After a week off from the grind of the NBA season, the LA Clippers will be thrown right back into the fire, as they’ll have to deal with the one-man army that is Stephen Curry. The Clippers will face off against the Golden State Warriors on Thursday night, as they hope to start the second half of the season off on the right foot after losing six of their last nine games before the All-Star break.
There will be no excuses for the Clippers on Thursday, as they’ll be going into the matchup fully healthy, with no injuries to report. Kawhi Leonard and Paul George had both missed time before the All-Star break with various ailments, but they both looked healthy in the All-Star game and they’ve had ample time to rest and get their bodies right. Marcus Morris Sr. will also make his return after missing time with a concussion.
The Warriors seem to be fully healthy as well, although a missed COVID test by James Wiseman might mean the no. 2 overall pick could miss the game due to health and safety protocols. Head Coach Steve Kerr said he’s still unsure whether Wiseman will be able to play.
In terms of defending the Warriors, the Clippers plan should be fairly simple: make someone besides Curry beat them. He’s as central to his team’s success as any player in the league right now (Golden State is 13.2 points better per 100 possessions with Curry on the floor), and they have very few offensive options beyond him. If Kelly Oubre Jr. and Draymond Green can knock down threes after Curry passes out of double-teams and traps, then so be it. But the Clippers should double-team and trap regardless, and bet on Golden State’s role players hitting their shots at a below-average rate, as they have been so far this season.
Defensively, Golden State ranks sixth in the NBA, thanks in large part to Green; he’s still an excellent switch defender and weak-side helper. The Warriors also have a surprising amount of athletic length at the wing positions in Wiggins, Oubre and Juan Toscano-Anderson.
If the Clippers can successfully limit Curry by sending multiple defenders at him and not losing him when he’s playing off the ball, the Clippers should have a decent shot at winning. But that is easier said than done—Curry is a nightmare to chase off of screens, and understands misdirection as well as anyone in the league.
How to Watch
Matchup: LA Clippers (24-14) vs. Golden State Warriors (19-18)
Date: Thursday, March 11
Time: 7:00 p.m. PT
Venue: Staples Center
Broadcast Information: TNT
Spread: Clippers -7
Moneyline: Warriors +240, Clippers -295
Odds courtesy of FanDuel Sportsbook