Tonight on NBA League Pass, and disappointingly not ESPN, the Los Angeles Clippers and the Golden State Warriors will be facing off. It is a cross town showdown as Golden State is only a couple miles north of Los Angeles in California. This will be a shootout in California as both teams have rocket fire offense.
Both teams have star point guards leading the way, as Golden State has Stephen Curry, and the Los Angeles Clippers have Chris Paul. This will be an interesting match up as both have had big games against each other. Earlier this season, the two went at each other and scored a combined 80 points. Curry put it 38, and Chris Paul put in 42! In the end, the Clippers walked out with the win.
The next game, they dialed down the scoring and only scored a combined 41 points. Curry had 15, and Paul had 26. However, this time, the Warriors walked out with the win. The game in January, Chris Paul was injured and Steph Curry took advantage and won the game for the Warriors (In easy fashion: 111-92). Tonight, the world will see the two best point guards in the league go up against each other, and you don't want to miss it.
Another great match up to watch tonight is David Lee and Blake Griffin. Neither of them have really dominated the other in their match ups. David Lee averages 22 PPG and 9.6 TRB, while Griffin averages 23 PPG and 8 TRB. They don't really have a heated rivalry, but it's always interesting to see two greats go head to head late in the season.
A big key to the game today will be turnovers and running in transition. The only game the Warriors lost to the Clippers this year, the team had a total of 24 turnovers. In the other two games COMBINED (Both wins for Golden State), the Warriors had 23 (11,12).
When the Clippers forced turnovers, they were able to outrun and jump the Warriors on the fast break. Los Angeles ended up with 22 points on the fast break (The game they won), compared to 14 in the previous game (Lost).
Another key to getting out on the fast break is grabbing rebounds. The game when the Clippers won, the Clippers out rebounded Golden State by 11 rebounds. The past two games, Golden State dominated the boards by a combined 30 rebounds! When Los Angeles grabs the rebounds and throws out let passes to Chris Paul, the Clippers have a great fast break.
If the Clippers do grab rebounds, force turnovers, and get out and run, the Clippers will win just like they did in November.
The Warriors key to victory will be slowing the game down, taking care of the ball, and getting their own three point shooters open. The Warriors can definitely get out and run, but the Clippers are the best in the NBA at running. The Warriors, on the other hand, have a great half court offense, and the Clippers struggle a bit in the half court.
The Warriors also need to get their shooters open. The only game Los Angeles won, Golden State's supporting shooters (In other words, not Steph Curry) only made three, three pointers. When they beat Los Angeles with Chris Paul playing, the supporting cast made 8 three pointers.
For the Warriors, they also need to play a less physical game. Los Angeles has the two biggest, toughest men in the post and will bully anyone in the post. The game Los Angles won, the Warriors were knocked off their game with 35 personal fouls. The next two games, the Warriors only had 22 and 21 personal fouls. The Warriors need to worry about playing basketball, and not fighting.
In the end, the Warriors need to slow the game down, get shooters open and play basketball. The Clippers, on the other hand, want to do the opposite and speed up the game, cause turnovers, play physical, and contain Stephen Curry and his three point shooters.
I see the Clippers winning tonight as they are on a big winning streak (8 games), and Blake Griffin is on a roll (26 PPG in March). The Warriors will not go down without a fight, but the Clippers are at home, with a healthy team, and on a roll. I see the Clippers winning tonight and stretching the win streak to 9 games.