|2010/2011 NBA Regular Season|
|January 22nd, 2011, 7:30 PM|
|FSN Prime Ticket, KFWB 980 AM|
The Back Story:
- October 29th, 2010, in Oakland - Golden State 109, Clippers 91 Box Score Recap
- January 9th, 2010, in Los Angeles - Box Score Recap 105, Golden State 91
- January 14th, 2010, in Oakland - Golden State 122, Box Score Recap 112
The Big Picture:
Didn't we just play these guys? Like, twice? There's not a whole lot to say about the Warriors that hasn't been said already. The Clippers need to press their advantage inside, use their bigger guards to punish the Warriors backcourt, defend the three point line, and try to keep the high-scoring Warriors guards under control. In three meetings this season, the home team has won easily each time. Still, I worry about getting too complacent, even if this game is in Staples. When the Warriors came to LA a couple of weeks ago, Monta Ellis and Stephen Curry were SOOOO BADDDD that it just wasn't a relevant exercise. Basically, in the games in which Ellis and Curry have played well against the Clippers, the Warriors have won.
The Warriors are in the midst of a stretch of home games to rival the stretch of road games the Clippers will experience in February. They just finished five at home, they've got this one in LA, followed by eight more at home. That's 13 out of 14 at home, and 16 straight in the state of California. They're taking advantage of it so far, riding a four game home winning streak. They are a much better home team (13-7) than road team (6-16), which has certainly been the case for their games against the Clippers so far. The weird thing is that their home/road mix at this point isn't that lopsided - 3 more road games than home games after tonight. Which means that after this home stand ends, the Warriors will have a road heavy schedule the rest of the season. It must be noted that while the Warriors are on a 4 game winning streak, their best such streak in three seasons, they haven't exactly been dominating. For one thing, the victims (Clippers, Nets, Pacers and Kings) all had losing records. In their last two games, they needed a last second shot by Monta Ellis for the win against Indiana, and another last second Monta jumper to force overtime against the Kings.
- Ellis Injured? In the final seconds of overtime against the Kings, Monta Ellis had his ankle rolled in a melee going after a loose ball. He had to be carried off the court. Since the game was already decided, there was no need for him to return, and there's not much word on the injury at this time. A tweet from the Warriors says it's a sprained left ankle and will be X-rayed Saturday morning. It's hard to imagine him playing on a back to back with a sprained ankle, but he is an iron man - he's leading the league in minutes per game. Another tweet from Warriors beat writer Geoff Lepper says Monta's status for tonight's game is "TBD".
- The Road to 41. We went to a lot of trouble around here to devise a road map for how the Clippers could get to .500 by the end of the season. The Warriors path is much easier. They're only 4 games below .500 now, and if they can get this road game tonight in LA (and let's face it, every road team always thinks they have a chance against the Clippers), then a simple 6-2 record in their next 8 home games gets them a game above .500.
- Three point shooting. The first three games against the Warriors have all been statistical outliers. The Warriors made 14 three pointers in each of their wins, shooting 14 for 24 and 14 for 26. That is the most threes the Clippers have allowed in a game this season, which is pretty significant when you consider (a) the Clippers have allowed a crapload of threes this season and (b) the Warriors have done it TWICE. In the other meeting, the Warriors made 7 of 22. So, yeah, if the Warriors make 14 (or more) threes, they'll probably win, and if they make 7 (or fewer), they'll probably lose. But what happens if they make, say, a normal amount? They average about 9 a game, which is third most in the NBA.
- Back to back, following overtime. The Kings have been trying to help out this week. For the second game in a row, the Kings took a team to overtime the night before they were facing the Clippers. Of course, since the Clippers are also chasing those teams in the standings, if the Kings REALLY wanted to help, they'd actually win the game, but I guess that's too much too ask. At any rate, the Clippers had the day off Friday, while the Warriors key guys played HUGE minutes in Sacramento: Lee 43, Curry 44, Wright 46 and Ellis 49. Of course Ellis also has the ankle issue to deal with.
- Gordon's Finger. Eric Gordon's finger certainly doesn't appear to be causing any issues with his game. He scored 18 points in 21 second half minutes after returning to the Minnesota game in which he injured it, and then he hit a career high 7 three pointers against the Blazers on his way to 35 last night. Who knows how much pain he's in, but hopefully he can keep playing this way.
- Gordon's three point percentage. Gordon's three point shooting touch has, as we knew it would, returned with a vengeance. Gordon opened the season in a terrible slump from deep - in his first eight games, he made only 6 of 40 three point attempts, and was still below 25% (19 for 82) for the season at the end of November. But since the last game in November, he's made 63 of 142, a sizzling 44%. He's raised his season percentage to .364, only a little below his career mark coming into the season of .380. At his current pace, he'll end up having his best season shooting the three by the end of the year. With 79 threes in 40 games, he's on pace to break Rasual Butler's Clippers single season record for three pointers made of 145.
- Tired Clippers? The Clippers had one of their poorer showings of the season last night in Portland, and after playing four games in five nights, it seems that fatigue may have been a factor. Lisa Dillman says that Griffin and Gordon "both looked exhausted after logging 44-plus minutes against the Trail Blazers". It doesn't get tougher than four games in five nights, but unfortunately for the Clippers the schedule stays pretty brutal, with an astounding five pairs of back to backs in their next 18 games. So it wasn't enough to have an 11 game road trip - the NBA schedule makers had to cram it full of back to backs as well. Ouch.
- Home court advantage. The Clippers have now won six straight at home and have run their season record in Staples Center to 13 and 13, a pretty remarkable accomplishment when you consider that they started the season 1-6 at home.
- Getting back on track. The best way for the Clippers to get past a disheartening loss to the Blazers Thursday night is to start a new winning streak tonight.
- Curry. Steph Curry had one of his best games of the season last night. He scored 34 in the win over the Kings, the twelfth 30 point night of his career. Of course, we all remember another time the Clippers faced Curry without Monta around - he went for 36, 13 assists and 10 rebounds in the only triple double of his career.
You know, [women] do not really condemn any weakness: rather, they try to humiliate or disarm our strengths. That is why women are the reward, not of the warrior, but of the criminal.Albert Camus, The Fall. French Existentialism, anyone?
- Get the Warriors perspective at Golden State of Mind.