L.A. Clippers at Golden State Warriors
January 21, 2013 1 p.m. PST
FOX Prime Ticket
The Clippers have won three straight on the road and now find themselves tied with the Thunder for the best road record in the NBA (13-5). They have swept two road trips of at least three games (one was a four-game trip) for the first time in franchise history. The last road loss, though? That came at the hands of the Warriors, a 21-point thrashing of the Clips on Jan. 2. But before the Clippers head to the Oracle for the second and final time this season, here’s your 3-on-3:
1. With the way Golden State’s bench celebrated last time in Oakland, and Marc Jackson’s “heavyweight” stare in Los Angeles, is this now a rivalry game?
Jovan Buha, (@jovanbuha): No. I think it “might” be headed in that direction, but a rivalry can’t be established unless the teams meet in a grueling playoff series (Memphis) or play in the same city/area (Lakers). Otherwise, this is just two divisional foes who don’t seem to like each other very much.
Michael Shagrin, (@mshaggy): No. Rivalries require history, a bone-deep hatred for the opponent that knows no bounds in either its rationality or viciousness. I’m still hard pressed to call the Lakers and Clippers rivals simply because they’ve yet to face off in a game with championship implications.
Fred Katz, (@FredKatz): Yes. If both teams get amped for a game, it probably means something. Maybe the fans don’t hate each other yet, but when there’s an intensity between the players, the fanatics tend to mimic it and it doesn’t take too long for that attitude to spread into the stands.
2. Over/Under: 1.5 All-Stars for the Warriors?
Buha: Under. Now, I hope I’m wrong (that’s not the best way to start an argument). My gut feeling is that the Warriors only get one guy in, and his name is Stephen Curry. However, I think David Lee is just as deserving. Two should be in, but one is most likely.
Shagrin: Under, but only because of politics. It would be a legitimate travesty to leave David Lee off the team with his numbers better than just about any big in the West and the Warriors bounding their way to a respectable playoff seed. Steph Curry, on the other hand, should have a spot as the third reserve guard after Russell Westbrook and James Harden, but with the candidacies of Tony Parker (NBA coaches respect winning) and Jamal Crawford, a nod for Curry just seems unlikely.
Katz: Over. At least that’s the way it should be. Stephen Curry has probably become the best shooter in the game and while David Lee has actually had equally as impressive seasons in the past, a lot of the Warriors’ success deserves to be attributed to him.
3. The Clippers will win this game if…
Buha: …they rebound. That’s odd hearing in preparation for the Golden State Warriors, but in the Clippers’ two losses to them, the Warriors out-boarded them by 30. In the Clippers sole win, they out-rebounded the Warriors by 11. The glass, among other things (shooting, free throws, turnovers), will likely determine this game.
Shagrin: …they rotate and rebound. The Warriors will kill you from the perimeter if they have the time and space to shoot. When the Clips finally emerged victorious against Golden State on their third attempt of the season, it corresponded with Warriors shooting a lowly 5/20 from three-point range. In the previous meeting, Golden State shot better than 50% from beyond the arc (12/23). But if rotations are the sole priority, the game will likely parallel the first matchup of the season–the Warriors shot only 4/16 from three but made their money on the boards, aggressively limiting the Clippers second chance opportunities while creating plenty of their own.
Katz: …Steph Curry doesn’t hit his shots. Curry sat a couple games after yet another ankle injury but returned to shoot only 5-for-17 from the field against the Hornets on Saturday. If he takes a little while to get his touch back, the Clippers come out with a major advantage.
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