Team votes and 29 Second-Team votes for a total of 45 points. NBA Finals MVP Kevin Durant received six Second-Team votes. Sixth Man of the Year candidate Andre Iguodala received one First-Team vote and one Second-Team vote. Two-time MVP Stephen Curry received three Second-Team votes.

Below are the voting results for the 2016-17 NBA All-Defensive Teams. The balloting was tabulated by the independent accounting firm of Ernst & Young LLP. Complete media ballots will be posted at NBA.com/official tomorrow (Tuesday, June 27).