The Warriors went and proved me wrong this past week, going a perfect three for three. Moving up one spot to #12 in this week's SB Nation's Western Conference Power Rankings, the Warriors leap frog over the Los Angeles Clippers who now sit at lucky #13. This past week's three game winning streak over the Sacramento Kings (#15) on the road and then the Portland Trailblazers (#8) and the Philadelphia 76ers (#9 in the Eastern Conference Rankings) was one of Monta Ellis' best weeks ever as he was awarded the "Western Conference Player of the Week" after averaging 39 points per game, 7 assists, and 3 steals (week began on 12/20 versus Rockets and did not include last night's win).
The Warriors didn't defeat any teams convincingly, needing late if not last second heroics to put away the Kings and the Trailblazers. But, on the positive side, the Warriors were able to beat the Brandon Roy-less Trailblazers, which has surprisingly won 8 of their last 12 games. But, of all the wins this past week, I would consider the manner by which the Warriors outshot the 76ers a complete anomaly. I'm not suggesting that the Warriors COULDN'T win that game. But I do think the somewhat large point differential is a largely a product of the Warriors making 15-23 3-point field goals for a rare 65%.
The Warriors are an inconsistent team and they, too often, live and die by their jump shooting (namely their 3-point shots). Blowouts tend to be what happens when the Warriors aren't hitting from downtown and then, ironically, more bricks from downtown tend to be the proposed antidote to the deficit. Until they can win games even when their 3-point shots are dropping, I won't think too much of this 3-game winning streak.
The Warriors close 2010 and begin 2011 in somewhat frightening fashion with a 5 game road trip. Between now and next week, the Warriors face 3 Eastern Conference playoff teams in the Atlanta Hawks (#6), Miami Heat (#2), and the Orlando Magic (#3). The only "breather" they get is versus the Charlotte Bobcats (#11). You can bet Stephen Silas will have that squad well prepared for Monta Ellis' patented spin-cycle moves. At least 3 Monta Ellis charge calls that night?
The Warriors have not played well this season on the road and the likelihood of ending up 0-4 (and possibly 0-5 on the whole road trip) is very high. But the match-ups versus the Bobcats and the Hawks seem somewhat even. The Warriors tend to struggle against teams with not just length, but size and athleticism in the front court. Neither the Bobcats nor the Hawks have players that seem imposing, physically, like Tim Duncans, DuJuan Blairs, Sam Youngs, and such. This doesn't mean the Warriors will win. But if the Warriors can control the amount of second chance points of their opponents, they might actually finish this week an even 2-2.