Warriors at Hornets
The reeling Golden State Warriors have failed to bring themselves up to the level of competition lately. Perhaps a visit to the lowly New Orleans Hornets on Saturday will provide a better matchup. The Warriors are riding a season-long three-game losing streak and have dropped five of their last six - all to playoff-caliber teams. The Hornets have been trending in the opposite direction by winning six of their past seven.
New Orleans’ recent surge has come thanks to a strong effort on the defensive end. In all six of their recent wins the opposition has failed to reach 100 points, culminating in a 90-78 triumph at the Boston Celtics on Wednesday. Golden State’s problem runs right into the Hornets’ newfound strength, as the Warriors have struggled to score in the last two weeks. Leading scorer Stephen Curry has missed the past two games with an ankle injury but Golden State had hit its rough patch even before then in failing to reach 90 points during back-to-back losses on Jan. 5 and 9.
TV: 8 p.m. ET, CSBA (Golden State), FSNO (New Orleans)
ABOUT THE WARRIORS (23-15): Curry is still listed as day-to-day after suffering the ankle injury in practice on Wednesday morning. Without Curry on the floor, Golden State shot 36.3 percent in a 92-75 home loss to Miami and managed only 15 fourth-quarter points in Friday’s 95-88 setback at San Antonio. Jarrett Jack has started in Curry’s place, robbing the bench of its most potent perimeter scorer. The Warriors head home for two straight games after New Orleans but will be going up against the top two teams in the West in the Los Angeles Clippers and Oklahoma City Thunder before heading back out onto the road for a four-game trip.
ABOUT THE HORNETS (13-26): New Orleans’ recent hot streak has propelled the team out of the Western Conference basement and into 14th place, one game ahead of the Phoenix Suns. Al-Farouq Aminu has joined the starting lineup and is becoming a force in the frontcourt, averaging 10.3 rebounds over the last eight games. Aminu scored a season-high 18 points in the win at Boston on Wednesday and his emergence alongside rookie Anthony Davis and Robin Lopez gives the Hornets a frontcourt that can match up with the likes of Golden State’s David Lee, Harrison Barnes and Carl Landry. Greivis Vasquez has been the most consistent scorer and playmaker while Eric Gordon slowly works his way back from knee problems. Gordon has averaged 16.9 points in eight games while having his minutes monitored.
1. Vasquez is reportedly dealing with flu-like symptoms and is day-to-day.
2. Golden State took the first meeting 103-96 at home on Dec. 18. Lee led the way with 26 points and Ryan Anderson scored 28 for New Orleans.
3. Warriors F Andrew Bogut (ankle) participated in morning shoot around on Friday. Bogut has been out since Nov. 8 and there is no timetable for his return.