The Back Story (Last year's season series tied 2-2):
|10/31/2013||Los Angeles||Clippers 126, Warriors 115||Recap||Box|
|12/25/2013||Oakland||Warriors 105, Clippers 103||Recap||Box|
|1/30/2014||Oakland||Warriors 111, Clippers 92||Recap||Box|
|3/12/2014||Los Angeles||Clippers 111, Warriors 98||Recap||Box|
The Big Picture: To say the Clippers have been lackluster in the early season would be quite the understatement. Until the Jazz game, the Clippers were ice-cold shooting the ball and looked somewhat disjointed — especially in 3rd quarters. One reason for this could be lack of motivation — I mean, who really cares about preseason and I can understand the difficulty in getting up for a shell of OKC, the ghost of Kobe Bryant and the misfits in Sacramento. There will be no such excuse tonight. Short of Serge Ibaka's obsession with Blake's nether bits, the Warriors have been at the forefront when it comes to cheap shots on Griffin. We shall see if the Dubs continue their cowardly tactics under the leadership of new coach, Steve Kerr.
The Antagonist: The Warriors have been considered by many to be playing the best basketball of the early season, boasting an undefeated record and the best defensive rating in the league. The too-early-to-make-a-rational-judgement results suggest that cutting ties with former coach Mark Jackson was the right move. I have to admit, I always thought that Jackson was holding the Warriors back. It is scary to think what they will be able to accomplish with competent courtside leadership. David Lee will be out for the Warriors this game but that shouldn't make that big of a difference. In the playoffs last season, the Dubs had some of their best success going small against the Clips. Draymond Green in particular did a great job stripping the ball from Griffin on numerous occasions. It will be interesting to see if Kerr goes with that match-up tonight.
- Comparison of key metrics. So far this season, the Clippers are pretty average at everything, camping in the middle of the pack on pace and defensive rating, the offensive rating is in the top third of the league — just barely. The Warriors, on the other hand, come into tonight with the league's top defensive rating; allowing a mere 87.5 points a game. They are also tops in the league when it comes to pace. they are right in the middle when it comes to offensive rating.
- The Questionable Blogger. I caught up with Nate Parham from SB Nation's Golden State of Mind to gauge his feelings on the Warriors this season. You can find his answers here.
- The Early Schedule. The Clippers will be playing their 5th game in 7 days; this is somewhat mitigated by the fact that they are leaving Staples for the first time. However, I still expect the players to show signs of fatigue. The Warriors, on the other hand, have played just 3 games since October 29th and have been resting and waiting in Oakland since Sunday. The energy disparity could be a major factor in the outcome of the game.
- Klay's Contract. Golden State recently rewarded their hard-nosed shooting guard with a 4 year/70 million contract. Thompson has responded with stellar play - leading the league in scoring with 29.7 points/game and stout defense. Thompson seems to be making a bid to be the premiere Splash Brother.
- Griffin Retaliation. Before the season, Blake vowed to retaliate to hard fouls. Given his history with Bogut and Green, could we see a scuffle tonight? Taking it further, is that something Golden State is hoping to capitalize on much like they did last Christmas?
- Connections. Clippers super sub Jamal Crawford spent most of a season in Oakland between his stints in New York and Atlanta. Matt Barnes really solidified himself as a viable NBA player on the We Believe Warriors of the 2007 playoffs. Warriors point guard Shaun Livingston was drafted by the Clippers and had many franchise hopes pinned on him before suffering a horrific knee injury. Clippers' back-up power forward, Ekpe Udoh, was drafted 6th overall by the Warriors in 2010. Harrison Barnes and Clippers wing Reggie Bullock were teammates for a season at North Carolina when they were both freshman. The Clippers can thank the Warriors for DeAndre Jordan's current contract, as he signed an offer sheet with Golden State in 2011 which the Clippers matched. Alvin Gentry was an assistant on Doc Rivers staff last season, but he fills the same roll for Steve Kerr in Oakland now.
- Get the Warriors perspective at Golden State of Mind.
- Wikipedia reference: The Warriors is a 1979 American cult action thriller drama film directed by Walter Hill and based on Sol Yurick's 1965 novel of the same name. Like the novel, the film borrows elements from the Anabasis by Xenophon.