OAKLAND -- The Warriors will be short-handed for the fourth consecutive game Thursday night, when they meet the Dallas Mavericks, who themselves aren’t exactly a picture of health.
The Warriors (22-6), who have won seven straight, without three starters: point guard Stephen Curry, forward Draymond Green and center Zaza Pachulia. Guard Nick Young, a top scorer off the bench, also will be out.
Ex-Warriors small forward Harrison Barnes returns to Oracle Arena as one of the leaders of the Mavericks (8-20), who are facing the prospect of back-to-back losing seasons for the first time since Mark Cuban bought them in 2000. Guards Seth Curry and Dennis Smith Jr. will not be available for Dallas.
Warriors by 10.5
MATCHUP TO WATCH
Jordan Bell vs. Harrison Barnes: Even if Bell doesn’t start at “center,” though it makes sense that he would, he should see plenty of Barnes, who leads the Mavericks in scoring at 18.4 points per game. The two are of similar height and both rank high on the athleticism spectrum. In a game that could feature plenty of cross-matching, Bell-Barnes has the potential to be an intriguing game within the game.
Warriors: G Stephen Curry (R ankle sprain), F Draymond Green (R shoulder soreness), C Zaza Pachulia (L shoulder soreness) and G Nick Young (concussion protocol) are listed as out. C Damian Jones is on assignment with the G-League Santa Cruz Warriors.
Mavericks: G Seth Curry (L tibia stress reaction), F Dorian Finney-Smith (L knee tendinitis), F Josh McRoberts (lower extremity injury), F/C Nerlens Noel (L thumb surgery) and G Dennis Smith Jr. (L hip strain) are listed as out.
Warriors: 9-1. Mavericks: 5-5.
John Goble (crew chief), Matt Boland and CJ Washington.
The Warriors posted a 133-103 win on Oct. 23 in the first of four meetings this season. The Warriors last season swept the three-game series, winning by an average of 15.0 points. They have won the last six meetings, and also the last six games in Oakland. The Warriors have won 15 of the last 18 overall.
THREE THINGS TO WATCH
THE HALL OF FAMERS: NBA players steal moves from each other all the time, and Kevin Durant has lifted a few things from Mavs star Dirk Nowitzki. One such move is the fadeaway off one leg, something Dirk basically patented. Though Nowitzki, 39, averages 25 minutes a game and is fifth among Dallas scorers, he remains one of the sweetest shooters in the league. Durant’s length makes him the ideal defender. On the other side, the Mavs have no one built to contain Durant.
THE SIZE FACTOR: The Warriors tend to play small, while the Mavericks generally opt to play big; the starting front line averaged 6-foot-10 in their last game. Warriors coach Steve Kerr is in the habit of not announcing his replacement starters until shortly before tipoff. Bell, at 6-8, started at center Monday against Portland. Know this: the Warriors will do all they can to force Dallas to go small.
THE PACE GAME: The Mavericks neither shoot well (28th in field goal percentage) nor run well (26th in pace). They’ve been held under 100 points 13 times. They tend to play slow and ugly in hopes of keeping it close. The Warriors, on the other hand, are first in offensive rating, first in field-goal percentage and fifth in pace. With so many players ailing, can they still play in a sprint?