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Preview: Warriors v Clippers, an injury-riddled round two for the best rivalry in the NBA

Golden State pays a visit to an injury-racked Clippers team in a quest to remain perfect and tally a second win against their rival.

Festus Ezeli invades the zone
Festus Ezeli invades the zone
Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports
Golden State Warriors
12-0 (5-0 ROAD)
Los Angeles Clippers
6-4 (5-1 HOME)
November 19, 2015
Staples Center Los Angeles, CA
7:30pm PDT
Blog Buddy: Clips Nation
Projected Starters
Stephen Curry G Austin Rivers
Klay Thompson G Jamal Crawford
Harrison Barnes F Lance Stephenson
Draymond Green F Blake Griffin
Andrew Bogut C DeAndre Jordan
Key Injuries
Shaun Livingston - Questionable (Hip)
Kevon Looney - Out (Hip)
Chris Paul - Doubtful (Groin)
J.J. Redick - Doubtful (Back)

The Clippers limp their way into Staples Center tonight, having lost four of their last six games and not knowing whether the oft-injured Chris Paul and J.J. Redick will play. Clippers fans are understandably frustrated with the team's 6-4 start to the season, as they expected to see the Clippers compete for a championship after finally acquiring some talent for their bench. Clippers fans may have these nine reasons not to panic just yet (is Austin Rivers really one of the nine?), but a look at reason number ten goes to show that even Clippers fans can't deny the dominance of this Warriors team.

We're in for a treat if tonight's game is anything like the teams' first battle of the season, during which Blake Griffin was emphatically stuffed by Festus Ezeli three minutes into the game. Poor shooting from the Warriors in the third period allowed the Clippers to take a lead into the fourth quarter that eventually grew to as many as ten points. But the Warriors routinely recover from much worse. Just after Coach Luke Walton pointed out the giddiness of the Clippers' sideline after taking an eight point lead, ten quick points from Harrison Barnes sparked a 16-2 run that led the Warriors to a four point victory in the Warriors' first non-blowout of the year.

Even if the Clippers can't field their usual starting backcourt, there are plenty of games within the game to see. Be sure to watch DeAndre Jordan and Festus Ezeli, as Ezeli has been doing a pretty solid DJ impersonation so far this season. Festus is blocking shots and finishing lobs at the rim much as we're accustomed to seeing Jordan do, only Ezeli shoots his free throws a bit better. Seeing these parallels between Ezeli and Jordan may lead fans to think about how things would have worked out differently had the Clippers not matched the Warriors' offer to Jordan as a restricted free agent in 2011. The Warriors likely wouldn't have wasted the amnesty provision on Charlie Bell's contract and certainly wouldn't have traded Monta Ellis for Andrew Bogut. It's safe to say that Warriors fans are happy with the way it all worked out. Perhaps Mark Cuban will say the same thing some day...

Fans will also be watching the battle between Draymond Green and Blake Griffin, as the two have been known to get into it while contributing greatly to the success of their respective squads. Green offered praise of Griffin this week, noting how Griffin has developed his skills beyond the post in recent years to the point where he has been playing "phenomenal(ly)." Similarly, Griffin has complimented the Warriors' defense as an overlooked part of their success. It's as though everyone is learning from Doc Rivers' mistakes and trying not to put their feet in their mouths. While in the past the teams have dealt with elbows and ejections on the court, it appears that the players are maintaining their composure with an air of respect these days. We'll see if it holds tonight, particularly if the Dubs build a large lead as they have in prior games this season and the Clippers struggle without Paul and Redick.


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