NBA Preseason Preview: Golden State Warriors vs. Los Angeles Clippers

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Who: Golden State Warriors vs. Los Angeles Clippers
When: 7:30 p.m. (10:30 p.m. EST)
Where: Staples Center — Los Angeles, California
Betting Odds: Clippers -4 1/2

Preview

BASKETBALL IS BACK.

The off-season? It was decent to the Clippers. They added needed depth in the frontcourt, improved healthy, and most importantly, got rid of the albatross owner that was Donald Sterling as owner, replacing him with the fun-filled, energetic Steve Ballmer. Considering how the Clippers ended last season — a heartbreaking Game 6 loss to the Thunder in the Western Conference semi-finals — this group is in a good place.

And opposite of them stand the Golden State Warriors who’s rumor-filled summer has finally come to an end. There’s no Kevin Love at power forward, but the dangerous grouping of Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, and Andrew Bogut, coupled with nifty specialists around them.

Normally a Clippers-Warriors game would be spoken of in a tone that speaks to a rivalry that has grown over the years and spawned some classic “90s basketball” moments, but tonight, the tone won’t be the same (if you want real action, the Warriors and Clippers face off on November 5th). Tonight will be a simple showcasing of what teams have improved on, changed, added, subtracted, etc. so hash back the anger and just be happy basketball is back.

Three Things to Watch

1) New Faces in New Places

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  • While the additions weren’t front page worthy, each team has added a couple of new faces to help push their respective franchise.

    Starting with the visiting Warriors, their new faces come on the wing in bench. The headline worthy addition was Steve Kerr at head coach, replacing a Mark Jackson would continually fell out of favor with the franchises’ front office throughout the season (a familiar face in Alvin Gentry is also on the Warriors bench). On the floor, the Warriors have added guards Shaun Livingston, Brandon Rush, and LeAndro Barbosa. With Curry and Thompson, you don’t need much to offset that group, but with the three adds, Kerr will find himself able to produce many flexible rotations.

    For the Clippers, they’ve managed to revamp a bench that played a huge part in their undoing. The most notable being Jordan Farmar and Spencer Hawes, players who were acquired via the bi-annual exception and mid-level exception. Outside of that, you’ve C.J. Wilcox, Chris Douglas-Roberts, Joe Ingles, Jared Cunningham, and Ekpe Udoh, all acquired in an assortment of ways.

    2) Roster Battles!

    There’s a lot going on in the frontcourt, so we’ll gloss over these expeditiously:

    SF BATTLE: With Matt Barnes expected to start, the reserve small forward position remains unfilled. The candidates for the position? Second-year forward Reggie Bullock and free-agent signing Chris Douglas-Roberts. With the two being similar players, this makes for an intriguing battle.

    PF BATTLE: Blake Griffin won’t need to play all those minutes this season with a deep cast behind him. With a handful of candidates, this spot may come down to situations. Need defense? Ekpe Udoh is the preferred choice. Need playmaking and shooting? Joe Ingles and Hedo Turkoglu get the call. Need continuity? Glen Davis falls in favor. This is a good situation to be in especially after last seasons awful reserves.

    15th SPOT BATTLE: 16 players + Doc Rivers wanting to go into the season with a full roster means somebody will catch the short end of the stick. The candidates? Shooting guard Jared Cunningham and Aussie rookie Joe Ingles. We’ve addressed this battle in a somewhat in-depth manner here and while Rivers’ intentions remain unclear, we like to believe Ingles remains the favorite over Cunningham.

    3) Young Gunz!

    Because of injury, neither Reggie Bullock or C.J. Wilcox were able to participate in the Summer League — an unfortunate circumstance as depth could keep them saddled to the bench throughout the season. Now that they’re healthy, it’s time to see these guys in action, more-so Bullock because his odds of being an impact player are much higher than Wilcox’s, although Wilcox, the teams 2014 first-round pick, is a player to keep an eye for future reasons because J.J. Redick and Jamal Crawford aren’t getting any younger.

    Prediction

    A meaningless game depicts a meaningless prediction: Clippers take the victory over the Warriors, 108-97