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Clippers at Warriors Preview: Halfway through the 2017-18 season

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Curry and Durant lead, but this whole team is stacked. Look out NBA! (sorry Clips)

NBA: JAN 06 Warriors at Clippers Photo by Brian Rothmuller/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

In talking about this game beforehand, fellow Golden State of Mind writer Thomas Bevilacqua perfectly nailed how the “rivalry” between the Golden State Warriors and Los Angeles Clippers feels:

It’s one of my favorite movie scenes, but I think there’s a nice way that the Warriors-Clippers “rivalry” is like the end of the Matrix. The 2014 playoffs is when Agent Smith thinks he’s killed Neo and then everything that’s happened after with the two is quite casually destroying the agents without really putting too much effort into it.

It applies perfectly for the Warriors/I like to imagine Steph is just seeing code out there when he’s on the court.

Here’s the scene he’s talking about, in case you need a refresher.

WHAT: Warriors vs. Clippers

WHEN: Wednesday, January 10 — 7:30 p.m.

WHERE: Oracle Arena

WATCH: NBCSBA, ESPN

RADIO: 95.7 The Game

“Wait, you mean I’ll make every shot”

”No Steph, when the time comes, you’ll make everyone else so good, you won’t need to”

With 41 games down this season, we are at the exact halfway point of the regular season — a reasonable time to take stock of the team and reflect on how it’s gone so far. And the answer is pretty damn rosy, folks.

First place in the West, all major parts are clicking, and we have even gotten a couple of nice surprises from David West and Jordan Bell, who are both turning in performances well above expectations.

Steph Curry has returned from his ankle injury in prime form, turning this year into yet another strong campaign for 2018 NBA Most Valuable Player. It’s ironic in a way, that both Curry and Kevin Durant have covered for each other so well that they are somehow both managing to hurt their own cases.

Speaking of Durant, it’s likely that this will be the game he returns. Still no official word from the team, but he was out shooting and moving well before our last game.

“You take the blue pill, the story ends. You wake up in your bed and believe whatever you want to believe. You take the red pill, you stay in Wonderland, and I show you how deep the rabbit hole goes.”

The Clippers are in a very, very weird place right now.

As Thomas was pointing out for us earlier, the rivalry here died back in 2014, but the Clipper moribund form is still wandering the fringes of the playoff pack in a crowded Western conference. But after looking at them, they really are not in that bad of a position.

After losing star guard Chris Paul, and despite a rash of injuries, the Clippers (18-21) took down Atlanta on Monday and have won seven of their last 10 games. They’re sitting just two games behind the Pelicans for the last playoff spot, and only three games back from the 6th seeded Thunder. That’s...honestly impressive when you consider that they are without their starting point guard, small forward, and.. well you get the point.

Since we last saw them, the Clippers have regained their winning ways, beating the Atlanta Hawks by a score of 108-107. But they’re still without their point guard and small forward for a while, and Blake Griffin (concussion protocol) hasn’t yet recovered from a nasty (inadvertent) elbow from Javale McGee in our last meeting.

Ok, so they haven’t figured out the Warriors — no one really has. But generally, they are actually surviving the season okay; especially once you factor in all the injuries they’ve endured. For now, the Clippers seem content to play out their hand, but a hard decision about rebuild/retool/tank is going to become harder to avoid as this franchise flounders in the classic NBA whirlpool of being too good to hit gold in the draft lottery, and yet not good enough to seriously contend for a championship. The Clippers have found a good mix of talent if they can just clean up their roster a bit and get a little more help.

Probably not going to happen by game time.

Warriors 127, Clippers 102