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Four-Pointer: Previewing the Golden State Warriors

A loss on Tuesday could bring the Warriors back to the pack fighting for a playoff spot.

Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports
What has Golden State done lately?

The Warriors have been a tear since the start of February, going 11-4 over the last two months, including a four-game winning streak with wins over the Pacers and the Suns. As a result, Golden State has put a little distance between themselves and the pack of three (Memphis, Dallas and Phoenix) fighting for the last two playoff spots out West. However, they are still only two games ahead of the Mavs, so Tuesday's game has huge implications for both teams.

Which stat, player of fact might surprise you about the Warriors?

The Warriors are still getting a huge contribution from Jermaine O'Neal, now in his 18th season in the NBA. O'Neal, one of the only players in the league left from the 1996 Draft, makes Dirk Nowitzki, Vince Carter and Shawn Marion look like relative neophytes. He is averaging eight points, five rebounds and one block a game on 50% shooting in 20 minutes a night. If he can remain healthy, he could play an even bigger role in the playoffs, as he is better offensively than Andrew Bogut and better defensively than David Lee (which, to be fair, is not a huge accomplishment).

Which team stat might determine the game?

Both Dallas and Golden State get a huge percentage of their offense from behind the three-point line. Steph Curry is essentially a rich man's Jose Calderon, an elite shooter and playmaker who has a hard time finishing at the rim or playing defense because of his lack of athleticism. Golden State hoists 24 threes a game, with 15 coming from the Splash Brothers duo of Curry and Thompson, while Dallas spreads the wealth around on their 22 threes a game. The team that wins the deep-shooting battle should have a big edge on Tuesday.

What do the Mavs need to do to be successful against the Warriors?

Dallas and Golden State split their first two games of the season -- both nail-biters where the home team eventually prevailed. For the Mavs, bench scoring was the big difference. They got 17 points from their reserves in the loss and 43 in the win. Jae "The Beast" Crowder managed to score 12 in the win, which I find hard to believe actually happened, even though I'm looking at the box score right now. Dallas is going to have trouble getting stops on the road, so they will need Devin Harris and Vince Carter to continue their hot play if they are going to score enough points to win.