L.A. Clippers At Golden State
When: 10:30 PM
ET, Thursday, February 23, 2017
Where: Oracle Arena, Oakland, California
The stretch run in the NBA begins when teams come back from the All-Star break on Thursday, and everyone is chasing the Golden State Warriors. The Warriors will try to further solidify their standing as the top team in the Western Conference when they host the Los Angeles Clippers on Thursday.
The Clippers are one of several teams active on the trade market as they try to add an impact piece to help close the gap between themselves and Golden State, but the return of point guard Chris Paul from a thumb injury might be the only thing the team needs to make things interesting. Paul is expected to be out until the middle of March after undergoing surgery to repair a torn thumb ligament in January, but Los Angeles may have finally figured out how to win without their leader during a string of four straight victories prior to the break. The Warriors are not big players at the trade deadline after making their key acquisition with the signing of Kevin Durant last summer, and they enter the final stretch of 26 games with a 12-game lead over the Clippers in the Pacific Division and a four-game gap over the San Antonio Spurs atop the West. Golden State got less rest than most teams during the break as Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, Draymond Green and Durant all played in the All-Star game.
TV: 10:30 p.m. ET, TNT
ABOUT THE CLIPPERS (35-21): Perennial All-Stars Paul and Blake Griffin were left out of the All-Star game after injury-plagued first halves but center DeAndre Jordan represented Los Angeles and even earned some playing time with all four Warriors in the West's 192-182 triumph. Griffin missed 20 of the first 56 games but is making up for lost time while averaging 25.5 points on 52.1 percent shooting, 8.9 rebounds and 6.3 assists in eight games this month. Griffin, who can become a free agent this summer, is drawing plenty of interest on the trade market but is considered unlikely to move.
ABOUT THE WARRIORS (47-9): Golden State is unlikely to reach last season's record 73-9 regular season but is just as dominant while leading the league in scoring (118.2), field-goal percentage (50.1), assists (31), point differential (plus-12.8) and 3-point defensive field-goal percentage (32.5) while ranking second in defensive field-goal percentage (43.6). Durant is proving to be a seamless fit while averaging a team-best 25.8 points on a career-high 53.9 percent shooting. Durant showed off during the All-Star game by collecting a triple-double with 21 points, 10 rebounds and 10 assists while Curry added 21 points, Thompson scored 12 and Green collected seven rebounds and six assists for the West.
1. Warriors PF David West (thumb) and C Zaza Pachulia (shoulder) are not expected to return until next week at the earliest.
2. Jordan failed to advance out of the first round in the slam dunk contest and scored six points on 3-of-5 shooting during the All-Star game.
3.Golden State took the last nine in the series, including the first three meetings this season by an average of 25.3 points.
PREDICTION: Warriors 120, Clippers 106
Stats and Records
Golden State Off vs
L.A. Clippers Def
118.2 Points For
104.1 Points Against