Preview: Clippers visit West best Warriors


Who: Los Angeles Clippers (40-22) at Golden State Warriors (48-12)
Where: ORACLE Arena, Oakland, California,
When: 3:30 p.m. EST (12:30 p.m. PST)
When: Sunday, March 08, 2015

The Last Time These Two Teams Met

The Clippers won their then-“best game of the season” over a Andrew Bogut-less Golden State Warriors, behind 46 combined points from Chris Paul and Jamal Crawford.

Game Preview

This time, the tables have turned for the Clippers: instead of facing a Warriors team without a key player, it’s now the Clippers who are without a starter-plus — Blake Griffin and Jamal Crawford to be exact. And like the Clippers have been in the past, the Warriors are currently dealing with a clean bill of health as Andrew Bogut has reminded healthy since his early-season injury.

In general, life without Blake Griffin has been decent for the Clippers, posting a record of 7-4 in his absence, but against this Golden State Warriors, we’ll see this LA team pushed to the limit as Golden State enters todays game winners of 7 of their last 10.

Given the circumstances, if the Clippers walk away victorious, this’ll easily top whatever game could be described as their best win of the season. I

What to Watch

Making his debut for the Los Angeles Clippers today will be the newly-signed point guard Nate Robinson, who agreed to a 10-day deal with the franchise yesterday. With Austin Rivers struggling and Jamal Crawford out, there will be plenty opportunities for Robinson to make an impact, whether positive or negative.


As perfect a team you’ll find in the NBA this season, a chink in the armor of this Warriors team has sort of been found: attacking Draymond Green in the low post. Without Blake Griffin in the picture, that role falls into the hands of the Spencer Hawes. The good news? Despite playing poorly in nearly every facet of the game this season, the one are Hawes has excelled in is the post-up.

Despite the sample size being small, Hawes, per Synergy Sports’ data, is averaging 1.13 points per possession in the post-up, and knocking down 55.9% of his shots out of the post-up. With Hawes most likely to be matched up against the smaller Green as Andrew Bogut gives 110% of his attention to DeAndre Jordan, the Clippers could look to exploit this matchup, not only to slow down the game, but to hit the Warriors where it sometimes hurts the most.

Three Keys to Victory

1) Controlling the Glass

With DeAndre Jordan transforming into psuedo-Bill Russell, the Warriors will surely dedicate a body or two to keep him off the glass. Due to Doc Rivers‘ preference, it’s often Jordan or bust when it comes to rebounding meaning if Andrew Bogut and company keep Jordan in check, the scoring opportunities for one of the best offensive teams in the league will increase. And on a team like the Warriors? Offensive rebounds turn into back-breaking three-point attempts which the Clippers can’t afford to let happen.

2) Containing the Splash Brothers

Part of why the Clippers walked away victors on Christmas was because they kept both Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson in check, holding the two All-Stars to a combined 29 points on 30 shooting. That’s impressive considering the undersized backcourt utitlized by Los Angeles (CP3, Redick) and if they’d like to take a 2-1 series lead over division rivals in Golden State, they’ll have to do the same today.

3) Chris Paul finding his stride

If it wasn’t for Russell Westbrook doing his modern-day ’80s Michael Jordan impression, Paul’s latest stretch of games would be drawing more attention.  And in the grand scheme of things, a more aggressive Chris Paul usually means a more successful Clippers team — dating back to the 2010-11 season, the Clippers are 34-11 when Paul scores 25 or more points. In his last five games? The ‘Point God’ is averaging 26.2 points on 53% shooting and 13.0 assists. Without Griffin and Crawford, the Clippers are going to need a double dose of Point God. If not, it could be a long Sunday for the away team.

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