The Clippers have to take a hike up Interstate 5 to meet the Warriors at their new stadium. Can the Clippers bounce back in the first of this two game series?
Where: Chase Center, San Francisco, California
When: 7:00 PM PT
How to Watch: ESPN, AM 570
Projected Starting Lineups
Warriors: Stephen Curry – Kelly Oubre, Jr. – Andrew Wiggins –– Draymond Green – James Wiseman
Clippers: Patrick Beverley – Luke Kennard – Kawhi Leonard – Nic Batum – Serge Ibaka
Warriors: Marquese Chriss, Out (Lower leg); Alen Smailagic, Out (Ankle); Klay Thompson (Achilles)
Clippers: Marcus Morris, Questionable (Knee soreness); Paul George, Questionable (Ankle sprain)
The Big Picture
Although the Warriors are still a shell of themselves, the Clippers need to think of this game as a must-win. The Pacific division is shaping up to be one of the most competitive in the league, so any chance the Clippers get to beat a division rival is important.
This will be an interesting test for the Clippers because it is there first back-to-back of the season for which they have to travel for one of the games. Moreover, the Clippers play the Warriors again on Friday, which is another logistical wrinkle the team has not dealt with yet.
That said, the Clippers should be the favorite for tonight’s game: The Warriors’ bench is pretty shallow bench, do not shoot very well from the field, and are twenty-fifth in the league in defensive rating. Regardless of whether or not Paul George is able to play, the Clippers will have stronger roster by a good amount.
As referenced above, the Clippers will need to navigate a few issues to get through this game. They are traveling (albeit not that far) on the second night of a back-to-back, may be without Paul George and Marcus Morris, Sr. again, and Kawhi typically does not play two nights in a row. The Warriors, on the other hand, had Tuesday night off and are coming off a convincing win against the Kings.
And the Warriors, of course, can still score. They are fifth in the league in points per game and lead the league in pace. The Clippers have excelled in the half court, but have not faired as well in quicker games. In fact, they are last in the league in pace. If the Clippers come out slow like they did against the Spurs, the Warriors will be off to the races early and the Clippers will have less in the tank to chase them down, given the back-to-back.
The Warriors two best players – Curry and Wiseman – also present some match up issues for the Clippers. Patrick Beverly will likely have to try and corral Curry, which will be a challenge. Moreover, although Kawhi and PG (if available) can usually pick up opponents’ perimeter scorers, Curry will be a huge match up problem for whoever else has to guard him.
Wiseman should not be too tough of a cover, but he is another center who can attack the rim and is a threat to shoot. Ibaka and Zubac will have to find ways to show on screens and recover strong enough to get back in front of Wiseman.
- Where is Zubac?: Ivica has had an up-and-down adjustment to his new role off the bench. Against the Spurs, though, he only took one shot in eighteen minutes (-18 for the game). For the second unit to be consistent (especially while the Clippers don’t have a full roster), Zubac will need to be a legitimate threat on the pick-and-roll and will need to pick up his rebounding.
- Who is Kennard, really?: After playing really well against the Suns, Kennard had a tough night against the Spurs (3/10 from the field). Since the Clippers will likely be short-handed yet again tonight, a strong game from Kennard would be a big help, especially since we cannot count on Beverly going 6/9 from three again.
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