Is tonight the night?
It’s only been eight days since the Golden State Warriors beat the Orlando Magic 111-105. That game was disappointingly close, and it was at home — now the Dubs get to prove it shouldn’t have been so close, and they hit the road to do so.
Who: Golden State Warriors (16-13) vs. Orlando Magic (11-18)
When: 4:00 p.m. PT
Where: Amway Center, Orlando, Florida
TV: NBC Sports Bay Area
Projected starting lineups:
Warriors: Stephen Curry, Kelly Oubre Jr., Andrew Wiggins, Juan Toscano-Anderson, Draymond Green
Magic: Michael Carter-Williams, Evan Fournier, Dwayne Bacon, Gary Clark, Nikola Vučević
Warriors: Beat the Heat 120-112 (OT) — 4-1 in their last 5 games
Magic: Beat the Knicks 107-89 — 2-3 in their last 5 games
Team ratings (garbage-time adjusted, per Cleaning The Glass):
Warriors: 110.8 offense (21st), 110.7 defense (7th), +0.1 net (14th)
Magic: 106.3 offense (28th), 112.3 defense (14th), -6.1 net (28th)
This is Golden State’s 30th game of the year. They have yet to win three games in a row. They’ve also yet to lose three games in a row.
All they need is a win over a struggling, injured Magic team, and the Dubs will have their first consecutive trifecta of wins all season.
But it’s more important than just that. This is the start of serious stretch of games for the Warriors before the All-Star break. It’s the first game of a four-game road trip, and the start of having seven road games in eight contests before hitting the unofficial halfway point of the season.
They need two things if they intend on being comfortably above .500 at the break: to find some momentum, and to beat bad teams.
Players to watch
Warrior to watch: Steph Curry.
Curry is coming off of his third-worst shooting night of the year by field goal percentage, when he shot just 8-for-25 from the field against Miami, and just 5-for-20 from distance.
Steve Kerr is fond of saying that Curry doesn’t have consecutive bad games, so … say a prayer for Michael Carter-Williams.
Magician to watch: Terrence Ross.
Ross is capable of exploding on any given night, and already has nine games this year with at least 20 points, despite playing off the bench.
The last time these teams met up, he shot just 8-for-27 — but part of that was just him missing shots. If he gets 27 attempts again, he might make a much larger number of them.
Matchup to watch: Draymond Green vs. Nikola Vučević.
Yes, a little more small ball for the Dubs before the centers get healthy. Orlando’s All-Star center had 25 points, 13 rebounds, and 5 assists when these teams recently met, but Green held him to 8-for-23 shooting and a plus-minus of -19.
Green dished out 11 assists on the other end, and finished with a plus-minus of +13. Time to get the best of that matchup again.
Keys to victory
- Match the offensive discipline of Orlando, which ranks 10th in turnover percentage.
- Put the clamps on Orlando’s offense from the opening tip.
- Record at least 25 assists.
- Get a few strong individual offensive performances.
Three in a row? Three in a row. Let’s get it, Dubs.