News/notes after the jump...
Figuring out the Warriors. For some reason it seems like Don Nelson is always finding ways to not play his most interesting young players. A couple years ago I'd always wonder why Andris Biedrins wasn't getting more consistent burn. Then a year ago Anthony Randolph was butting heads with Nellie, before finally getting his chance in the final month and putting up 15.1 ppg and 10.6 rpg.
So of course Randolph has struggled for consistent PT this season, apparently because Nelson refuses to play a 4/5 combo without at least one perimeter threat. With Biedrins hobbled by a back injury, Randolph's minutes had gone up the past few games...and then he played six minutes in the Warriors' win over the Knicks last night.
He's not alone. Lottery pick Stephen Curry, a preseason ROY favorite, started the season's first six games but was benched two games ago--after a 41-point win. He got less than three minutes in last night's game, and it's unclear how much of a future exists for a Curry/Ellis backcourt. Who plays tonight? Beats me.
All in all, it's making the Warriors a pretty entertaining soap opera. Jackson wants to be traded. Randolph can't get the burn everyone thinks he deserves. Curry doesn't know what he's done wrong. Ellis thinks Nelson blames him for everything that goes wrong.
Matching Up. Nelson started the disgruntled Stephen Jackson at power forward last night, yet another example of just how differently the Warriors play than the rest of the league. For one, they play small and fast (1st in pace). And with Corey Maggette, Curry, Watson and Randolph coming off the bench, Golden State's reserves are about as talented as their explosive starting unit. The Bucks' reserves have been damn good themselves, outscoring opponents by an average of 36-25.
With Biedrins missing the trip and Ronny Turiaf sidelined with a knee injury, the Warriors' biggest hole is in the middle. Mikki Moore started against New York, which is obviously a bad sign for the W's. He was terrible a year ago and has never been strong on the block, so it'll be interesting to see whether they let Moore guard Bogut one-on-one or if they try to bring double-teams from the start. He's also been one of the weakest rebounding centers in the league for years, so he'll fit right in with a club currently ranked dead last in defensive rebound rate and fourth from the bottom in offensive rebound rate.
On the other end, the Warriors have all the firepower needed to blitz any team out of the building. It's not just threes, either, though Morow, Ellis, Curry, Azubuike, C.J. Watson, and Acie Law are all hitting 39% or better of their triple attempts thus far. In fact, the Bucks are actually making and taking more threes per game than the Warriors, though Golden State's been notably more efficient and ranks fourth in the league in 3fg%.