LOS ANGELES CLIPPERS (35-21)
at GOLDEN STATE WARRIORS (47-9)
Tip-off: Thursday, 10:35 p.m. ET
Line: N/A, Total: N/A
Both the Clippers and Warriors will be looking to earn a victory coming out of the break on Thursday.
Los Angeles was playing very well heading into the break, as the team had won-and-covered in four straight. The Clippers most recently hosted the Hawks on Feb. 15, and they came away with a 99-84 victory as 3.5-point home favorites in that one. The Clippers really got things done on the defensive end of the floor in their past two contests, allowing just 78.0 PPG against the Jazz and Hawks. Theyíll now hope to put forth another effort like that, but it wonít be easy against the Warriors on Thursday. The Warriors have, however, dominated this head-to-head series this season. Golden State is 3-0 both SU and ATS when facing Los Angeles on the year, and each of those victories has come by double digits. The Warriors are also 9-0 SU and 6-3 ATS versus the Clippers since the start of 2015. One trend that does favor the Clippers in this game is the fact that they are 6-5 ATS as a road underdog this season. They are also 18-16 ATS when coming off of a SU win, and 2-1 ATS when playing on three or more days rest this season. The Warriors, meanwhile, are also 2-1 both SU and ATS when playing with that much rest this season. Golden State also happens to be 15-11-1 ATS when playing as a home favorite on the year. PG Chris Paul (Thumb) is cleared to play for Los Angeles, but might not return for this one just yet. Golden State will be at full strength, though, and that is not good news for the Clippers.
If Paul is out, PF Blake Griffin (21.9 PPG, 8.8 RPG, 5.0 APG, 1.1 SPG) and C DeAndre Jordan (12.0 PPG, 13.8 RPG, 1.7 BPG) are going to need to play some incredible basketball against the Warriors. Los Angeles canít afford to have either of them struggle or the team will surely get blown out on Thursday. Fortunately for the Clippers, both of them are playing very well coming into this one. Griffin has especially looked great lately, as he seemingly has his old athleticism back. Griffin dealt with a knee injury earlier in the year, so itís huge that he is looking as healthy as ever right now. He had 31 points and eight rebounds the last time he faced the Warriors, and another performance like that would certainly be welcomed by his teammates. Two other guys that can help the Clippers pull off this upset are SGs Austin Rivers (12.2 PPG, 3.0 APG) and J.J. Redick (15.1 PPG). If they can both get hot in this game then the Clippers should stay competitive. They will, however, need to hold their own defensively, as theyíre going up against the best backcourt in basketball.
PG Stephen Curry (24.7 PPG, 6.4 APG, 4.3 RPG, 1.7 SPG) will be hyped up to face the Clippers on Thursday, as Curry is averaging 30.3 PPG and 7.7 APG in three meetings with Los Angeles on the season. He is also averaging 3.3 SPG on the other end, and these numbers are surely helped by the fact that Paul hasnít been playing. Still, Curry has been at his best against the Clippers this season and Paul might not be out there on Thursday either. Look for him to have another huge game on Thursday, as Curry loves playing in front of the fans at Oracle Arena. As always, SF Kevin Durant (25.8 PPG, 8.3 RPG, 4.9 APG, 1.7 BPG, 1.1 SPG), SG Klay Thompson (22.1 PPG) and PF Draymond Green (10.2 PPG, 8.2 RPG, 7.3 APG, 2.1 SPG, 1.5 BPG) can all be expected to make their marks on this game. Durant is one of the best players in basketball, and he is going up against a team that is weak at the small forward position. Thompson will continue to knock down threes, and Green will serve as a Swiss army knife. If two of the three of them struggled then the Warriors would still win this game, but even that is unlikely to happen.