Motivation: it’s as simple as that.
Having lost five games in a row, something that the Warriors haven’t done all season, Mark Jackson and his squad of young guys are going to come back strong. This half of the season, expect guys like Richard Jefferson, Andris Biedrins, and of course Andrew Bogut to receive more playing time. Why? Simply because these three guys know what it’s like to play in a post-season game, especially Jefferson. Maybe he’ll actually be worth his huge contract (Biedrins as well).
The main studs of this young Warrior squad like David Lee, Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, and Harrison Barnes, have never been in a playoff game. Curry, now in his 4th season is probably thirsting for it, while Lee, at age 29 is probably dying for it. Thompson and Barnes are young-lings, but the experience would be good for them.
So, what does losing five consecutive games mean for the Warriors?
Tonight, they must face a scorching Utah Jazz team in their home building, a place where this team doesn’t lose often. The good things about this game, however, is that the Warriors are looking for a team weaker than them — by record at least — to embarrass, and that the Warriors have already beaten the Jazz in Utah earlier this season.
After this, the Warriors face teams like the Spurs, the Timberwolves, and the Suns, the Warriors have a not-so-hard, but not-so-easy schedule. This could be just what they need: picking up a couple of wins, but also getting some confidence. After that, however, they’re right back on the road to play Indiana, New York, and Boston — another key three game stretch.
The Warriors, no doubt are going to start off hot. Like the New York Knicks, the Warriors were in desperate need of the All-Star break, which couldn’t have come at a better time.
Rest assured, Jackson probably told his players that 18 of these last 30 games are at home. It’s time to capitalize: instead of worrying about the Jazz or the Rockets catching up to the Dubs, they should be worried about hunting the Nuggets down and taking them out.
In order to finally gain some respect from the NBA, Lee must lead his Warrior team into the post-season, where the games are decently officiated.
Now that they have something to prove in the last 30 games, seeing that it’s a straight shot to the playoffs, the Warriors will be able to come out with that “Assassin’s Mentality”, that drives other teams to the playoffs. Starting off this second half is strong, which is why this Utah Jazz game is a huge deal. This could be the game that sets up the path to the playoffs.