Today, the Golden State Warriors will play the Charlotte Hornets at Oracle Arena, the Warriors’ home stadium. Let’s dive into this matchup and see each team’s strengths and weaknesses.
The Hornets are coming off of a back to back loss against the Portland Trail Blazers in Portland. This situation is always difficult. It is hard enough for a team to bounce back from a loss, but a loss on a back to back where both games are on the road is even more difficult. The Warriors, on the other hand, have not played since Sunday night, when they beat the Portland 113-111. Another thing to keep in mind is that Stephen Curry did not play on Sunday due to the stomach flu. It is clear that the Warriors are the most rested team, and that one of their star players has also had some more rest.
Currently, the Warriors are first in the West division with a record of 41-7 and a win percentage of 85.4%. The Hornets are eighth in the East division with a record of 23-26 and a win percentage of 46.9%. Also, the Warriors have a three game win streak and the Hornets have a five game loss streak. The last time the two teams played each other, on January 25th, the Warriors pulled out a 113-103 victory. The Warriors had a field goal percentage of 47%, compared to the Hornet’s percentage of 41%. The Warriors also had a three point percentage of 39% and the Hornets recorded 30%. The one category where the Hornets edged the Warriors was in free throw percentage, as the Hornets recorded a 95% free throw percentage, compared to the Warriors percentage of 85%.
The total team statistics are also something that should be examined. The Warriors have a league best average of 118 points per game. The Hornets are 16th overall with an average of 105.1 points per game. The Warriors and Hornets are both averaging exactly 45.2 rebounds a game, with the Hornets averaging slightly more offensive rebounds and the Warriors making up for that in defensive rebounds. The Warriors are also averaging 31 assists per game, compared to the Hornet’s 23.3 average. This is somewhat made up for in turnovers, as the Hornets only average 12.1 turnovers a game, compared to the Warriors 15.2 turnovers per game. The Hornets also trail statistic wise in both steals and blocks.
Currently, it seems all odds are in the Warriors favor, as they are ahead in nearly all statistics and Stephen Curry is back in the lineup. But there is one more thing left to consider; injuries. The Warriors starting center, Zaza Pachulia, has been ruled out for tonight’s game with a strained rotator cuff, and the Warriors backup power forward, David West has also been ruled out with an injured thumb. It is true that the Warriors lose depth and rim protection due to these injuries, but the Warriors always fight, even when they do not have their full team. For example, in their last game, they were missing Steph Curry but they were still able to pull out the win. Granted, the game was closer than they probably would have liked, but that does not matter in win percentage.
I think that if the Warriors come out strong and determined, with confidence and a strong desire to win, they will achieve their goal. A focussed Warriors team is a dangerous Warriors team, and I believe that they will show up big time.