PROGRAMMINGALERT: Tune into Warriors Pregame Live on CSNBay Area at 4:30 p.m. and Warriors Postgame Live immediately after thegame.
The Warriors play the Oklahoma City Thunder on Friday forthe third time in 22 days. The first two games were at Oracle Arena, and theWarriors simply couldnt contain Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook in eitherone of them two Thunder victories.The Warriors get one more chance at beating Oklahoma City,although this one will be on the road.Here are some things to watch for as the Warriors try to putWednesdays tough loss to the Portland Trail Blazers behind them:
Get better on Durant, Westbrook: Thebottom line is the Warriors have done a very poor job of defending Kevin Durantand Russell Westbrook in the first two games.Durant is averaging 35 points and 12 rebounds on 49 percentshooting, and Westbrook is averaging 29.5 points and nine assists on 54 percentshooting in two games.Regardless of how well the Warriors defend the rest of theThunder, theyre unlikely to win a game in which Oklahoma Citys stars do thismuch damage. The Warriors have to find a way to make these two players lessefficient. Perhaps the answer is more Dominic McGuire.Improve in the end-game: In both of thegames against the Thunder at Oracle Arena, the Warriors hung tough for much ofthe game. But their execution in the games final minutes was poor, and thatsbeen the case for much of the season.Simply put, the Warriors havent done a good job of playingwell down the stretch, and it has cost them a bunch of ballgames. During thosetimes, the Warriors seem to become predictable, and they dont get a variety ofshot distribution from their lineup.Instead, it seems to come down to one player usually MontaEllis or Nate Robinson trying to create a shot or play on their own.The question is simple: Are the Warriors capable of winningmore consistently late in games or is their personnel simply not good enough todo it on a game-in and game-out basis?Rebound: The Warriors did a solid job ofrebounding in Game 2 between these teams, but Game 1 was a different story. TheThunders frontline, which includes Kendrick Perkins, Serge Ibaka, NickCollison and Nazr Mohammed, has punished the Warriors at times.If Warriors coach Mark Jackson decides to play small like hehas often this year it will be imperative that David Lee and Ekpe Udoh canhold their own inside.