It’s hard to refer to a game in the first month of the season one of the biggest of the season, but it’s certainly difficult to find a rivalry that’s more testy these days than the one between the Golden State Warriors and the Los Angeles Clippers.
The Warriors are off to an incredible start, leading the league in pretty much every important measurable while blowing out opponents by 25 points per game through the first four, including the Memphis Grizzlies by 50 points. The Clippers, like the Warriors, are 4-0 so far (one of only three teams, along with the Raptors), looking quite convincing, but winning by “just” 8.5 points per game. A world of difference.
In the days leading up to the season, the Clippers and especially Doc Rivers were quite vocal about certain aspects of the Warriors championship run last season, which ruffled some feathers, especially for Klay Thompson. On the eve of the first meeting between the two teams (one of four, with the first in Oakland) this season, it seems that there’s an attempt to calm things down a little bit and keep the Warriors a little bit off their edge.
J.J. Redick said he doesn’t understand why the Warriors are feeling disrespected. Doc Rivers kept his line of trying to mess with the Warriors heads by giving them a compliment but not really meaning it. Maybe it’s the Clippers wanting to try and lull the Warriors into a less combative mode, which has motivated them to some exceptional performances. Or perhaps they’re really wondering why the Warriors are so busy trying to convince everyone off the court about their title credentials. Who needs to talk when you’re doing such a great job on the court?
It’ll be interesting to see if playing against a point guard like Chris Paul will somehow cool Stephen Curry down a bit. He’s been scorching since the season began, averaging 37 points on 59.5% shooting through the first four games. Paul is averaging “only” 15.3 points and 8 assists per game, while Blake Griffin has been the one doing most of the damage offensively through the 4-0 start, averaging 29.5 points on 62.2% from the field, and he’s averaged 24.1 points in his last 15 games against Golden State. Expect the elbows and other dirty things to fly from Draymond Green and others at Griffin’s direction.