Golden State Warriors vs. Los Angeles Clippers Preview


The Golden State Warriors hope to stay undefeated tonight, as they will take on their Pacific Division rivals, the Los Angeles Clippers, at 7:30 p.m. PT at Oracle Arena.

The Warriors are a perfect 3-0 (1-0 at home) heading into this contest, with impressive wins against the Sacramento Kings on the road, against the Los Angeles Lakers at home, and against the Portland Trail Blazers on the road. The Warriors’ 3-0 record ranks first in the Pacific Division ahead of the Kings, the Phoenix Suns, the Clippers, and then the Lakers.

The Clippers come into tonight’s game with a 3-1 record (1-0 on the road), with their wins coming against the Oklahoma City Thunder, the Lakers, and the Utah Jazz. Their one loss came against the Kings at home. As mentioned before, the Clippers’ record ranks fourth in the Pacific Division.

Warriors and Clippers players and coaches denied for a while that there was a rivalry between these two teams, but it became quite clear this past season that there is in fact a heated rivalry. These two teams don’t like each other, and that’s a well-known fact.

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This rivalry became even more intense when the Warriors and Clippers faced off in the first round of the NBA playoffs in the 2013-14 season. The Clippers ultimately won the series in seven games, but the Warriors fought hard in the series and could’ve possibly won the series if their feisty center, Andrew Bogut, had been healthy.

There are a couple of key matchups to watch for in tonight’s game.

1) Klay Thompson vs. Chris Paul

Thompson has proven that he’s an excellent, possibly elite, defender who can guard three positions. He is especially effective against point guards, because he can use his size and length to his advantage. He can bother smaller guards with his larger frame, but his quick feet for a player of his size allows him to keep a point guard in front of him.

Paul recorded a triple double in the Clippers’ last game on Monday night against the Jazz, as he finished the night with 13 points, 10 rebounds and 12 assists. Thompson will have a tough task guarding Paul tonight, but Thompson’s confidence is at an all-time high right now, especially after being named NBA Western Conference Player of the Week.

Thompson’s offensive contributions to start this season have been exceptional, but he’ll have to step it up even more than usual on defense tonight to contain the tricky Paul.

May 1, 2014; Oakland, CA, USA; Los Angeles Clippers forward Blake Griffin (32) controls the basketball against Golden State Warriors forward Draymond Green (23) during the second quarter in game six of the first round of the 2014 NBA Playoffs at Oracle Arena. The Warriors defeated the Clippers 100-99. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

2) David Lee/Draymond Green vs. Blake Griffin

Lee hasn’t played in a game so far this season, but he’s listed as probable for tonight’s game. However, Green is a better defender than Lee is and generally provides more toughness on the defensive end, which is necessary when defending Griffin. Despite that fact that Lee matches up better with Griffin based on height and weight, Green can defend Griffin more effectively and force him into tougher shots.

Griffin is a beast, so whether Lee or Green starts at power forward tonight, the Warriors will have to contain Griffin and frustrate him on the offensive end.