Programming note: Warriors-Hornets coverage starts today at 3:30 p.m. with Warriors Pregame Live on Comcast SportsNet Bay Area (territory restrictions apply)
When the Warriors recall the highs and lows last season, there always is the inevitable reference to the Charlotte Bobcats.
Ask Stephen Curry which teams swept the Warriors, and his answer is instant.
"The Bobcats," he said a few days ago.
The same question to Klay Thompson and Andrew Bogut prompts the same two-word response. And just as fast.
The Warriors will be out to flip the script Friday night when they meet the Hornets, formerly the Bobcats, at Time Warner Cable Arena in Charlotte. After a 112-87 victory over the Hornets on Nov. 15 at Oracle Arena, another win would give the Warriors a sweep of the season series.
A glance at the recent fortunes of each team suggests there is a reasonable chance of that. The Warriors (12-2) have been superb in winning seven straight, the Hornets (4-12) have lost their last seven.
One of the keys for the Warriors has been Curry's spectacular all-around play. He's shooting and passing and defending at an exception level. Even his rebounding has been impressive, particularly for a point guard whose athleticism is questioned.
"I don't think anybody can play better," coach Steve Kerr said after shootaround Friday morning. "I don't know how you could, because he's doing everything. He's taking care of the ball, he's draining shots from all over the courts and he's getting his teammates involved with assists and decision-making. And, defensively, he's been one of our best individual defenders.
"If there's anything left, let me know and I'll tell him stuff that he can improve on."
For most of the past season-plus, Curry's highlighted problem area has been turnovers. He has done a fabulous job of reducing those numbers. He averaged 4.8 turnovers over the first six games, but is averaging 2.2 over the last eight.
"I'm just trying to make the simple play, stay out of danger zones on the court, getting trapped," Curry said Friday. "Allowing our offense to dictate where the open spaces are, I don't have to make homerun plays or try to thread the needle. Just find the open guy and make a simple play and allow the rest of the talent to take over."
Said Kerr: "He's always been a high-risk, high-reward player. The last couple weeks, he's become a low-risk, high-reward player. It's incredible."
Back in his hometown, with more than 60 family and friends expected to attend, Curry will try to be incredible yet again.
MATCHUPS TO WATCH:
Andrew Bogut vs. Al Jefferson. Big Al is one of the three toughest matchups in the league for Bogut – and many other big men – because of his fabulous footwork and dazzling array of post moves. The counter to that is Bogut these days also makes his man play defense, which is not Jefferson's strength.
Stephen Curry vs. Kemba Walker. Nobody felt that Bobcats sweep more acutely than Curry, who grew up in Charlotte. That Walker was the fourth-quarter catalyst in that Hornets victory, was witnessed by dozens of Curry's family and friends, surely lingers in his mind.
KEYS TO VICTORY:
1) Wear the track shoes. A fast pace would hurt the Hornets, a methodical squad that prefers a deliberate tempo.
2) Keep Bogut on the floor. When Jefferson is on his game, he can get anybody in foul trouble.
3) Home cooking. Most of the Warriors had Thanksgiving dinner at the home of Curry's parents, Dell and Sonya, so it's time to ride the energy provided by that meal.
Warriors – G Leandro Barbosa (sprained right knee) is listed as questionable. F David Lee (strained left hamstring) is listed as out.
Hornets – G Kemba Walker (right thigh contusion), G Gary Neal (left shoulder sprain), G P. J. Hairston (sprained right thumb) and F Marvin Williams (left shoulder sprain) are listed as questionable. F Michael Kidd-Gilchrist (stress reaction, right foot) is listed as out.
The Warriors were swept (0-2) by the Hornets/Bobcats last season and have lost 11 of 14 games against the Hornets in Charlotte.