Game #6 Preview: The Night Where We Find Out If Early-Season Trends Are Meaningful

Golden State Warriors @ Indiana Pacers
Conseco Fieldhouse
Indianapolis, Indiana
7:00 PM EST

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Glossary: Offensive Rating | Defensive Rating | eFG% | Pace

The Golden State Warriors franchise is a mess. Nellie Ball should be the team’s identity, but at this point, the ongoing conflict in the front office, the distraction provided by our old friend Stephen Jackson and an in-game rotation that I’ll just call “curious” are outweighing everything else.

Since the team from the Bay will only cross the Pacers’ path twice this year (tonight and again on November 30 in Oakland), however, all that sideshow stuff is secondary to what really matters: The Pacers need to take care of business on their home floor against one of the worst teams in the NBA. Indeed, if the Pacers can’t extend their win streak to three this evening against Golden State, it will re-open the harsh criticism that the team was facing from all side prior to the win last week in New York — and rightfully so.

The Warriors play an up-tempo brand of basketball that is faster than any other in the NBA (with 102.2 possessions per game), and while they do score in bunches (they lit up Sacramento Minnesota for 146 points on Monday night) and they do shoot a high percentage (they are 5th in the NBA in FG% at 48.2% and 4th in 3PT% at 42.4%), they are not the most efficient offense in the world. They turn the ball over 16 times per game, which is a very high number and one that would have led the NBA last season. (Although it somehow is still lower than the Pacers current, disgusting, 17-turnover-per-game average). The Warriors also don’t get many offensive rebounds and shoot poorly from the line.

The even better news is that Golden State is a pathetic defensive team.

What all this means is that tonight’s opponent is the ideal test to see if the Pacers early-season trends are something we’re likely to see all year long. The Pacers have been essentially the inverse of the Warriors: A terrible offensive team that plays above-average defense.

The team probably won’t stop Golden State from putting a ton of points on the board — particularly since the Pacers like to play fast themselves. But if the defense is as good as it has looked so far, they should be able to hold them to around 45% shooting from the field. And more importantly, the Warriors porous defense should provide the perfect opportunity for the Pacers offense to come out of its shell. I mean, if this team can’t put 100 points up tonight, it really is time to start to worry were the scoring is going to come from.

So, please, bring on the Warriors. And, please, let them be Danny’s slump-busters.

(Final note: “The Five-Game Report: Vol. I” is taking a little longer than expected. Sorry. Trying to find a good template to use going forward has been a bit of a learning process. It’s possible that it still goes up before the game tonigh, but worst-case, it will be tomorrow before I head off to Ohio for the weekend, during which things will probably also be slow around the site.)

warriors_playoffs_nba

The Baron Davis “We Believe” Era is now a distant memory in the Bay. And Golden State’s defense is now so bad that if the Pacers can’t put up points tonight, Indiana’s offense might have some major problems.

Topics: Game #6, Game Previews, Golden State Warriors, Stephen Jackson

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  • Tim Donahue

    One game can make a huge difference this early in numbers. The Pacers turnovers are skewed by the 25 TO game at Atlanta (averaging 15.0 pg in the other 4, which is average), while Golden State’s offensive numbers are really skewed by the Minnesota outburst on Monday…that game took their OffRtg from under 103 to over 108.

    The worry here for the Pacers is GS’s shooting ability. If the Pacers have another bad shooting start, and Golden State’s shooters get hot, then it could get away from Indy really quickly.

    Also, I’m sure this has been noticed and commented on before, but I find it amusing that the three letter abbreviation used by the NBA and most of their sites for the Warriors (GSW) is also used as an Emergency Room/Cop acronym for Gun Shot Wound. Seems like there’s some mileage to be made from the coincidence.

  • http://vittoriodezen.wordpress.com Vic De Zen

    This really should be a fun game. Could have both teams scoring in the 120′s, easy.

  • Jared Wade

    Indeed, TD. But even 15 per is too many — even at Indy’s pace.

    Basically, all these numbers are dumb until mid-December at the earliest. But they are all we have to go off of until then. And it’s not like I’m going to actually analyze the Warriors roster. I mean, even I don’t have that kind of time to waste.

  • kester

    I’ll chime in for watching the steals and turnovers…the Warriors have a plus-20 TO ratio, again, mostly based on their murder of Minnesota…and they stole the ball 22 times vs the ‘wolves. Those figures aren’t typical of their other games, but they’ll be trying to turn us over, and we’ve shone ourselves vulnerable to that before.

  • Tim Donahue

    18 tonight was too many, but offset it by just killing them on the glass..ORB% was a .327, and DRB% was .820, for a combined 1.147. The last three games have been top ten by DefRtg (pts allowed per 100) during the O’Brien administration, and it’s the first time they’ve held the opponents under 100 on DRtg since late November/early December 2007.

    Of course, it’s useful to remember that the DefRtg was around 103 last November, so…long season to go.

    Great to see Danny hitting some shots. Awesome game by him.

  • Amadou O’Bird

    The defense is ahead of the offense. Three victories over teams with problems, so it’s hard for Indiana fans to get elated; still the rotations are looking pretty good, ball pressure is much improved, and they’re even getting turnovers. As I write, Indiana is eighth in DRtg. Washington couldn’t get anything going until the Pacers relaxed and started giving up offensive boards; better job against GS – Monta Ellis got hung up shooting jump shots and taken out of the middle of the floor. The Warriors had success using Maggette against Hansbrough; as soon as Tyler came in, they started working it. Tyler got most of it back, though, on the other end. Indiana did a very effective job of taking them out of a team game, and out of their transition game. It has to be said, though, that the Warriors looked tired, and the drama between Jack and Coach was right out in the open – that can’t have been good for morale or team energy.

  • Amadou O’Bird

    So how’d your predictions turn out?

    “The team probably won’t stop Golden State from putting a ton of points on the board … they should be able to hold them to around 45% shooting from the field.”

    They shot .402, and .267 from the arc and scored 94 points in a quick game.

    “…if this team [Indiana] can’t put 100 points up tonight, it really is time to start to worry where the scoring is going to come from.”

    Mission accomplished. 18 turnovers for the Pacers, though, really undermines their offense (four each for Hibbert, Dahntay, and Granger)…

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