The Los Angeles Clippers and Golden State Warriors hope a week-long break provides the cure for a losing streak when they clash to open the NBA’s second half at the Staples Center in Los Angeles on Thursday night.
The Pacific Division rivals met twice earlier this season in San Francisco, splitting a three-day, two-game sequence.
The Clippers rebounded from a 115-105 loss in the second game of the set to win seven in a row and move to the top of the Western Conference standings in late January.
However, six losses in their last nine games — including a season-high three in a row heading into the All-Star break — have pushed them down to fourth in the West as they embark on the final 34 games of the season.
When last seen, the Clippers not only were losing 119-117 at Washington, but they also feared the worst when Paul George had to sit out the game because of dizziness.
But one day later, George reported he was fine — in fact, he went on to score 17 points in the All-Star Game — and admitted that he’d learned something about his body.
“I had too much caffeine,” he insisted. “It made me real jittery and sped me up. A lesson learned: Never have too much caffeine too close on back-to-back (games).”
George and Kawhi Leonard each averaged 23.0 points in the two earlier meetings with Golden State. George added 12 rebounds in the win, before only four in the loss. Leonard shot 7-for-12 in the win, then 7-for-17 in the defeat.
The Warriors also will take the court on a season-worst, three-game skid, coming up empty on a trip to Los Angeles to face the Lakers before falling at Portland and Phoenix.
Warriors coach Steve Kerr chose to sit out Stephen Curry, Draymond Green and Kelly Oubre in last Thursday’s loss at Phoenix, opting to give them an extra day of rest heading into a rugged start to the second half.
Golden State next draws Utah and the Lakers in a back-to-back at home on Sunday and Monday.
Curry did anything but rest on Sunday, first winning his second NBA 3-Point Contest, then contributing eight 3-pointers and 28 points to Team LeBron’s win in the All-Star Game.
Green believes the Warriors as a team gained a bit of momentum from Curry’s individual efforts.
“The way he showed up and showed out on Sunday night … winning the 3-Point Contest in the fashion that he did, it kind of jump-started the All-Star Game,” Green observed in the wake of the performance. “Getting the energy in there, that’s who Steph is. He brings the energy to the gym. I thought it was amazing. It was very indicative of what Steph Curry is showing and saying to the world this year.”
Curry was the biggest difference-maker in the two earlier games against the Clippers. He struggled through a 1-for-6 3-point effort and totaled just 13 points in Golden State’s loss, before exploding for nine 3-pointers in 14 tries and 38 points in the Warriors’ win.
The meeting will be the last of the season for the clubs in a series that has been dominated by the road team in recent years. The Warriors have prevailed in nine of their last 13 visits to the Staples Center when the Clippers have been the opponent.
–Field Level Media