After a full week on the road and a day of rest, the Warriors on Monday returned to their downtown Oakland practice facility to prepare for an intriguing challenge Tuesday night at Oracle Arena.
The Detroit Pistons come to town, and after several years of mediocrity have been rebuilt into an entertaining squad with the goods to make noise in the Eastern Conference.
They've added two particularly intriguing players in forward Josh Smith, formerly of Atlanta, and guard Brandon Jennings, who came over from Milwaukee. They're joining a lineup that includes a couple talented young men in 6-11 power forward Greg Monroe and 6-10, 270-pound center Andre Drummond.
"They're the second-best offensive rebounding team in basketball; the coaches drilled that into our heads at practice,'' power forward David Lee said. "They have a strong 3, 4 and 5.
"But I still think we have one of the best front lines in the west.''
That front line didn't fare so well in the last two games, losses at San Antonio and Memphis. The Spurs won a close game largely with offensive rebounds that extended late possessions. The Grizzlies owned the paint, mostly behind power forward Zach Randolph.
Lee will be trying to come back from two subpar games, as will center Andrew Bogut. Both will be needed, along with backup center Jermaine O'Neal, to keep Detroit's big men and even small forward Smith (7.0 rebounds per game) off the glass.
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"With their size and their depth up front, it's important for us to have Bogut in the ballgame and Jermaine also,'' coach Mark Jackson said, adding that there could be times when he plays Bogut and O'Neal together. "Those guys will play a big role.''
Expect the Warriors to do all they can to precipitate a shootout in their return to Oracle Arena. They have a distinct advantage in shooting, particularly from 3-point range, where their 43.2 percent ranks fourth in the NBA. Detroit ranks No. 26, at 29.8 percent from beyond the arc.