The Warriors curse remains and it seems as if it's only gotten weirder this season. Luckily there are no season ending injuries (cross your fingers), yet. Monta Ellis' awkward landing against the Toronto Raptors and now David Lee's infected elbow requiring surgery in my hometown of Fremont, California that will put him out two weeks, are mild inconveniences compared to what happened last season.
But, as this season of the "strange" trudges on, you constantly wonder how good this Warrior team could actually be if they were healthy. Unlike the past where marketing over actual production was how fans got excited about the season's prospects, this season's success, so far, really feels as if it will be reality deferred until next season.
With that said, the Warriors are without David Lee tonight as they end their road trip facing the Milwaukee Bucks. After a lethargic showing where they were spanked by the Chicago Bulls 120-90, Stephen Curry, as quoted by Rusty Simmons, says:
"Win or lose, we need to come out with more energy and a better focus," point guard Stephen Curry said. "We need to have a little more fight in us. Things might not go our way offensively, but we can control our defense every night.
"That's the test for us."
And this will indeed be the case. Finishing 2-3 on this roadtrip isn't a terrible thing given the fact that the Warriors only won 8 road games last season, with 3 coming in the last month.
Defensively, the Bucks at the second rated in the league, holding team to a meager 91.3 points per game. But defense aside, the Bucks are working out the kinks in their revamped roster, with many scorers at the wings to keep Dorell Wright busy. Recently traded Corey Maggette continues to be the efficient scorer off the bench, averaging just over 14 points in 22 minutes a game. Shooting a meager 42%, Maggette clearly has the green light to shoot when he's in the game. And as the Warriors know from playing with him, Maggette knows how to draw fouls and will most likely look to exploit the Warriors defense that has relied more on reaching than shuffling their feet during this road trip.
Brandon Jennings has also showed steady improvement in his sophomore season, shooting 42% from the field compared to 37% last season. Jennings made his splash in the NBA season last year putting up 55 points in a win over the Warriors early last season and averaged 40 points per game in the two meetings between them. A shoot out tonight between scorers in Jennings and Curry could set the tone.
The Warriors are going to need more help from Brandan Wright and from Dan Gadzuric, listed day-to-day. In limited minutes, Wright showed touch around the basket but was largely ineffective on the defensive end, only grabbing 3 rebounds in 16 minutes. With a front line of Andrew Bogut, Drew Gooden, and Ersan Ilyasova, the Warriors, perhaps, should look towards using rookie PF Jeff Adrien in spurts if Brandan Wright continues to be ineffective. Or at the very least, Adrien's 6 fouls could be useful.