Pacers vs. Warriors: Key Matchups to Watch in East-West Showdown

Matt Silverston@@mattman_nbaContributor IIJanuary 20, 2014

Feb 26 2013; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Indiana Pacers guard George Hill (3) gets punched by Golden State Warriors guard Klay Thompson (11) as a fight breaks out during the game at Bankers Life Fieldhouse. Mandatory Credit: Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports
Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

Two of the hottest teams in the NBA square off in Oakland Monday night as the Golden State Warriors host the Indiana Pacers in a potential NBA Finals preview. With a combined 15-5 record over their last 10 games, this game boils down to three big-time matchups between NBA All-Star candidates.

With Andre Iguodala facing Paul George, David West matching up with David Lee and George Hill looking to slow down Stephen Curry, it's going to be a brawl almost like their matchup last February.

West and Lee might actually throw punches. West is known for being one of the most physical forwards in the league and is extremely efficient from 15 feet and closer—averaging 12 points on fewer than 11 attempts per game.

Frank Vogel spoke with The Indianapolis Star about West's impact on the Pacers following a win in Washington, claiming that he "could average 20 and 10 if he wanted to, but he's leading our team in sacrifice and team play."

Lee's having another solid offensive year with almost 20 points and 10 rebounds a game. However, he's shooting only 45 percent from the floor over his last four games.

Indiana's size is daunting, so expect Lee to settle for jump shots. West, on the other hand, will look for his spots and facilitate, but he'll spend his energy on defense.

If Lee struggles with all the inside attention, look for Curry to make his presence known.

Frank Franklin II/Associated Press

Curry enters Monday night's game on a tear. Over his last two games, he's sinking 32.5 points on 53 percent shooting to go along with 9.5 assists and 3.5 steals per game.

Indiana will stick George Hill on Curry, and he'll need all the luck he can get. It's not that Hill is a poor defender—he forced John Wall into 13 points on 4-15 shooting in Januarybut when Curry gets hot, the only thing that can stop him is himself.

Hill will shadow Curry for most of the game because the Pacers don't need him to double-team in the paint. However, Curry's best offense is better than Hill's best defense. Outside of taking care of the basketball, Hill has his hands full.

Also, it'll be hard to miss Iguodala and George matching up on the wing.

Iguodala is not an offensive catalyst for the Warriors, so he'll focus on limiting George's impact. He'll need to play well if the Warriors hope to win.

Paul George paces the Pacers and has dominated the opposition lately. In Indiana's last three games, he's averaging 30-plus points on almost 59 percent shooting, including 63 percent shooting from behind the arc.

Those are video game numbers.

Hopefully, Iguodala iced up plenty because he's got his work cut out for him. He's probably tired of hearing about Kevin Durant's 54-point game against Golden State and now he'll have to face this:

Between physical play, high risers and NBA All-Star candidates, this game is a must-see.

Get your popcorn out.