Programming note: Warriors-Hornets coverage begins on Comcast SportsNet Bay Area at 4:30 p.m. with Warriors Pregame Live. Be sure to stick around after the game for Warriors Postgame Live.
There was supposed to be at least one break.
But it doesn’t appear that the Golden State Warriors will receive even that.
The Warriors began the new year with a schedule that consisted of 11 of 12 opponents with winning records. The Warriors have lost five of their last six games.
The lone break in the string of playoff-contending teams was meant to come today against the New Orleans Hornets.
So much for that.
The Hornets (13-26) have won six of their last seven games, including home wins against the San Antonio Spurs, Houston Rockets and Minnesota Timberwolves.
New Orleans had the worst record (7-25) in the Western Conference prior to its recent run but have the best record in the league at 6-1 since Jan. 5.
The Warriors return home on Monday and host the Los Angeles Clippers and face the Oklahoma City Thunder on Wednesday before traveling to play the Chicago Bulls and Milwaukee Bucks to finish the difficult stretch of schedule.
The Warriors face the following questions heading into tonight’s game in New Orleans:
Will Stephen Curry play?
It’s unclear if the Warriors will have Stephen Curry, who has missed two consecutive games with a sprained right ankle, when they play in New Orleans tonight.
Jackson said after Friday night’s road loss to the San Antonio Spurs regarding Curry’s status: “We don’t know. We are taking it day-by-day. He’ll be fine though. We’re taking it day-by-day and just being very cautious with it and just making sure he’s right before he comes back.”
Curry had started in each of Golden State’s first 36 games before missing the last two games, both losses. The sprain came during shootaround on Wednesday morning to the same ankle that received surgery in back-to-back offseasons entering this season.
Will the former Hornets stand out again?
Former Hornets Jarrett Jack and Carl Landry, both who played with the Hornets last season, were the storyline when New Orleans lost to Golden State 103-96 in Oakland on Dec. 13.
On that night, Jack tallied 14 points and 10 assists while Landry totaled 16 points and nine rebounds, both off the bench.
While Jack was political that night with his answer that he’d been around the league too long to get extra juiced for a game against his former team, Landry was far more candid.
“Jarrett was extra amped up and I was too,” Landry said. “We didn’t need a five-hour, we didn’t need a speech; we didn’t need anything like that. We were ready to play – yesterday.”
The Warriors will likely start Jack at point guard for the third consecutive game if Curry can’t go again tonight. Jack scored 20 points on 9-for-17 shooting and added 10 assists on Friday night to the Spurs. Landry played 29 minutes and added 15 points in last night's loss.
Can the Warriors take care of the basketball once again?
Golden State has to protect each possession to play well on the road. The Warriors, after committing 21 turnovers against the Miami Heat on Wednesday, turned the ball over just nine times against the Spurs.
The Warriors averaged 14.3 turnovers per game in December and 17 turnovers per game thus far in January.
The Warriors backcourt, specifically without Curry, need to do a better job of handling ball pressure.
David Lee update
Lee rolled his ankle in the third quarter against San Antonio and, for a moment, it seemed like he may be the third Warriors star to go down with the same injury.
Lee appeared to be in pain, but with a light sprint to the opposite end of the court and back to the free throw line to shoot, he appeared to be fine. He played the remainder of the game.
Praise from one of the best
San Antonio Spurs coach Gregg Popovich took a moment to compliment the job that Jackson has done this season.
"It's a good win against a heck of a team," Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said following Friday night’s game. "Mark has set a standard and put in a system that is really solid, really good. He's gotten his guys to be into it, they're confident. It's a fine basketball team and they didn't even have two of their best players.