Game #6 Preview: The Night Where We Find Out If Early-Season Trends Are Meaningful
Golden State Warriors @ Indiana Pacers
7:00 PM EST
The Golden State Warriors franchise is a mess. Nellie Ball should be the team’s identity, but at this point, the ongoing conflict in the front office, the distraction provided by our old friend Stephen Jackson and an in-game rotation that I’ll just call “curious” are outweighing everything else.
Since the team from the Bay will only cross the Pacers’ path twice this year (tonight and again on November 30 in Oakland), however, all that sideshow stuff is secondary to what really matters: The Pacers need to take care of business on their home floor against one of the worst teams in the NBA. Indeed, if the Pacers can’t extend their win streak to three this evening against Golden State, it will re-open the harsh criticism that the team was facing from all side prior to the win last week in New York — and rightfully so.
The Warriors play an up-tempo brand of basketball that is faster than any other in the NBA (with 102.2 possessions per game), and while they do score in bunches (they lit up Sacramento Minnesota for 146 points on Monday night) and they do shoot a high percentage (they are 5th in the NBA in FG% at 48.2% and 4th in 3PT% at 42.4%), they are not the most efficient offense in the world. They turn the ball over 16 times per game, which is a very high number and one that would have led the NBA last season. (Although it somehow is still lower than the Pacers current, disgusting, 17-turnover-per-game average). The Warriors also don’t get many offensive rebounds and shoot poorly from the line.
The even better news is that Golden State is a pathetic defensive team.
What all this means is that tonight’s opponent is the ideal test to see if the Pacers early-season trends are something we’re likely to see all year long. The Pacers have been essentially the inverse of the Warriors: A terrible offensive team that plays above-average defense.
The team probably won’t stop Golden State from putting a ton of points on the board — particularly since the Pacers like to play fast themselves. But if the defense is as good as it has looked so far, they should be able to hold them to around 45% shooting from the field. And more importantly, the Warriors porous defense should provide the perfect opportunity for the Pacers offense to come out of its shell. I mean, if this team can’t put 100 points up tonight, it really is time to start to worry were the scoring is going to come from.
So, please, bring on the Warriors. And, please, let them be Danny’s slump-busters.
(Final note: “The Five-Game Report: Vol. I” is taking a little longer than expected. Sorry. Trying to find a good template to use going forward has been a bit of a learning process. It’s possible that it still goes up before the game tonigh, but worst-case, it will be tomorrow before I head off to Ohio for the weekend, during which things will probably also be slow around the site.)
The Baron Davis “We Believe” Era is now a distant memory in the Bay. And Golden State’s defense is now so bad that if the Pacers can’t put up points tonight, Indiana’s offense might have some major problems.
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