Golden State cannot afford to lose to lottery teams as they are making their final push to lock up a playoff spot. With the Houston Rockets just one game behind them, they need to continue winning and hang onto the sixth seed to avoid facing the San Antonio Spurs or the Oklahoma City Thunder in the first round of the playoffs.
The Warriors are 3-0 against the Hornets this season and look to continue the trend of winning with a sweep of the season series from the Hornets for the first time in 17 years. Jarrett Jack and Carl Landry will need to come up big off of the bench against their former New Orleans squad.
Jack and Landry have evolved into one of the best bench duos in the league. Jack has averaged 16.7 points and nine assists against his former team, and Landry is coming off of his best game of the season with 25 points and 10 rebounds.
Stephen Curry will look to keep the hot hand that he had over the weekend when he scored 39 against the Portland Trail Blazers and connected on 7-12 from beyond the arc. Curry is averaging 26.4 points on 49% shooting and 6.8 assists over the last 10 games.
Curry and second year player Klay Thompson need to take advantage of the Hornets poor defending of the three-point line. Opponents are shooting nearly 40% from beyond the arc this season and Curry and Thompson are capable of being the most deadly three-point shooting back court in the league. Curry has connected on a franchise record 236 three-pointers to lead the NBA and Thompson has made 192 from beyond the arc, the third most in the league. The Warriors are the best three-point shooting team in the league at 40%.
The Hornets have improved over the course of the season primarily due to a healthy Anthony Davis and the play of Greivis Vasquez. Davis, the first overall pick in last year’s draft, has had an immediate impact on games when healthy. His length and athleticism could pose as a problem for the Warriors. Davis has averaged 13.3 points, eight rebounds, and 1.7 blocks in his rookie year.
As for Vasquez, he is a candidate for the Most Improved Player award. He has averaged 14 points and 9.2 assists this season, well up from his career average of 8.9 points and 5.6 assists.
While the Hornets have been playing better as of late, they are just 10-25 on the road this season. Golden State needs to put them away early and create a golden opportunity to rest their starters. With the magic number down to five, the Warriors are starting to taste their first playoff berth since 2007.
You can follow Rich Peters on twitter @Tricky_Roma.