- Tip Off: 7:30 PM PST
- Television: TNT, TSN (Canada)
Scope the Opposition: Clipperblog.
Preview: The Golden State Warriors (1-0) will be at Staples Center tonight to take on a Los Angeles Clippers (0-1) team that could potentially win the Western Conference.
The Clippers are coming off an opening night defeat at the hands of the Los Angeles Lakers in which the Purple and Gold’s bench simply blitzed them. Indeed, the Lakers reserves dropped an astounding 76 points on the Clips, with Xavier Henry leading the way with 22 points.
Despite the defeat, Lob City’s offense looked good for most of the night. They produced 103 points on 49.4 percent shooting from the field. Unlike in previous seasons, the Clips did not rely almost exclusively on pick-and-rolls.
They used a lot of off-ball movement and screens to free players up. The post-up plays they ran for Blake Griffin were simple in nature but effective nonetheless. He received the ball on the block with space to operate and score. Watch in the video below:
Naturally, the Clippers will run some of the same actions tonight against the Warriors with David Lee defending Griffin. Granted, Mark Jackson might switch things up and have Andrew Bogut defend L.A.’s starting power forward given that Griffin struggles against length.
The former Slam Dunk champion tends to get cute and tries to show off his ball-handling skills against bigger players and it usually results in tough contested attempts. Thus, Doc Rivers might engage Jackson in a chess match by setting big on big screens to force switches that isolate Griffin against Lee.
Keep in mind, this will be only one of the subplots of tonight’s tilt. The Clippers will still employ the pick-and-roll and use small-ball lineups to take advantage of their speed and athleticism. Furthermore, Rivers has shooters at his disposal, and that will stretch the floor and give Griffin room to operate both in the low post and in the pick-and-roll.
Golden State will have their hands full tonight when they square off against their Pacific division rivals, but the same is true for tonight’s home team.
The Dubs lit up the Lakers in their home opener and put the league on notice. Klay Thompson and company dropped 125 points on the Purple and Gold with the aid of their 3-point shooting. Indeed, Golden State converted 15-of-27 treys.
Thompson was a one-man show and probably gave the opposition nightmares well after the conclusion of the game. It got to a point where he was simply catching and shooting with little regard for the player tasked with crowding him. Have a look at his shooting chart from the Warriors’ home opener:
Chasing him around screens is hard enough as it is, but the Warriors add a layer of difficulty by camping David Lee out at the elbows where he can dive to the basket for a catch and finish or a simple post-up opportunity. Further exacerbating matters, there is still Stephen Curry to deal with both on and off the ball.
Warriors World reached out to Jovan Buha of Clipperblog (L.A. Clippers’ ESPN TrueHoop Affiliate blog) to get his take on the game and he had this to offer:
The X factor for tonight is the Clippers’ perimeter defense — particularly defending baseline screens and curls. The Warriors won the season series last year, 3-1, largely because they were able to break down the Clippers’ defense and create myriad open 3-point looks. Golden State is going to make a ton of 3s — it’s just what they do — but the Clippers have to be more alert and aggressive in their rotations. If the Lakers’ bench full of scrubs can light up this Clippers’ D, one only imagine what perhaps the best shooting backcourt in NBA history can achieve.
The tandem of Curry and Thompson presents a unique challenge for the Clips given that both players use screens almost flawlessly and make defenses pay for losing them.
In other words, unless the Clippers suffocate the Warriors’ offense, they are going to need a whole lot of points to keep pace with the Dubs.
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