Both teams start the season with a Californian flavor, and after facing the same opponent on opening night, the Golden State Warriors and the Los Angeles Clippers get to resume what has turned out into quite a vicious rivalry.
The Warriors were the team that ended the Clippers impressive early season win streak, and they head into their first road game of the season with plenty of confidence after beating the Lakers by 31 points. Klay Thompson had a huge night with 38, hitting 15-of-19 from the field including five three pointers. The Clippers faced the same rival day earlier, losing, surprisingly, by 13 points.
One of the problems for the Clippers in that game was their defense, allowing the Lakers to score 41 points in the final quarter of the game. Blake Griffin and Chris Paul both played quite well, while DeAndre Jordan was very hard to stop in the paint with 16 points, but unless they step up their efforts defensively, it’s going to be much more difficult season for the Clippers than expected, not being used to the favorites label that’s been put on them this season.
The Warriors are heading into this season with just as much as a confident feeling based on their conference semifinals finish last season, and the dominant win over the Lakers just helped give them another boost. Andre Iguodala has arrived to toughen up and smarten a defense that was already quite good last year, but was probably a bit over-physical and slightly dirty at times en route to getting what they wanted, which sorta unraveled at some point against the Warriors.
The Clippers will look to get a much bigger night from their role players, after J.J. Redick, Jared Dudley and Matt Barnes had a disappointing start to the season on both ends of the floor. Something for Doc Rivers to watch for: The discipline of his players on defense, which seems to fall apart any time someone goes for an untimely steal that doesn’t come up well.
Prediction – The Warriors had the Clippers numbers last year, but early in the season back to back games aren’t what you’re looking for. The Clippers might not be able to fix their defensive problems in two days, but their offense should look a lot better after some tweaks, while the Warriors won’t be able to shoot as well as they did against the Lakers.