The Golden State Warriors (27-19) and Los Angeles Clippers (33-15) come together Thursday night for Round 3 of their heavyweight fight in the Pacific Division.
The Warriors ruffled feathers with their exuberant victory celebration in Los Angeles in November 2012. They annoyed the Clips when the Warriors bench laughed at Blake Griffin hit the side of the backboard with a shot in Oakland.
Andrew Bogut and DeAndre Jordan scuffled when the teams played in L.A. on Halloween. Draymond Green was ejected for elbowing Griffin in the next in their next meeting. Griffin and Bogut scuffled, leading to Griffin’s ejection. And, just for good measure, Chris Paul went after Bogut after the final buzzer. And all of that happened on, of all days, Christmas.
But Golden State coach Mark Jackson insists there’s no rivalry there.
“It’s not a rivalry,” Jackson told the Associated Press on Wednesday. “We don’t have bad blood. In this league, when you’re competing and teams are getting after it and you’re jockeying for playoff position in your same division, it makes it exciting. We embrace it. They embrace it.”
Of course, the Warriors marketing department is treating it like a rivalry—“Battle for the Pacific” doesn’t sound like the sort of thing that gets thrown up on the team’s official website for every divisional game.
In any event, this one will get the TNT national TV treatment Thursday night, just as the first two meetings this season were nationally televised. The season series is tied at one game apiece, with each team holding serve at home. The Clips won 126-115 at the Staples Center on Halloween, the Warriors answered with an “exciting” (but not contentious, like a rivalry, coach) 105-103 win at Oracle Arena on Christmas night.
The teams will get together one more time after Thursday, a March 12 meeting in L.A.
The Warriors own a 42-24 advantage in Oakland since the Clippers left San Diego for Los Angeles in 1984 and have won the last four meetings at Oracle and seven of the last eight. Tipoff is at 7:30 p.m. (or whenever the Cavaliers and Knicks get done).
The rest of The Docket for Thursday goes a little somethin’ like this:
NHL: San Jose Sharks (34-14-6) at Calgary Flames (19-27-7), 6 p.m.
The Sharks complete their Alberta sojourn—because, hey, who doesn’t want to go to Alberta in January, right?—after making the wrong sort of history Wednesday night, when they took 59 shots in a 3-0 shutout loss at Edmonton. That would be the most shots ever by a team without actually scoring, you know, like a goal and stuff. The Sharks have lost two straight, the Flames are winners of three in a row.
San Jose is 3-0-0 against Calgary this year, while the Flames are 0-2-1, with the Sharks winning the first meeting in Calgary 3-2 in overtime on Nov. 12. But San Jose is 18-25-6 all-time in Calgary, with the teams splitting the last four meetings.
COLLEGE BASKETBALL: Pacific Tigers (11-8) at BYU Cougars (13-9), 6 p.m.
The Tigers are 2-8 in the West Coast Conference while the Cougars are 5-4 and these teams, newly minted conference rivals, get together for just the sixth time. BYU holds a 3-2 advantage in a series that hasn’t been contested since Nov. 30, 1996, when the Pacific beat the Cougars 80-58 in Provo. Interesting fun fact, though—both of the games BYU and Pacific played in Stockton were within two days of each other. The Tigers beat the Cougars 71-66 on Dec. 4, 1975, and the Cougars avenged the loss with an 89-62 win on Dec. 6, 1975. Weird.
COLLEGE BASKETBALL: Saint Mary’s Gaels (16-5) at San Diego Toreros (12-10), 7 p.m.
The Gaels have moved into second place in the WCC at 6-2, while the Toreros are just 3-6 in league play and this is the first meeting between the teams this season. Saint Mary’s took three from San Diego last season, including a 74-64 win the last time the Gaels snapped into the Slim Gym (OK, Jenny Craig Pavilion, but that way’s much more fun) on Feb. 9. The Gaels also picked up an overtime win over the Toreros in a WCC tournament semifinal in Las Vegas on March 9. Saint Mary’s leads the all-time series 41-32, winning the last five meetings and 10 of the last 11.
COLLEGE BASKETBALL: UC Davis Aggies (6-14) at Cal Poly Mustangs (8-11), 7 p.m.
The Aggies are just 1-4 in Big West Conference play while the Mustangs are 4-2, just a half-game behind conference-leading UC Irvine. As Division I members, Cal Poly has a 12-7 edge against UC Davis, including a 68-53 win at Mott Gym in San Luis Obispo on Feb. 9 and a 64-41 win in the Big West tournament quarterfinals in Anaheim on March 14. The Aggies’ last win at Cal Poly was a 75-73 triumph on Feb. 18, 2009; since then the Mustangs have won the last four meetings in SLO.
COLLEGE BASKETBALL: Idaho State Bengals (7-10) at Sacramento State Hornets (6-11), 7:05 p.m.
The Hornets are 2-6 in Big Sky Conference action, while the Bengals are 4-4. Idaho State holds a 26-13 lead in the all-time series, but the Hornets gained a split last season, including a 53-52 win at The Nest on March 2. The teams have split the last six meetings and Sacramento State has won five of the last eight.
WOMEN’S BASKETBALL: Cal Golden Bears (14-5) at Stanford Cardinal (19-1), 8 p.m.
The Cardinal is the last unbeaten team in Pac-12 Conference play at 8-0 and have won 18 in a row overall, while the Golden Bears are 6-2 and are part of a group of three teams (USC and Arizona State) with two league losses. Stanford remains No. 4 in the polls while Cal slipped to No. 21 this week. The Cardinal leads the all-time series with the Golden Bears by a lopsided 60-18 margin, including a 28-7 mark at Maples Pavilion. The teams split two meetings a year ago, with each winning on the other’s home floor. Cal posted a 67-55 win over Stanford at Maples on Jan. 13, 2013, while the Cardinal won at Haas Pavilion 62-53 five days earlier on Jan. 8, 2013.
Warriors at Utah, 7:30 p.m.
Topics: Cal Golden Bears Women's Basketball, Golden State Warriors, Pacific Tigers Men's Basketball, Sacramento State Hornets Men's Basketball, Saint Mary's Gaels Men's Basketball, Stanford Cardinal Women's Basketball, Uc Davis Aggies Men's Basketball