Scouting Report: Golden State Warriors
If getting healthy is momentum, the Hawks at least have that going for them. They got Pero Antic back Wednesday in Portland and will have Paul Millsap available for tonight’s game in Oakland, giving them 12 available players.
With season-ending injuries to Al Horford, John Jenkins and Gustavo Ayon, This is as healthy as the Hawks will be this season.
The Hawks certainly welcome the additions of Millsap and Antic, both frontcourt players who have the ability to defend the perimeter when needed. And against the Warriors, they’ll be asked to do just that as both David Lee and Andrew Bogut have solid mid-range games.
Of course, the weapon you start with when talking Warriors is Stephen Curry. The sharpshooting point guard leads the league in three-pointers made, is fifth in assists and seventh in total scoring. In other words, when the ball is in his hands, he’s going to make a play, either for himself or someone else. There’s no “right” way to defend him because his decision-making is so good. Jeff Teague will have to be careful of the walk-up threes that he enjoys slinging every once in a while.
Fellow “Splash Brother” Klay Thompson is equally dangerous from deep. Thompson isn’t going to make the kind of plays Curry will off the dribble, so forcing him to put the ball on the floor is your best bet. The Hawks can’t fall asleep on either of them, as they’ve had a habit of doing to shooters lately.
The Warriors don’t get much from their bench, but Harrison Barnes is a guy you have to keep an eye on. In addition to Curry and Thompson, Barnes is shooting better than 40 percent from deep, and he was part of the group that ignited Golden State’s rally in Atlanta in January. New additions Jordan Crawford and Steve Blake give the Warriors even more shooting off the bench as well.
One thing I was surprised by when looking at the stats is that the Warriors are second in the NBA in defensive rebounds. They are doing a good job of keeping opponents off the offensive glass, which makes shot selection and ball movement important for the Hawks. If you’re likely only going to get one shot, make it count.
The Warriors are dangerous when their starting five is intact, and they’re healthy and playing well now. Golden State finished a six-game road trip 4-2 and are excited to be home, where they have a plethora of games to play the rest of the month. Hopefully Atlanta’s health will be a boost.
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