Brooklyn Nets visit Golden Warriors as "circus road trip" continues

Casey Sapio-USA TODAY Sports

That's better. After a disastrous end of the first half, the Nets began the second half with a win in Utah. At 25-27, the Nets find themselves tied for fifth place in the East with Washington. The big news related to the Nets is the trade made prior to Wednesday's game. Brooklyn acquired Kings swing man Marcus Thornton for the duo of Reggie Evans and Jason Terry. Thornton is with the team and is active for this game. This is game three of the road trip and the first night of a back-to-back. After this, Brooklyn heads down to Los Angeles to play the Lakers.

Waiting for the Nets will be the Golden State Warriors. They find themselves in a battle for playoff positioning with Phoenix, Dallas, & Portland while still being in striking distance of the division leading LA Clippers. They're coming off a great win against Houston on Thursday night and are at 33-22. They're also looking a bit different, as they picked up Steve Blake from the Lakers in exchange for ex-Net Marshon Brooks & Hall of Fame dap master Kent Bazemore.

This is also a rematch of the game Brooklyn won last month 102-98.

The season so far

What's the story with these teams? Check the numbers:

2013-2014

Brooklyn

Golden State

Record

25-27 33-22

Pace

93.87 98.75

Offensive Efficiency

103.1 104.1

Defensive Efficiency

104.6 99.3

Offensive Rebounding percentage

22.3 25.7

Turnover rate

15.3 16

Assist rate

16.7 17

Rebound rate

47.7 51.3

Free throw rate

31.3 25.9

Effective Field Goal percentage

50.3 51.2

Opponent Effective Field Goal percentage

50.5 47.5

What's the skinny on the new guy? Sactown Royalty editor Greg Wissinger told our own Reed Wallach:

"When he gets hot, Marcus Thornton is an incredible shooter. He's capable of massive scoring outbursts, and can bomb away from behind the arc. Problem is that this season Thornton has not showed efficiency when shooting. Take a look at his shot chart."

I wouldn't expect Thornton to be a big factor in his debut game. Joining a new team in the middle of a road trip and against a team that has the potential to make a run at the Championship is a very difficult task. He's having the worst shooting season of his career, but has shot well throughout his career.

The last time the Nets were on a back-to-back, Kevin Garnett played both ends of it. Depending on the way this game goes and the distance it takes to go from Oakland to Los Angeles, it's a good bet that Garnett will play both nights. His presence on the glass (and whoever the Nets will try to bring in. More on that another day) will help the Nets against one of the league's best rebounding teams. He and Blatche will be tasked with keeping David Lee off the glass. Lee is having his typical good season, averaging 19 points and nine rebounds on 51 percent from the floor.

One of the most important things Golden State of Mind writer Evan Zamir relayed to us back in January was the importance of the Warriors being at 100 percent (#FullSquad if you will). Unfortunately for the Warriors, they aren't at that point right now. Andrew Bogut has missed the last six games with a shoulder injury and might not be available for this Saturday night contest. In his place will be member of the "He's Still in the League?!" club Jermaine O'Neal. He had an amazing game on defense Thursday night against Dwight Howard and made the play of the game to seal it for G-State (He did get dunked on by Howard, but it happens sometimes).

The Warriors have been one of the league's best defenses. They're allowing only 99.3 points per 100 possessions, good for third best in the league. How do they do it? By keeping teams out of the paint and forcing them into tough jumpers from the perimeter. Teams only get shots up inside the restricted area only 24 times a game and make only 59 percent of those attempts. From the midrange area, teams are taking about 25 shots a game from that area & making only 38.6 percent. Most importantly, G-State has done a great job defending three pointers. Teams only attempt A lot of their success is due to Bogut, Andre Iguodala & third year man Klay Thompson & they (minus Bogut) figure to play a big role tonight.

As you would expect, the Warriors have been excellent from three point range. Golden State has converted on 38 percent of their three pointers, good for fourth in the league. Curry (more in a bit) & Thompson's successes, but Harrison Barnes and Iguodala have shot well from deep too.

Player to watch: Stephen Curry

Curry has earned the reputation of being one of the league's best point guards and this season has been no exception. In close to 38 minutes a night, Curry is averaging 24 points and almost nine assists a night on a True Shooting of 60.1 percent. He's always been an efficient shooter, but wasn't the focal point of the offense (in terms of usage rate) until the past two seasons. The turnovers are a bit high (four per game and number one overall in total turnovers), but you can live with that if you're Golden State. Dane Carbaugh has more over at the mothership:

This season, Curry has become an all-around great player that doesn't just rely on his three-point shot as a means of gunning opposing teams out of the gym. Surprisingly, Curry's three-point game has been what has suffered the most this season. His mark of 41.5 percent from three-point range, though still excellent, is a three full percentage points below his career average. He's shooting eight threes a game, a move countered only by the fact that his per36 assist numbers are two above his career average.

This is one of the more marquee point guard matchups you'll see this season. Curry did score 34 points against Brooklyn the first time around, but had seven turnovers and only shot 11-25 from the field. Deron Williams missed that game as he healed from his ankle injury, but he'll be here for this one. Shaun Livingston figures to draw Curry initially. Livingston did a great job defending him the first time out and will look to use his length and quickness to slow Curry down. Curry drives to the basket more than he used to and as a result has gotten to the line a career high five times a night. As for Williams, his scoring hasn't been there this season, but he's still a willing and able passer.After a six turnover disaster against Chicago, Williams only coughed it up once against the Jazz. He figures to be most successful against Steve Blake, the new acquisition who has never been known for great defense.

From the Vault

Head on back to the Spring of 1994 and watch Chris Webber & the Warriors take on Charles Barkley and the Suns. This game is famous for Barkley's 56 point explosion, but it was also famous for a different reason. This was Webber's last game as a member of the Warriors until he returned to wind down his career in 2008.


More reading: Golden State Of Mind

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