The Warriors will try to build on a two-game winning streakwhen they play the defending Western Conference champion Oklahoma City Thunderon Sunday at Chesapeake Energy Arena.The Warriors (5-4) are coming off a 106-98 victory over theTimberwolves in Minnesota on Friday. This is the middle game of a three-gameroad trip for the Warriors. The trip concludes Monday in Dallas.The Thunder (7-3) have won six of their past seven games,including a blowout win over New Orleans on Friday. The Thunder has beaten theWarriors six consecutive games in Oklahoma City.Here are some things to watch for during Sundays gamebetween the Warriors and Thunder:Warriors body language: This is a gamethat few expect the Warriors to win. Theyre going into an Arena where theyhavent won in a while and theyre playing one of the leagues eliteteams.Still, if the Warriors expect to have realistic hopes ofmaking the postseason this season, theyre going to have to win some games thatare unexpected.This would qualify. Lets see if the Warriors have the lookof a team that expects to win.Durant vs. the rookie: Warriors rookieHarrison Barnes has been a big-time bright spot in the teams two recent games.Barnes has shown a knack for scoring and his athleticism sticks out on theWarriors.If you look at the Warriors roster minus Brandon Rush it seems obvious that Barnes is Golden States best option when it comes todefending Kevin Durant.It wont be easy for Barnes, but the reality is that hes abetter option defending Durant than Richard Jefferson, Draymond Green or KlayThompson.Curry vs. Westbrook: Its interesting despite being one of the most dynamic and explosive point guards in the league,Russell Westbrook is still relentlessly criticized for hisdecision-making.And yet Westbrook enters Sundays game averaging 8.5 assistsper game and has an assist-to-turnover ratio of nearly 3-to-1. Curry, on theother hand, has been shaky with the ball this season. He has just 49 assiststhis year and 30 turnovers, a ratio of less than 2-to-1.Since Westbrook has a size and athleticism over Curry, itsimportant that the Warriors point guard plays a steady game and can keepWestbrook honest on defense by making some perimeter shots.
Jordan Bell likely envisioned a longer debut at the United Center.
The Chicago Bulls traded the pick used to select Bell to the Golden State Warriors for cash considerations, and Bell's taken plenty of chances to remind the Bulls to remind them of that fact.
Instead of getting another chance to rub it in, Bell injured his left ankle 24 seconds in to Golden State's 119-112 win over Chicago on Wednesday. On Thursday, Bell and the Warriors learned the results of his MRI, and it's not as bad as the team first feared, according to head coach Steve Kerr.
"Well, it seemed a lot worse at the time when it happened. Everyone kind of thought he had a broken a bone just based on his reaction [and] what he was telling us," Steve Kerr told Damon Bruce on 95.7 The Game. "But the MRI was pretty good this morning. Nothing glaring.
"The X-ray was fine yesterday. So it doesn't appear to be more than a bone bruise but bone bruises can be tricky to heal, so we'll see what happens. But so far, the news has all been good."
Bell has emerged as a bench contributor in his first NBA season. In 38 games, he's averaging 5.1 points, 3.9 rebounds, 1.8 assists, and 1.1 blocks in 14.4 minutes.
After sending four players to the NBA All-Star Game last season in New Orleans, the Warriors are halfway to repeating the feat this season.
Point guard Stephen Curry and small forward Kevin Durant were voted in as Western Conference starters for the game scheduled for Feb. 18 at Staples Center in Los Angeles, the NBA announced on Thursday.
Though Curry has missed 15 games -- nearly one-third of the season -- it has not hurt his popularity; His No. 30 is the NBA’s best-selling jersey for the third straight season. He is averaging team-leading 27.7 points, 6.5 assists and 5.3 rebounds, and 1.65 steals per game.
Curry is the first member of the Warriors to be named a starter for five consecutive All-Star games. As the player with the most fan votes, Curry becomes a captain and is in position to select the members of his team.
Durant, who has missed eight games this season, was named as a starter for the sixth time, the first four coming when he was a member of the Thunder.
Durant is averaging 26.2 points (fifth in the league) 6.9 rebounds, 5.4 assists and 2.05 blocks (fourth in the league) per game.