The team with the worst record in the Western Conference takes on one of the best teams in the league when the Golden State Warriors visit the LA Clippers on Friday night. Golden State has just nine wins on the season and has dropped six straight, while the Clippers’ 26 victories are as many as any team in the West other than the Lakers.
How many “rebuilding” seasons featured a team playing half of their games on national television? The answer is two, the old Kobe Bryant Lakers, and now these Warriors.
Stephen Curry broke his hand after just four games, and Klay Thompson isn’t playing at all this season. Draymond Green has been in and out of the lineup, plus the team is full mostly of younger guys and D’Angelo Russell.
It was supposed to be a must-see new-look team with Kevin Durant gone and the new backcourt, but injuries and struggles to adapt have doomed the Warriors.
The Clippers have had an exceptional campaign, going 26-12. Kawhi Leonard is playing about 75 percent of the games as they continue to rest him on “load management,” while Paul George is playing well alongside him. Patrick Beverley has missed time, and the Clippers have replaced him with no issues, as they did for a month without Landry Shamet.
Los Angeles’ ceiling is, of course, winning the conference and getting to the Finals. The playoff picture will be interesting down the stretch as all teams jostle for position. If the Clippers play the Lakers, the series would involve no travel.
The spread for Friday night’s primetime showdown in California has the Clippers favored by 13. The over/under is set at 221.5.
Trying For Double-Digit Wins
The Warriors had an impressive win over the Rockets on Christmas Day, which gave them a third straight win at the time. But they have been unable to get any mojo or rhythm since then.
Golden State is 26th in points scored while ranking 20th in points allowed. And though it had to happen, the Warriors cut Marquese Chriss to make room for Damion Lee. Chriss was providing rim protection, floor spacing and some high-flying dunks.
Lee, Curry’s brother-in-law, has played fantastic basketball this year, including several double-doubles. Several of the Warriors’ players are still under 25, and they will improve as it goes. When they have their backcourt healthy next season along with a lottery pick and new talent, they’ll be tough.
The Warriors may have the weakest starting center spot in the league, and that is something they’ll have to work to shore up. We’ll see what they do to try and turn things around.
Looking To Stay Focused
The big key for Los Angeles is to get into its rhythm right off the bat. Unfortunately, they will be without George, who is now dealing with a hamstring injury. It will be on Lou Williams and Montrezl Harrell to get things going,
Those two, along with Leonard, are going to have to get it going and power the offense. It will also be a day where the deep ball should be featured prominently. They have a clear advantage at most every position Friday night, so they have to use it.
Doc Rivers has done well in helping his team avoid significant upsets by beating top teams. That shouldn’t change.
Clippers Come Away With Win
It will be a tough night for Golden State as Steve Kerr’s club drops to 9-31. They’ll be better next year. The Clippers get it done.
Free Play: LAC -13
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