It’s been anything but easy going for the Warriors this season. The reigning NBA champions have limped out to a 4-3 start and have serious issues on defense. Golden State find themselves in the bottom five in the league in points allowed as teams look to beat them at their own game. Coming off a defeat to the much-improved Detroit Pistons, it’s clear that the Warriors are a long way away from the 2014/15 side that boasted the number one offense and the number two defense.
The Clippers (4-1) suffered their first defeat in their last game, also to the Pistons. It was a horrid shooting performance for the team, who converted only 33% of their shots from the field. Doc Rivers will be hoping that was just an off night as the Clippers look to put pressure on Memphis at the top of the Western Conference. A win here against the Warriors would certainly do that, while also highlighting that even without Chris Paul the Clippers are the real deal this season.
Keys to the game
Defense – The Clippers have added a defensive edge to their lineup, mainly through the addition of Patrick Beverley to compliment DeAndre Jordan’s post defense. They’ll need to put up a strong showing again if they’re to get the win. Likewise, if the Warriors’ defense remains as is, Golden State don’t stand a chance in this game.
DeAndre Jordan – It’s clear from the performance Andre Drummond had against the Warriors that a tough rebounding presence can really cause them problems. The Clippers happen to have the league leader in rebounds in DeAndre Jordan, who’s grabbed a ridiculous 17.4 rebounds a game so far. If he can have a strong night on the glass, then the Clippers will have the upper hand.
Golden State’s bench play – If you take away Steph Curry, Klay Thompson and Kevin Durant, the rest of the Warriors only managed 23 points against the Pistons, with just 19 coming from the bench. More production outside the big three is required if they are to turn their fortunes around.
Matchup to watch
Draymond Green vs Blake Griffin – Whilst Beverley is going to give Curry the same close attention he enjoys paying to all the top point guards, Blake Griffin will be the key if the Clippers are to top the Warriors in this one. Griffin has stood up as the new leader in LA, and Draymond Green has his work cut out for him.
Golden State Warriors projected lineup
PG – Steph Curry | SG – Klay Thompson | SF – Kevin Durant | PF – Draymond Green | C – Zaza Pachulia |
Los Angeles Clippers projected lineup
PG – Patrick Beverley | SG – Austin Rivers | SF – Danilo Gallinari | PF – Blake Griffin | C – DeAndre Jordan |
Despite his team’s struggles, Curry is still averaging 28 points per game off 48% shooting in his last five. He’ll need to take over the game at Staples, so expect another strong performance from him.
The Warriors are a five point favorite. That seems overly optimistic given their lackluster form and the fact that they are on the second night of a back to back. Take the Clippers to cover.
The Warriors are at their most dangerous when people start to count them out. I’m not brave enough to be one of those people, but I do think it will be close. The Warriors win 110-108.
The game will be televised on NBA TV and shown locally on NBCSBA and FSPT. UK viewers can also watch the game on BT Sport. Tip-off is at 10:30 ET.
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