The Santa Cruz Warriors are now 8-2 after sweeping the Springfield Armor and they are sitting pretty at the top of the D-League standings; however, the Sioux Falls Skyforce are coming into town on New Years Day for a 2 p.m. game, and they're looking to stop the Warriors four game winning streak.
What have they done recently?
The last time the Warriors were on the court they completed the sweep of the visiting Springfield Armor. The first game of the two game series was a shootout that ended up 113-101. Kent Bazemore and Jeremy Tyler were both on assignment from the Golden State Warriors and did a fine job of filling up the stat sheet with points, rebounds, steals and everything else in between. After the game head coach Nate Bjorkgren said that they didn't do a very good job of finishing possessions on the defensive end.
In the second game it was complete shift as it ended up being a grind-it-out defensive battle, but the Warriors prevailed despite their struggles on offense, 88-79. Travis Leslie was the lead scorer in the contest putting in 17 points. Both teams shot less than 40 percent from the field and neither could hang on to the ball. In the end, it was a tough game that was won by effort alone in the final five minutes of the game.
What can we expect?
People attending or tuning into the game can expect Travis Leslie to continue to be the Warriors leading scorer. He's averaged 16.4 points per game and he has also been a fearless and skilled rebounder. What is really impressive about Leslie is how efficient he is. It doesn't matter how many shots he gets, he makes the most of every chance he has. He's shooting an astounding .556 percent from the field and .462 from three land.
You can also expect the Taylor Griffin to return to early season form. In the final five minutes of the Warriors win over the Armor he dominated the low post and it looks like he's finally gotten his confidence back. In his first five games he was the prototype power forward averaging 15.2 points and 9.4 rebounds per game, and if last game was any indication then Griffin will return to top form.
Bjorkgren said that he was impressed with what his bench gave him in the Armor series. It's possible that Cameron Jones, Carlon Brown, Justin Johnson and Chris Johnson could see more playing time against the Skyfall.
Jones has shown that he can come off the bench any given night and not only give energy but he can also score the basketball and end up in double figures.
Johnson is also coming along on the offense and is becoming more comfortable with this team. He's only played five games with the Warriors, but he has been impressive on both ends and it's not out of the question that he might start soon.
Brown and Justin Johnsonhave shown that they can score some points, and while Johnson has been more consistent, Brown was impressive with his array of moves while attacking the rim in the win. Though, he is still trying to make that change from a shooting guard to a point guard which means he will have to improve his passing and ball handling before he sees a significant increase in his minutes.
How will they win?
The Warriors have been winning with defense and it doesn't look like it will change anytime soon. The have held their opponents to less than 44 percent shooting from the field during their four-game winning streak.
Don't expect anything different from this team. They play strong defense, force turnovers, win the rebounding battle, they get out and run in transition and they play with confidence. This is a classic battle of a great offense against a stout defense and if the Warriors play to their strengths they'll have a very happy New Year's day.