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Clippers at Golden State - Game Preview and Open Thread

2008/2009 NBA Regular Season

Oracle Arena
January 25th, 2009, 6:00 PM
KTLA Channel 5, 710 AM
Probable starters:
Fred Jones PG Monta Ellis
Eric Gordon SG Jamal Crawford
Ricky Davis SF Kelenna Azubuike
Al Thornton PF Stephen Jackson
Marcus Camby C Andris Biedrins

The Back Story:

  • November 15, 2008 in LA: Golden State 121 - Clippers 103 Box Score Recap

The Big Picture:

Here's what I know going into this game. I know that Baron Davis, Zach Randolph, Chris Kaman and Mike Taylor will not play. And I know that the Clippers didn't have enough healthy bodies to have a full practice yesterday. Here's what I don't know. I don't know if Brian Skinner is feeling better. I don't know if Marcus Camby will play. I don't know how long Mardy Collins is going to be out. If none of those three guys can go, the Clippers will have the league minimum 8 players in uniform. And that includes Jason Hart who is still hurting, and pretty useless, not to mention DeAndre Jordan and Cheik Samb who figure to struggle trying to play at the Warriors pace. If Marcus Camby is OK, I actually like the starting lineup I've proposed above against the Warriors. And Steve Novak can provide some effective support off the bench. But I really don't see anyone beyond those six having much chance to contribute in a game where the Dubs are clearly going to dictate the rules. If you take Camby out of the equation, I think the whole thing falls apart. Golden State's style destroys young centers. The good news of course is that Eric Gordon and Al Thornton are coming off a huge game where they combined for 75 points. They'll have to do something similar in Oakland for the Clippers to have a chance.

The Antagonist:

The Warriors are the Clippers-north this season. Injuries? Check. (Although they're starting to get healthy now.) Organizational dysfunction? Check. 30 plus losses already? Check. Heartbreaking losses in close games? Check. The difference is that Monta Ellis is now back (he scored 20 in his first game back), and it's time for the Warriors to start showing what they can do if they want to prove that their 13-31 record is not indicative of the real level of this team going forward. Frankly, they should have no problem with the $11M-Clippers. Even without Ellis, the Dubs have a 9-11 home record, and they will really want this win. It's the final game of 7 at home in which they are 3-3 so far - and the three losses have been in triple OT against the Kings, and on buzzer beaters against the Thunder and the Cavs in their last two. Ouch. At any rate, they want this one to at least salvage a winning record for the home stand. The team is getting close to full strength - they were missing Jamal Crawford on Friday, but he may play in this one. So they've got the motivation and the bodies to win this game.

The Subplots

  • Gordon and Thornton. The Warriors NBA worst defense should at least allow the Clippers two young scorers to pad their resumes prior to Monday's voting for the Rookie and Sophomore teams on All Star weekend. Seems like they're both locks at this point, but you never know. I have to think that Gordon will absolutely kill Monta, and Crawford has never shown a lot of interest in defense, so EJ in particular could have a big game.
  • Wacky, zany, madcap Don Nelson. Stephen Jackson is his power forward! Basically, Nellie's playing Andris Biedrins and 4 guards. It's never dull with Nellie calling the shots. Ronny Turiaf is Biedrins backup, but Friday against Cleveland the next biggest Warrior to get in the game was Corey Maggette.
    Speaking of Stephen Jackson. It's no wonder that Action Jackson wants Baron back in Oakland - he's one of the only players in the NBA capable of making Jackson's shooting look OK by comparison. Jax is shooting under 40% from the field, and 31% from three. Of course, this doesn't keep him from shooting. He takes more than 16 shots per game, and 5 of those are threes! The light is always green when you play for Don Nelson.
    Maggette the Warrior. I find the buyer's remorse over Maggette up in the east bay pretty weird, especially when you consider how much they seem to love Jackson. Corey is averaging one tenth of a point less than Jax - in fewer minutes and on 3.4 fewer shots per game. And Jackson turns the ball over much more frequently than Corey, which we know is not easy to do. Corey's shooting percentage is way up in January, and is now right at his career average. I know that Jackson does other things too - he handles the ball a lot for the Dubs, he averages 6 assists per game, he's a leader. But Maggette is giving them pretty much exactly what he's always done, which is something that they needed - a more efficient scoring option.
    Anthony Morrow. After he came out of nowhere to score 37 points on the Clippers in LA in November, he followed that up with a 25 point performance. And then he went 9 straight in single digits, including 2 DNPs. He scored 19 on Friday, so he's still capable, if a bit up and down. He's leading the entire NBA in three point percentage at an insane 52%, so I'd recommend that the Clippers get up on this guy.
  • Andris Biedrins - Latvian All Star. So Biedrins is probably not actually going to be the first Latvian to make an All Star team, but a little like Marcus Camby, he'd be getting a lot of consideration if he didn't play for such a bad team. He's third in the NBA in rebounding at a dozen a game (behind Dwight Howard and Camby) and he's averaging 13.5 points per game while shooting almost 56%, 9th best in the league. He shoots a high percentage partly because he knows his limitations - but he catches the ball well around the basket and he finishes well, which are two very nice attributes in a center. If Camby isn't around to keep him in check, he may well get 20 rebounds against the Clippers.
  • Superstar for one game. I'm going to utilize a little known loophole in the rules and go with Monta Ellis. I'm not normally allowed to pick one of the top players for this designation, except in the case of a recent return from a moped injury. When I wrote that rule years ago, I never really thought it would come into play, but here we are.
    Get the Warriors perspective at Golden State of Mind. Unstoppable, baby!