Golden State Warriors (18-3, best in the NBA) at the Clippers of Los Angeles (16-6)
How to Watch?
Date: Wednesday December 7, 2016
Location: Stapes Center — Los Angeles, CA
Time: 7:30pm PST
TV: ESPN, CSN Bay Area Radio: 95.7 THE GAME
The Warriors... are coming off an exhibition drubbing of the Pacers... wait, that game counted?! Woah! Maybe Indiana should have been told that at some point during the blowout. It would appear these Warriors have gone past finding their “groove” and are now just clowning teams. The homestead was some good team therapy, and though it did include a loss to the Rockets, that appeared to be the kick in the rear this team needed to get their bearings back under them.
I am officially issuing a challenge to Klay Thompson: sure you can score 60 against the Pacers at home, but can you do it against... THE CLIPPERS? I am sure since Mr. Thompson reads GSoM between generally being a bad ass and playing with his dog, that he sees this challenge and will try to prove me wrong. So look out Chris Paul and crew, let’s see if Klay Thompson cools off by the time he lands in So Cal.
As for the rest of the team, they head out on a five-game road trip that could serve up some tough challenges for the top team in the NBA. After the Clippers, they head to Utah on a back-to-back to face a tough Jazz team. The rest of the trip is no picnic, sending the team through Memphis, Minnesota and New Orleans. I’m not sure a .500 trip would be seen as a failure against such a tough collection of teams, but let’s see if the team can get a good start Thursday.
The Clippers... are being caught at a generally good time. It appears their super bench couldn't hold up for the long run, their starters have come back to earth after a great start to the season, and this team has lost four of the last six. Their win in Cleveland coupled with their loss in Brooklyn is a perfect symbol of their season so far - a roller coaster of performances by a team that, when on point, can beat anyone in the league.
Los Angeles still features the best defensive rating in the NBA, anchored by their big center in DeAndre Jordan. The offense has generally been fantastic, supported by a fully healthy squad with Blake Griffin back after last year’s Punch-Out moment.
The question is: which team will show up? The Clippers have a history of playing the Warriors well at home, though Golden State swept the season series last year. Will it be the world-beaters that feature three potential All-Stars in Paul, Griffin and Jordan?
Golden State is playing some of it’s best basketball of the season; however, this is the #1 Offense in Golden State facing off against the #1 Defense in the Clippers. I believe the question will be more for Los Angeles; if they can score, they put the pressure on the Warriors to keep up their hot shooting to keep pace. Paul always challenges Klay Thompson and Steph Curry on the defensive end, while the Warriors will have to play outside in (something they have no problem doing) to avoid Jordan in the paint.
Just like last year, I give the Warriors the advantage in this matchup, just because I don’t see who stops Kevin Durant. Will it be Luc Mbah a Moute? Will it be Wes Johnson off the bench? Could it be Griffin? I am picturing a big night for Durant while these two teams play hard as usual, but the Warriors come out on top 115-109.