Los Angeles Clippers at Golden State Warriors
Pepsi Center, Denver
January 2, 2013 7:30p PT
FOX Prime Ticket
The Clippers look to start a new streak, as they travel to Oakland to take on the Golden State Warriors. Here’s Fred Katz, Michael Shagrin and Jovan Buha going 3 on 3:
1. Which Warriors player do the Clippers really need to watch out for tonight?
Fred Katz: Klay Thompson. The Clippers have made a habit of getting hurt by wing players that can shoot. Thompson has stepped up his scoring in his second NBA season and has the ability to go off from three. That’s not a good combination for the Clippers.
Jovan Buha: Stephen Curry. Last time these two teams met he lit the Clippers up for 23 points and four assists. He only shot 2-for-7 from beyond the arc; in fact, the Warriors only made 4-of-16 3-pointers, a number that will likely swing the other way this game.
Michael Shagrin: David Lee. While there are plenty of en vogue choices on the Warriors, David Lee’s game has a sense of sustainability to it. He’s a big body with a deft touch around the rim, a constant threat from the midrange, and he has excellent body control and box out ability to help him on the glass.
2. Which improved defense has impressed you more: Golden State or the Clippers?
Katz: Golden State because they haven’t had their best defensive player in Andrew Bogut. DeAndre Jordan has proven to be a legitimate defensive anchor and the bench has probably been the most productive defensive second unit in the NBA, but a strong defense that sports Festus Ezeli in the paint means that Mark Jackson has done a heck of a job so far this year.
Buha: Golden State. The Clippers had the blueprint for a good defense: young athletic big men (Blake and DJ) and two bulldog point guards (CP3 and Bledsoe). Meanwhile, the Warriors are missing their defensive anchor in Andrew Bogut, and have traditionally had one of the league’s worst defenses. Not much has changed personnel-wise, so their rise is surprising..
Shagrin: Golden State. With minimal changes to the roster (beyond the curiously effective Festus Ezeli) and no coaching change, one would expect the Warriors’ defensive woes to continue from last season to this one. However, the benefits of Mark Jackson’s defensive-oriented coaching style seems to have been magnified by a full-fledged training camp. Less surprisingly the roster upgrades for the Clippers and the development of DeAndre Jordan and Blake Griffin has provided improvements on defense.
3. This game can’t possible be as ugly as the last meeting, right?
Katz: The last game was pretty hideous. We’re talking Harold and Kumar Freakshow ugly. This game probably stands to be better. Both teams are playing strong basketball and Golden State, which owns one of the toughest places to play in the NBA, is going to want to protect that 10-4 home record.
Buha: Both teams have settled into their identities at this point in the season, so I expect a much more entertaining game. If the Denver loss and Jarrett Jack’s recent comments are any indication, the Clippers will have plenty of motivation to win tonight.
Shagrin: No chance. The Clippers and Warriors have both found their stride thirty games into the season and each expect quite a lot out of themselves. On the other hand, Marc Jackson’s ruthless approach to coaching strategy could lead him to try and muck the game up as much as possible in an effort to take away Chris Paul’s advantage. Do I hear “Deck-A-DeAndre?”