How to watch
Date: Saturday January 28, 2017
Location: Oracle Arena — Oakland, CA
Time: 5:30pm PST
Radio: 95.7 THE GAME
Last updated 5:00pm on 1/27/17
Warriors: Stephen Curry; David West
Clippers: Chris Paul
The Golden State Warriors welcome the Los Angeles Clippers into Oracle Arena on Saturday evening for what should be a game with much more media attention than actual substance.
The sports world has been abuzz with discussions and rumors about the Clippers.
First off, the NBA officially released the list of All-Star Team reserves on Thursday. Included in that list for the first time is Clippers’ center, DeAndre Jordan. It’s a well-deserved — and arguably belated — honor for Jordan as he’s been a dynamic player for quite a while — moments like this excluded.
But with every All-Star announcement comes the inevitable “Who got snubbed?” argument. At the top of everyone’s list this year for the West is Chris Paul. Paul is undoubtedly an all-star talent and one of the best floor generals to ever play the game. But it’s likely his recent thumb injury and surgery left him off the coaches’ lists this year.
On top of all this are the rumors that the Clippers are a possible trade destination for the disgruntled — and fellow All-Star Team snubee — Carmelo Anthony.
Likelihood of that trade aside, these items have led to pretty extensive coverage of the Clippers this week.
In terms of actual basketball, it’s fair to say the Clippers have been struggling without Paul. They’ve gone 1-3 since Paul’s injury, most recently losing to the Philadelphia 76ers. The Clippers are, and have been, a revolving door of injuries. They’ve actually maintained a fairly stable core of players — despite Mark Cuban’s best efforts — but since they can’t seem to stay on the floor together their playoff results have been disappointing.
Warriors are literally all stars
The Warriors are no strangers to being in the spotlight. For the past few years they’ve played under a microscope. This past week has been no different, with every win and loss being dissected and evaluated.
Now with four out of the five Warriors’ starters officially named to the All-Star Team — sorry Zaza — there’s more fuel for the fire. Like Jordan, Draymond Green and Klay Thompson were no-brainer choices for the coaches. But there will undoubtedly be complaints that the Warriors’ players are overrated or that Green and/or Thompson should have been left off in favor of someone else.
The faux rivalry
People try to throw the Clippers and Warriors into a rivalry conversation — e.g. Blake Griffin’s recent interview on ESPN.
Aside from the fact that the popular answer to this question seems to be “we’re not rivals,” Griffin’s point is spot on. There isn’t quite enough significant history between the Warriors and Clippers. Facing each other randomly in early playoff rounds doesn’t really rise to the level of “intense rivalry.”
Aside from the constant battle that wages on between Norcal and Socal on ... well, all things, there’s no basis for a rivalry between these teams yet.
Saturday’s game will serve as a platform for some fun basketball, but don’t expect any nuggets of insight from this matchup. The absence of Paul and potentially Stephen Curry negates any meaning one could derive from this game as both will, presumably, be available for the playoffs.
The Clippers are a completely different team under Paul’s direction. And if they are able to pull off some trade deadline magic, the Clippers could be a vastly incomparable squad come spring.
As the Clippers are transformed by Paul, the same holds true for the Warriors and Curry. His presence on the floor forces defenses into unenviable positions as he has a significant gravitational pull on and off the ball. However, unlike the Clippers, the Warriors have an excellent backup, Shaun Livingston, and three other bona fide all-stars in Green, Thompson and Kevin Durant.
As such, no matter which team wins Saturday, it won’t mean squat for any potential post-season match-up between them.
Score: Warriors 118 - Clippers 109
High scorers: Klay Thompson (GSW) and J.J. Redick (LAC)