Where: Chase Center, San Francisco, California
When: 7:30 PM PT
How to Watch: TNT
Projected Starting Lineups
Clippers: Pat Beverley – Landry Shamet – Kawhi Leonard – JaMychal Green – Ivica Zubac
Warriors: Steph Curry – D’Angelo Russell – Glenn Robinson III – Draymond Green – Kevon Looney
Clippers: Paul George Out (Shoulder Surgery), Rodney McGruder Questionable (Ankle Sprain)
Warriors: Klay Thompson Out (Knee Surgery), Willie Cauley-Stein Out (Foot), Alec Burks Probable (Sprained Ankle), Kevon Looney Probable (Hamstring), Marquese Chriss Probable (Toe)
The Big Picture
After looking off for much of preseason, the Clippers came out and made a statement against the Lakers on opening night, winning 112-102 in a game they largely controlled after the first few minutes. They swarmed on defense, moved the ball well on offense, and played as if it were game one of the NBA Finals, not the regular season. Kawhi Leonard was dominant, Lou Williams and Montrezl Harrell looked as connected as ever, and role players like JaMychal Green and Moe Harkless stepped up. It was, in other words, about as good an effort as the Clippers could have hoped for in their first game.
These are no longer the terrifying Warriors of yore. With Klay Thompson out, the Dubs are practically unrecognizable, with only the twin pillars of Steph Curry and Draymond Green remaining from their peak years a couple seasons ago. And that’s not all that’s new. The Warriors are now playing at a new facility, the Chase Center, finally moving on from the venerable Oracle Arena, and transitioning from Oakland to San Francisco. This will be the first game at the new stadium, so the building will assuredly be rocking – and the Warriors will almost certainly come out with the energy and intensity to match. Even without Kevin Durant and Klay, Steph and Green are a great duo, and are a pairing to fear.
Who starts for Clips: The Warriors are a very different opponent from the Lakers, as both feature size on the opposite end of the spectrum. The Lakers are huge, whereas the Warriors are small. Therefore, it wouldn’t be surprising if Doc switched up his starting lineups to match, swapping out Patrick Patterson for either Green or Harkless. Those guys are a better match for Draymond Green, and are also more capable of switching on to Russell (or even Curry) if need be. Patterson played well in the second half, but those other guys are just superior players, and the need for more size is not necessary against the Dubs.
Deepening the Rotation: Doc Rivers played a mere nine players in game one – and that can’t continue forever. The Clippers have too many solid pieces and are too focused on the long term to play their key players this much all season, and the only way those minutes come down is if Doc adds more players to the rotation. The two players most likely to enter that rotation are Jerome Robinson and Terance Mann, as the Clippers are thinner at guard then they are at wing. It will be interesting to see if Doc plays those guys, and how many minutes they get if they do play.
Guarding Steph: The Clippers have long struggled to guard Steph Curry. To be fair, most teams have – Curry is one of the toughest players to stop in NBA history. However, Steph has delighted in torching the Clippers since 2014, when the Clips eliminated the Warriors from the playoffs, and frequently looks at his best against them. This season, Curry might be the favorite to win the NBA’s scoring title, and is a good bet to drop 30 on any given night. The Clippers have plenty of options to throw at Steph – the tenacity of Pat Beverley, the length of Kawhi, the sheer size of Harkless – and will probably utilize all of them in an attempt to slow down the lone active Splash Brother. This game will likely come down to how well the Clippers guard Curry. If they can keep him somewhat in check, the contest will be theirs. If Curry goes off – anything can happen.
Come back for the game thread later tonight!