Stephen Curry and the Golden State Warriors are riding especially high after grounding the Houston Rockets on Saturday, putting together one of the most impressive and resilient victories of the season. The final score of 108-78 might lead you to conclude that the Dubs coasted in a wire-to-wire job, but actually, Houston cut into the deficit in a major way more than once.
Golden State had to fight off a couple of furious Rocket runs en route to the statement victory, and the effort it expended (combined with the elation of a big win against a budding rival) could leave the Warriors exhausted.
But they’ll be back at it against the New Orleans Hornets tonight. In the NBA, there’s no rest for the weary.
Fortunately, the Hornets are losers of 8-of-10 and haven’t beaten a playoff team since a 111-100 defeat of the Atlanta Hawks on Feb. 8. Golden State may be heading into NOLA without much fuel in the tank, but the Hornets might just be bad enough for the Warriors to coast—even if they’re only running on fumes.
The Dubs have won three out of four and if you pretend that debacle at home against the Chicago Bulls never happened—which I personally prefer to do—they’re on a three-game winning streak!
Curry and Klay Thompson will look to build on one of their best collective performances in weeks against New Orleans, as the duo dropped a combined 55 points on 40 shots against the Rockets. But whatever Golden State’s backcourt duo does (or doesn’t do), one of the real keys to the game will be Andrew Bogut’s ability to bounce back after a 33-minute effort against Houston.
Bogut looked about as good as he has all season against the Rockets, piling up 12 points and 12 boards along with three blocks. He’s still a somewhat reluctant scorer, but his toughness and activity inside makes the Dubs a different team. He’ll have to prove he’s got back-to-back efforts in him before all of the hand wringing over his health can finally stop.
WHO: Golden State Warriors (38-30) vs. New Orleans Hornets (22-45)
WHERE: New Orleans Arena
WHEN: 5:00 p.m. PT, CSN Bay Area
AT STAKE: A chance to earn a full two-game advantage on the idle Houston Rockets for the No. 7 spot in the West.
PLAYER TO WATCH: Klay Thompson. It seems like the Warriors shooting guard has made a habit of following up his gems with clunkers. After dropping 26 points and hitting six triples against the Rockets, he’s got to put together a second straight hot-shooting night.
PREDICTION: The Dubs are tired and the Hornets are a lottery team, which means this game has “trap” written all over it. Still, Golden State should have enough left to pull out a relatively close win. Warriors 100, Hornets 96.