The Golden State Warriors (23-4) will look to rebound from an ugly loss Tuesday night against the Los Angeles Lakers (9-19), as they play against the Los Angeles Clippers (19-10) on Christmas night.
The first meeting between these two teams, which was played in the Oracle Arena on November 6th, was complete destruction by Golden State. The Warriors got off to a 30-20 lead after the first frame and ended up defeating the Clippers, 121-104.
Stephen Curry was a force to be reckoned, scoring a game-high 28 points while also dishing out seven assists and grabbing six rebounds. This performance put Curry in the conversation for MVP, and he has yet to give any of the doubters a reason to think otherwise. Draymond Green came out to play in his early season matchup against perennial All-Star, Blake Griffin. He controlled the game on both the offensive and defensive side of the ball. Griffin only managed to score 14 points and grabbed only one rebound throughout the whole contest. Green made a statement that game, showing that he can be Steve Kerr’s beloved stretch four by shooting 4-of-8 from beyond the arc and scoring 24 points, grabbing eight boards, and dishing out five assists.
The Warriors showed off their tremendous, new ball movement offensive scheme and got great shots, knocking down 60 percent from the field and beyond the arc.
The Clippers are showing more chemistry as of late, and it seems that Doc Rivers has finally got his team playing at the level he believes they should. There will be several marquee matchups to look in this game. One would be Curry versus Chris Paul, a battle of two of the top three point guards in the NBA. Draymond Green and Blake Griffin, who have a nice emerging rivalry brewing up as of late, will look to go to battle once again in this important Western Conference matchup.
Klay Thompson will look to show off his great two way skills with tenacious defense and his improving offensive arsenal with new post up and drive moves and the always present three-point game against matchups J.J. Reddick and reigning Sixth Man of the Year Jamal Crawford.
It will be interesting to look how Coach Kerr will adapt his rotations in order to try to contain the inside presence of big man such as Griffin and DeAndre Jordan. With Andrew Bogut sidelined due to his knee injury and Festus Ezeli questionable due a mild left ankle sprain, we are going to see big minutes from Marreese Speights and David Lee. David Lee will want to come out and show that he is fully healthy and able to still be a contributing piece for the Warriors Championship aspiration.
The Clippers had their way inside in last year's playoff series between the two teams. One thing to keep an eye on is if Steve Kerr will have a better answer than Mark Jackson did. Defensive concentration and consistent help will be key in the Warriors coming out on top. Golden State must also not take any plays off on the offensive side of the ball. They can't afford to commit turnovers at an alarming rate that plagued them in the beginning of the season and during their latest loss to the Lakers.
In a Western Conference where there are no off nights and every game is critical in the standings, this matchup will be a great end to a wonderful slate of Christmas games. Will the Warriors continue their season dominance of the Clippers and continue their NBA best record? Or will we see the Clippers come out with a statement win? Either way, this should be a great game of basketball to end Christmas day.