The Warriors host the Phoenix Suns and the return, again, of Jason Richardson should be a heartfelt affair as always. While a Warrior, who could forget Richardson's accomplishments with the Warriors where he won two NBA Slam Dunk champion awards and then the awesomest highlight in rookie-sophomore game history:
Warrior fans still remember Jason Richardson's dedication to the team in spite of his shortcomings as a ball-handler, slasher, and shooter.
Since being traded two times over now since leaving the Warriors, Richardson has become one of the deadliest outside shooters in the league and among the most consistent scorers as well. This season, Richardson is averaging 21 points a game on 47% from downtown and an efficient 48% from the field. In the last five games alone, Richardson has been outstanding averaging over 25 points, 50% from threes, and a near perfect from the line, missing only 3 of his last 23 attempts.
As great of a bargain pick-up Dorell Wright has been for his shooting touch, Warriors could use Richardson's consistency right about now. Luckily the Suns are just as bad as the Warriors when it comes to 3 point shooting. But that hasn't seemed to matter when playing the Warriors, who have found ways to make all-stars out of back-ups and all-stars into MVPs.
The Suns will most likely rely on Richardson as well as backups Jared Dudley and Josh Childress to shoulder the load as Grant Hill, who is having a solid season, is out with a foot injury. Hedo Turkoglu has hardly made an impression besides a bad one as his $10 million dollar contract has hardly replaced the scoring or leadership that this team needs. But the Suns are playing the Warriors and if 3rd string point guard Gary Neal of the San Antonio Spurs can have a extremely productive night (5-7 shooting for 12 points) against Monta Ellis and Stephen Curry, Hedo might find his swag back, if just for one night.
David Lee showed marked improvement in the second game back from the staph infection in his elbow. Although only notching 7 rebounds, Lee shot an efficient 7-12 from the field.
With 6 of the next 7 games against playoff bound teams and 5 of those games on the road, tonight's game is crucial for this Warriors squad that has been sliding as of late.