It’s no secret that the Warriors haven’t been the best road team. At 19-22, their record is close to .500, but not quite there. Unfortunately for them, they failed to grab home-court advantage, which was a possibility at one point in the season. They’re definitely going to give the Nuggets a run for their money, but to win the series, they have to win one road game. This, as we all know, is set in stone.
Unfortunately, the task isn’t going to come to easily. Many argue that it was a blessing to get the Nuggets rather than the Spurs or the Thunder. That’s obviously true, but the Warriors aren’t so “lucky” to be playing the Nuggets in the first round. Denver is a very exciting, high-scoring team, and they’ve beating the Warriors 3/4 times this season. Oh yeah, they’re also 38-3 at home. This is a bit of a problem because the Warriors know how take the lead against Denver, but when the fatigue sets in, it’s almost impossible for them to consolidate.
This is how they’re going to do it. It may seem awful risky for the Warriors to play their bench, but it’s something that they’re going to have to do. Maybe not the super-reserves like Kent Bazemore or Andris Biedrins, but the Warriors are going to have to start utilizing guys like Richard Jefferson and Draymond Green, so that they can work defense into offense.
Richard Jefferson hasn’t been known for his defense in the past years, but he is definitely a guy to consider playing in the postseason. He is the only Warrior who has seen a championship in plain sight, and one of the only ones to have ever been to the playoffs. He is still a great scorer, and will be able to spell some of the more important guys like Klay Thompson till the final minutes of the fourth
So one of the things that the Warriors need to do is really focus on their bench depth. The second unit, with Jarrett Jack, Carl Landry, and Richard Jefferson may be able to do some real damage.
As for the starters, Andrew Bogut needs to start playing more than 30 minutes per game. He is slowly working back into things, but he needs to get into his offensive groove. Defensively, when he tries, he blocks almost every shot, and isn’t afraid of being dunked on. In the playoffs, he will completely dominate the glass, vanishing the second chance points of the Nuggets.
One other thing that the Warriors have struggled with this season is turnovers. They’re often careless with the ball, and if they make stupid mistakes, like throwing a lob pass for a Nugget to pounce on it, they should be making up for it on defense. When they don’t do that, the Nuggets get what we call points off of turnovers. Those have really hurt the Warriors.
It’s going to be tough for the Warriors, but they’ve got to keep their heads up, no matter how tired they get. Are they going to make mistakes? Of course they are, but what they need to do is focus on what’s important: keeping their heads in the game, and not letting the crowd inside.