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Preseason Game #5 | Preview: Hello, Old Friend

Los Angeles Clippers continue their preseason at home against the defending champion Golden State Warriors and the only thing that needs to be mentioned is please don't stab one another.

Stephen Dunn/Getty Images
2015/2016 NBA Preseason

October 20, 2015 | 7:30 PM (PDT)
STAPLES Center (Los Angeles, California)
Win-Loss Breakdown (2014-2015 Regular Season)
25-5 East 19-11
42-10 West 37-15
13-3 Division 12-4
39-2 Home 30-11
28-13 Road 26-15
32-9 .500 + 19-22
35-6 - .500 37-4
1-1 OT 1-1
8-2 L10 9-1
Projected Starters
Stephen Curry PG Chris Paul
Klay Thompson SG J.J. Redick
Harrison Barnes SF Wesley Johnson
Draymond Green PF Blake Griffin
Festus Ezeli C DeAndre Jordan
Advanced Stats (2014-2015 Regular Season)
100.69 (1st of 30) Pace 96.96 (10th of 30)
109.7 (2nd of 30) ORtg 109.8 (1st of 30)
98.2 (1st of 30) DRtg 103.0 (15th of 30)
Andrew Bogut (Out) Broken Nose
Warriors won 2014-15 season series against Clippers; 3-1
Clips Nation Recap
NBA Box Score
Warriors 121, Clippers 104
Box Score
Los Angeles
Clippers 100, Warriors 86
Box Score
Warriors 106, Clippers 98
Box Score
Los Angeles
Warriors 110, Clippers 106
Box Score

Rag-Tag Roving Band of Ballers
Based on its dictionary definition, rag-tag (or ragtag) is something that is comprised of "different people or things and not organized or put together well." Yeah, that sort of sounds like this current concoction of the Los Angeles Clippers. Throughout the preseason, there’s been highs and lows, but there’s also been an ungodly amount of unorganized. They look as if they don’t know their left foot from their right foot and haven’t ever seen a basketball before. There are only two games left in the preseason, so it’s about time to start showing some semblance of knowing what the game of basketball is and how it’s played or else this little lull in the preseason won’t just be left in the preseason. And that’s bad.

The "Respect Us More!" Champions
The Golden State Warriors are pretty [expletive] great. Last year, they almost led the league in pace, offensive efficiency, and defensive efficiency. Unsure if that’s ever happened before, but think about that sentence by itself and realize how insane that is for one team to do. They turned in arguably the greatest season since that 72-win Chicago Bulls team and it’s hard to say whether people fully grasp that or not. Golden State – from the players to the fanbase – feels like no one respects what they accomplished last season. Except people do. So, it’s probably about time that they pipe down on the "no respect" narrative because no one outside of their coven actually buys into that. They’re not Rodney Dangerfield. They still get a ton of respect as they’re the odds-on favorite in the Western Conference this season.

Opposition's Blog: Golden State of Mind

Comparison of Key Metrics
These were the two best offensive teams in basketball last season and it was not particularly close. On a near nightly basis, these two teams were eviscerating opponents offensively with ball movement, spacing, pace, and an ability to get wherever they wanted to on the court. Defensively, it was a different story. While the Warriors were locking teams down en route to the best defensive efficiency in the league, the Clippers were struggling at times. Nothing should change between these two that much on offense as they both return a lot of the components which made them so deadly. Theoretically, the Clippers should improve defensively as they added a slew of versatile defenders, but the jury is still out. Warriors, believe it or not, could also improve defensively if Andrew Bogut stays healthy for the season and they keep injuries to a minimum yet again while building on continuity.

Once this game is finished, the Clippers have just one more remaining. That game will be on Thursday against the Portland Trail Blazers and it’ll also be at the STAPLES Center. Then they’re done with preseason and get to wait until their season tips off in the state capital against the Sacramento Kings. As for Golden State, they also play on Thursday night. They’ll be in Anaheim to take on the Los Angeles Lakers at the Honda Center in a game that’ll be broadcast on TNT. From there, they’ll get a few days off before their season gets underway at home against Anthony Davis, Alvin Gentry, and the New Orleans Pelicans. Odd fact: both teams play two games against one specific team before November even starts. The Warriors play the Pelicans twice – October 27 and 31 – while the Clippers play the Kings twice – October 28 and 31. That’s pretty strange. Oh, and smack dab in the middle of those contests is a game for each team against a squad from the state of Texas. Weird.

Leave The Troubling Play Far East
Los Angeles looked terrible during their preseason trip to China. In the first game, which saw the Clippers play without Chris Paul, the Charlotte Hornets beat them by 12 points. The second game was a 42-point whipping by Charlotte. That game actually featured Paul. Then again, that game also went to hell in a handbasket thanks to getting outscored 57-20 in the second half because Doc Rivers thought it’d be wise to start Luc Richard Mbah a Moute. That experiment failed. Whatever troubles haunted the team in the Far East need to stay there. The only positives to take away from any of those games were that no one got seriously injured and that there was some hope in the pick-and-roll from the bench unit. Preseason is preseason, but you have got to improve on something. As of right now, the only thing the team has improved upon is their frequent-flyer miles.

