Warriors-Raptors Preview

Associated Press  |  Last updated January 27, 2013
The Golden State Warriors' offense was clicking and they were dominating the glass against Eastern Conference opponents. Then the calendar turned to 2013. Golden State will try to avoid a third straight loss on its Eastern swing Monday night when it faces the struggling Toronto Raptors. While starting 13-2 against the East this season, the Warriors (26-17) shot 47.3 percent and averaged 101.6 points with a plus-5.5 rebound margin. In three January games against East opponents, Golden State is scoring 88.0 points per game on 37.8 percent shooting. The Warriors outrebounded Miami 52-51 in a 92-75 loss on Jan. 16, but that was their lowest point total of the season. Golden State had 19 fewer boards than Chicago in Friday's 103-87 road loss before getting outrebounded 58-50 on Saturday in a 109-102 loss to Milwaukee. Golden State has been outscored 71-25 in second-chance points during its skid against the East. "We've got to get back to who we are,'' coach Mark Jackson said. "... When you allow a team to dominate you on the boards and get second-chance points it sucks the life out of your defense.'' Warriors guard Stephen Curry (career-best 21.0 ppg) is averaging 25.8 in five games since missing two with an ankle injury. Curry, though, knows he and his teammates have to do a better on the glass to help Carl Landry and All-Star forward David Lee, who is among the NBA leaders with 27 double-doubles. "We really have to make a concerted effort to find bodies," Curry said. "We don't have many guys that can just jump up over guys and grab rebounds." Toronto (16-28) is scoring 104.4 points per game – 6.6 more than its season average – on 48.9 percent shooting in its last seven games, but it has won just two of those. All were decided by seven points or fewer. "We've got to make sure we play every possession, not take a possession off," coach Dwane Casey said after his team's 99-98 loss to Cleveland on Saturday when Kyrie Irving hit a 3-pointer with 0.7 seconds left. "... When we really understand that in winning time, we'll be a special team, but right now we'll still recognizing those situations." With Andrea Bargnani (torn elbow ligament) and rookie center Jonas Valanciunas (broken finger) not expected back for about a week and a half, the Raptors will need forwards Amir Johnson and Ed Davis to keep producing. Johnson is averaging 14.6 points and 9.1 boards over the last 10 games, while Davis is scoring a team-best 14.9 with 8.2 rebounds during this stretch. "They've been playing well this whole stretch," Casey said. So has Alan Anderson, who is scoring a team-best 18.2 points per game over the last six. The Raptors need someone to slow down Curry, whose 30.3-point average in four games against Toronto is by far his highest against any team. He was sidelined with a strained tendon in his right foot as the host Raptors won 83-75 on March 4 to end a five-game skid in this series and avoid a third consecutive loss with Golden State in town. Lee has averaged 21.9 points and 13.1 rebounds in his last seven games versus Toronto.
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