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Warriors vs. Clippers Preview: Take a hit, watch the film, run it back

Take two.

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Los Angeles Clippers v Golden State Warriors Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

The Golden State Warriors are in the midst of their second baseball series of the year, and they’re hoping it goes similarly to the first one. After getting destroyed by the Portland Trail Blazers a week ago, the Dubs came back with a convincing win two days later.

They didn’t get destroyed in Game 1 of their second doubleheader, but they did lose to the Los Angeles Clippers. And they’re hoping the bounce-back is just as strong this time.

The deets

Who: Golden State Warriors (4-4) vs. Los Angeles Clippers (6-3)

When: 7:00 p.m PT

Where: Chase Center, San Francisco, California

TV: ESPN (available through fuboTV)

Projected starting lineups:

Warriors: Stephen Curry, Kelly Oubre Jr., Andrew Wiggins, Draymond Green, James Wiseman
Clippers: Patrick Beverley, Paul George, Kawhi Leonard, Nicolas Batum, Serge Ibaka

Last results:

Warriors: Lost to Clippers 108-101, 3-2 in their last 5
Clippers: Beat Warriors 108-101, 3-2 in their last 5

Team ratings (garbage time adjusted, per Cleaning The Glass):

Warriors: 107.5 offense (21st), 112.4 defense (20th), -4.9 net (23rd)
Clippers: 118.0 offense (2nd), 114.3 defense (23rd), +3.6 net (9th)

The story

Against the Blazers, the Warriors responded to a 25-point loss with a 15-point win. It was an impressive showing that represented both the team’s ability to make adjustments and their resilience.

Now’s a chance to prove that wasn’t a fluke. Unlike in the first game against Portland, Golden State looked really good in their first game against LA. Sometimes you play well and lose, and that’s what happened to the Warriors.

There’s room for improvement: Steph Curry struggled to score; the Dubs shot just 26.7% from beyond the arc; and they let momentum and whistles get them flustered in the final minutes of the game.

Now we see how they bounce back.

Players to watch

Warrior to watch: Steph Curry.

We’ve seen Curry have a few games this year where the shot isn’t falling, but against the Clippers on Wednesday he seemed out of rhythm more than at any other point in the year.

I won’t pretend to know what caused that, but there are plenty of potential reasons. Patrick Beverley is a tremendous defender who provides strong ball pressure. The Clippers were sending help defense early and often. The Warriors offense wasn’t moving much and creating space. Wednesday was a difficult and emotional day with a lot of distractions. Variance happens. Bad games happen.

Whatever the reason, we don’t see him have bad games twice in a row with much frequency, so keep your eye on the Dubs best player.

Clipper to watch: Lou Williams.

It’s easy to say that the Warriors only lost by seven despite an off-night by Curry, and 0-for-6 from distance from Kelly Oubre Jr., and an overall dreadful shooting night by the entire team. But the Clippers also have reasons to believe they’ll play better, and one of them is Williams.

Williams had a distinctly un-Lou game on Wednesday, going 1-for-4 from the field for 3 points. He’s been more passive shooting the ball this year than in prior years, but you still don’t expect to see one of the most dynamic bench weapons in the league shoot just four times. The Warriors need to be ready for him.

Matchup to watch: Kelly Oubre Jr. vs. Paul George.

Stop me if you’ve heard this before, but Oubre had another rough shooting night on Wednesday, going 4-for-13 from the field, and pushing his season total on three-pointers to 6-for-42.

But he did play strong defense on George, holding the Clippers star to 21 points on 5-for-15 shooting (though he did earn nine trips to the free throw line). As has been the case almost all season long, the Warriors praised Oubre’s defensive effort and impact after the game, while stressing that his shot will come around.

If he plays strong defense against George — who has the ability to erupt on any given night — it gives the Warriors a chance to win. If he contributes offensively, then it gives them a good chance.

Keys to victory

  • Kelly Oubre Jr. needs to make at least two shots from beyond the arc
  • Don’t lose the rebounding battle as poorly as it was lost on Wednesday
  • Adjust to the Clippers defense and get Steph Curry the ball with space
  • Andrew Wiggins needs to make Kawhi Leonard’s life difficult

Here we go Dubs. A golden opportunity.

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