Warriors Will Come Out and Play
They were, by far, the best team in the NBA last season so it is of no surprise that they’re favored to win the Western Conference again and second in the odds to win a championship. Only the Cleveland Cavaliers have better odds and, let’s face it, that’s because they play in the terrible Eastern Conference where any team with a 55-win season kind of only wins about 50 games in the West. The Warriors feature arguably the best point guard, one of the top shooting guards, a very versatile power forward, and a dominant defensive center. One of the things they have that other teams don’t, though, is someone like Andre Iguodala off the bench; a guy capable of hitting some threes, creating offensively, and being a fantastic defensive player. From top to bottom, the Warriors are the class of basketball right now. And, as scary as it sounds, they might only get better under head coach Steve Kerr. Maybe not from a wins and losses standpoint, but from a dynastic standpoint of winning titles.

Such a Big Year Looms
The Clippers won’t be blown up if they miss out on a championship this season, but the manner in which they lose could determine what the next step in the process is. This is now Year 5 of the Chris Paul Era and he’s not getting any younger. DeAndre Jordan and Blake Griffin are in their primes right now. J.J. Redick is north of 30 and won’t be around much longer, either. The team attempted to get somewhat younger this offseason by trading away Matt Barnes and acquiring Lance Stephenson, as well as signing Wesley Johnson, but youth is only as good as the players themselves. This is a big year for the franchise. An appearance in the Western Conference Finals would do wonders for the way they are perceived, especially after the way the last two seasons ended. A fizzled out end to the season would be one that haunts them, though. And it might be enough to get Steve Ballmer to make moves. You don’t pay $2 billion for something and not expect results.

They Were Good, Not Lucky
A little while ago, an article was penned about how both sides in the Warriors-Clippers debate need to just shut up and play basketball. Doc Rivers had quotes taken out of context and Golden State’s coven ran with it like he told the world they were sorry excuses for champions. None of that happened and both sides do need to shut up, but let’s get this out of the way first. The 2014-15 Golden State Warriors were good, not lucky. Not even just good, but historically good. All this talk about whether or not they deserved it is stupid. They clearly did. You don’t rack up 67 wins throughout the year while absolutely demolishing teams and not deserve the title when you win it. It’s sheer stupidity to even think otherwise or to even insinuate that people don’t respect you. Of course people respect you. Of course they were good. Of course they deserved it. Now, can all this talk finally stop? Good. Oh, but one final thing before we stop talking about this for good. Shut up, Jerry West.

Starting Small Forward Battle
So, the saga over who starts at small forward is still ongoing and it’s still a battle between Paul Pierce and Wesley Johnson. Some think Pierce should start simply because he’s the better player, but others think Johnson should start since he could potentially thrive with the starting unit and Pierce would help the bench out. In theory, the latter option seems the way to go because Johnson has a better chance of being productive with the starters than he does if he were with the bench. And, it also doesn’t matter who starts. What matters is who finishes games. That’ll definitely be Pierce because of his big shot ability and he still is a respected offensive player in this league. Pierce will finish games, but ultimately the best choice to start might be Johnson. You can get value out of both by having Johnson start, Pierce come off the bench, and Pierce finish games. It’s the best of all worlds, in a sense.

Show Us Something, Lance
It’s about time that Lance Stephenson shows the team why they traded for him. So far throughout preseason, he hasn’t exactly been a quality player. He’s more or less continuing the trend he had in Charlotte of being a guy who pounds the ball into the ground waiting for assist opportunities and then blowing his own shot opportunities because he can’t shoot. Stephenson is just 6-of-26 (23.1 percent) from the field in the preseason, but has supplied 10 assists. The issue is that, per 36 minutes right now, he’s averaging just 5.8 points, 3.9 rebounds, and 3.9 assists. He also is sporting a combined plus-minus of -56. Think about Stephenson in this context. The team gave up Matt Barnes and Spencer Hawes for him, and he’s playing worse than Hawes did last season when the team needs him to be closer to Barnes’ level. Not going swimmingly whatsoever. He has to show up or else this experiment failed long before the games truly mattered.

Video Game Reference
Back in 2005, Rockstar Toronto released a video game for PlayStation 2 and XBOX titled The Warriors. It’s based off the movie of the same name. In a cool twist, the actors from the film actually reprised their roles in the video game by providing the voices of their original characters. It was a beat-em-up style of gameplay that actually did very favorably with the review industry. Game Informer gave it an 8.25 out of 10, GameSpot gave it an 8.6 out of 10, and IGN gave it an 8.7 out of 10. From all accounts, the game is pretty fun to play and it features large scale brawling in 3D environments. The game was released with a Mature rating thanks in large part to the strong violence, sexual theme, and language. Unfortunately, while it was released onto PlayStation Network back in 2013 for play on the PlayStation 3, it is not currently available on any of the newer consoles as it has been pulled from the store.