The perception of the Golden State Warriors as some sort of offense-only, shoot-first-ask-questions-later club persists from the Don Nelson era, even though Nellie hasn’t coached the Warriors since 2010.
So it might surprise some to learn that the Warriors are a top-six defensive club in the NBA this season, allowing 99.7 points per 100 possessions. That compares to their offensive ranking, which is 12th in the NBA at 103.9 points per 100 possessions.
That defensive rating holds even with the disaster that has been the Warriors last two games, when they were torched for 123 points in a home-court loss to the Denver Nuggets on Wednesday and lit up for a season-high 127 points by Kevin Durant (who had 54 all by his lonesome) and the Oklahoma City Thunder in OKC Friday night.
That’s 250 points in two games, for those of you counting at home (although why would you be since I just did it for you … you’re welcome).
Golden State gets another shot at seeing if its defense is turned in at the lost luggage counter in New Orleans Saturday evening, when they take on the Pelicans at New Orleans Arena. The Warriors are going for the season sweep of New Orleans, having posted a win in the Big Easy on Nov. 26 (102-101) and a 104-93 victory at Oracle Arena on Dec. 17.
Surprisingly, the Warriors are 2-0 all-time against the newly renamed Pelicans, who were the New Orleans Hornets from 2002-13 (OK, they were the ungodly long to write New Orleans/Oklahoma City Hornets from 2005-07 in the post-Hurricane Katrina years) and the Charlotte Hornets from 1988-2002.
Here’s what else we have on The Docket for Saturday:
NHL: San Jose Sharks at Tampa Bay Lightning, 11 a.m.
The Sharks look to complete a two-game sweep of the Lightning on Saturday afternoon (Tampa time, anyway) after pasting Tampa Bay 5-1 at the SAP Center on Nov. 21.
A win would also secure a 3-1 road trip for the Sharks, who won Thursday night at Florida on Alex Stalock’s first career shutout.
The Sharks are 6-7-3 all-time against the Lightning as the visitors, losing the last two visits, including a 6-5 overtime loss on Feb. 16, 2012—the last time San Jose visited Tampa Bay. Their last win there was a 3-0 victory on Oct. 25, 2008.
COLLEGE BASKETBALL: San Jose State Spartans at Wyoming Cowboys, 1 p.m.
The Spartans are still looking for elusive victory No. 1 as a member of the Mountain West Conference; San Jose State has dropped its first five conference contests this year. The Cowboys are 1-2 to open conference play.
The Spartans are 1-4 against Wyoming all-time and have never won at Laramie, going 0-3 there. This is their first meeting since 1997, when the teams split a pair of games in the Western Athletic Conference.
COLLEGE BASKETBALL: Washington State Cougars at Cal Golden Bears, 1 p.m.
The Golden Bears are off to a 4-0 start in Pac-12 play, while the Cougars come in with a 1-4 conference mark. Cal has won the last four meetings in Berkeley, including a 67-54 victory on Jan. 12, 2013. The Golden Bears lead the all-time series 74-47.
COLLEGE BASKETBALL: Pacific Tigers at Saint Mary’s Gaels, 5 p.m.
The Gaels go for the season sweep Saturday after beating the Tigers in Stockton 88-80 on Dec. 30. Pacific’s last win at Moraga was a 47-45 victory on Dec. 9, 1989, and Saint Mary’s has won the last four meetings on its home court. The Gaels are off to a 3-2 start in West Coast Conference play, while the Tigers are 1-4. Pacific still leads the all-time series 30-27.
COLLEGE BASKETBALL: BYU Cougars at Santa Clara Broncos, 7 p.m.
It’s been awhile since the Broncos beat the Cougars … as in more than 41 years. The last time it happened was Dec. 2, 1972, when Santa Clara won in Provo 66-64. They haven’t beaten BYU in Santa Clara since a 71-55 win on Dec. 6, 1961.
For the record, BYU leads the all-time series 19-5 and has won the last eight meetings, including an 82-64 victory at the Leavey Center on Jan. 12, 2013. The Broncos are 3-4 in WCC play while BYU is off to a 4-2 start in the conference.
COLLEGE BASKETBALL: Cal State Fullerton Titans at UC Davis Aggies, 7 p.m.
The Aggies have suffered horrific second-half meltdowns in each of their last two games and they lost the last time the Titans came to The Pavilion, a 95-88 loss on Jan. 24.
Cal State Fullerton leads the all-time series 11-8 and is 6-3 at in Davis. UC Davis is 0-3 to open Big West Conference play, while the Titans have split their first two conference games.
COLLEGE BASKETBALL: San Diego Toreros at USF Dons, 7 p.m.
The Dons and Toreros split in 2012-13, with each team winning on the other’s home court. San Diego beat USF at War Memorial Gym 70-66 on Jan. 10, 2013. The teams are tied all-time at 35 wins apiece, but the Dons have won seven of the last eight meetings. USF is 4-3 in the WCC, while San Diego is off to a 2-4 conference start.
COLLEGE BASKETBALL: Eastern Washington Eagles at Sacramento State Hornets, 7:05 p.m.
The Hornets are coming off a season sweep of the Eagles in 2012-13, including a 61-55 win at The Nest on Feb. 7, and Sacramento State has won the last three meetings between the teams. Eastern Washington does, however, lead the all-time series by a commanding 26-12 margin. The Hornets are 1-4 in Big Sky Conference play, while the Eagles are 2-3.
COLLEGE BASKETBALL: Washington Huskies at Stanford Cardinal, 8 p.m.
The Cardinal have lost their last three to the Huskies, including a 65-60 loss at Maples Pavilion on Jan. 12, 2013. Washington has won nine of the last 10 meetings between the teams overall. The lone Stanford win in that span was a 58-56 victory at Maples on Jan. 13, 2011.
The Cardinal leads the all-time series, however, 70-68. Stanford is 2-2 to open Pac-12 play, while the Huskies are 3-2.
49ers at Seattle, 3:30 p.m. (NFC Championship)
Kings at Oklahoma City, 4 p.m.
Topics: Cal Golden Bears Basketball, Golden State Warriors, Pacific Tigers Basketball, Sacramento State Hornets Basketball, Saint Mary's Gaels Basketball, San Jose Sharks, San Jose State Spartans Basketball, Santa Clara Broncos Basketball, Stanford Cardinal Basketball, UC Davis Aggies Basketball, Usf Dons Basketball