Los Angeles Clippers vs. Golden State Warriors - Game Preview

2010/2011 NBA Regular Season
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vs.
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13-24
15-23
Oracle Arena
January 14th, 2011, 7:30 PM
FSN Prime Ticket, KFWB 980 AM
Probable starters:
Baron Davis PG Stephen Curry
Eric Gordon SG Monta Ellis
Ryan Gomes SF Dorell Wright
Blake Griffin PF David Lee
DeAndre Jordan C Andris Biedrins

 

The Back Story:

The Big Picture:

Didn't I already write a Clippers-Warriors preview this week? Why, yes, as a matter of fact, I did. These teams met at Staples Center on Sunday in a game won by the Clippers 105-91. The Warriors were pretty dreadful in that game, to the point that I was pretty critical of the Clippers in my recap (most thought overly so) and LA still managed to maintain a double digit lead the entire second half. I think it's safe to say that the Warriors will play better at home - they are after all 9-7 in Oakland versus 6-16 on the road - so the Clippers will have to play better as well if they want another win. It's also worth noting the Warriors have already beaten the Clippers once in Oakland this season, by a score very similar to the one from the meeting in LA, 109-91. Can a road team make one of these meetings interesting? I have a feeling the Clippers will do so tonight. Still, this one has 'trap' written all over. The Clippers are coming off the emotional high of beating the Heat Wednesday night. The just beat this Warriors team handily a few days ago. They have the Lakers looming this Sunday. All the signs indicate that the Clippers are going to overlook the Warriors. However, as long as Blake Griffin and Eric Gordon and Baron Davis are playing basketball and having fun, it seems like the rest might fall into place. There's no indication at this point that Griffin will be limited in Oakland by his issues with back spasms Wednesday night. The Clippers did not practice Thursday as Vinny Del Negro gave them the day off; makes some sense as the game plan for the Warriors can't have changed much in five days.

The Antagonist:

It turns out that Monta Ellis was battling illness when the Warriors and Clippers played last Sunday. Meanwhile, Stephen Curry was dealing with a sore hip and foul trouble. (I'm not sure what David Lee's excuse is.) The point is that Golden State's top players all played poorly in the last meeting, with the exception of Dorell Wright. You have to assume that those guys are going to step up tonight. While the Clippers were hanging on against Miami on Wednesday night, the Warriors were losing a heartbreaker at home to the Lakers. Ellis seemed fine in that one, putting up 38 after scoring only 13 versus the Clippers. (By the way, does anyone know who guarded Ellis in the Lakers-Dubs game? Just looking to get in a Kobe defense jab.) Wright had another huge night, putting up his second straight 27 point game. But the Warriors' supporting cast, after Ellis, Curry, Wright and Lee, may be as bad as the Heat's. Golden State's centers, Andris Biedrins and Dan Gadzuric, combined for 5 points, 7 rebounds and 10 fouls in 42 minutes against the Lakers, after similarly disastrous results against the Clippers. 

The Subplots

  • Viewing party! We're watching the game at The Beach Club in Long Beach, 5755 E. PCH, near the University. Sorry about the short notice, but it was a whim. The team is on too nice a roll to miss out on a chance to watch with other fans - come on out and join us.
  • Read the other preview. Rather than steal a bunch of stuff from Sunday's preview, I'll just encourage you to go re-read it if you're interested. Most of it still applies of course. I'll keep this short and sweet with a few updates specific to the last few days.
  • Improving on the problems. The issues I complained about after Sunday's game had to do with focus and execution. The Clippers want to play fast and aggressive, because that's when LA's at its best. BUT, they don't want to get out of control, because that's what the Warriors want to happen. The Clippers need to keep the turnovers down, and make the solid play on the break.
  • Wright on a tear. As I mentioned, Dorell Wright scored 27 in each of his last two games, against the Lakers and Clippers. Ryan Gomes has had two of his best games of the season defending Kevin Durant and LeBron James - but can he stop Dorell Wright? I failed to mention last week, but it almost goes without saying, that Wright is a leading candidate for Most Improved Player this season.
  • Tired Warriors. Both Wright and Ellis played all 48 minutes of the game against the Lakers. They both play a lot of minutes pretty regularly, so they're used to it. Ellis actually leads the league in total minutes played this season, and Wright is seventh. Even so, 48 is a lot, and it may exact a toll on them tonight.
  • Foul trouble. A factor in the last meeting was that the Warriors bigs got into foul trouble. They got into foul trouble again last night against the Lakers. Blake Griffin creates a lot of havoc for defenses, and one key to the game will be if he can continue to get to the line tonight.
  • Big guard, little guards. The Clippers guards are big and strong; the Warriors guards and thin and wispy. There's not a significant height difference, but a major strength difference. The Clippers will try to post the Warriors guards, particularly Baron, who loves playing in the post. On the other end, the Warriors will try to exploit a quickness advantage.
  • Three straight road wins. After opening the season with eleven straight road losses, the Clippers have now won three straight. So the overall 3-11 road record looks terrible, but this is really a different team.
  • Speaking of three straight. Lost in the excitement over the win itself last night is the fact that it was the Clippers third straight win, tying a season long mark. A win tonight would give them four straight wins overall, as well as four straight on the road.
  • Famous Quotation:

    Ulysses is son to Laertes, but he is father to Telemachus, husband to Penelope, lover of Calypso, companion in arms of the Greek warriors around Troy, and King of Ithaca. He was subjected to many trials, but with wisdom and courage came through them all.... he is a complete man as well, a good man.
    James Joyce. Ulysses. Since I had a strange, non sequitur mention of James Joyce in the Heat preview (I meant to type James Jones in that one), I figure we need him to legitimately make the cut today.
  • Get the Warriors perspective at Golden State of Mind.
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