PREGAME REPORT | JANUARY 2, 2013

 



Tip-off: 7:30 PM | Oracle Arena | Oakland, CA | Game Notes »

 

Rafael Guerrero

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One night after having their historic 17-game winning streak snapped in Denver, the Clippers travel to Oakland to take on the Golden State Warriors.

During their streak, the Clippers (25-7) shot better than 45% in 14 of the 17 games. But Tuesday in Denver, the team struggled mightily with their shooting, hitting only 38.5% of their shots, including a 5-for-29 night from beyond the arc.

They go up against a Warriors squad (21-10) who have not played since Dec. 29, a 101-83 victory over the Boston Celtics at Oracle Arena, their third consecutive victory and fourth win in their last five games.

Both teams were tied atop the Pacific Division standings when the Clippers started their run of 17 straight wins on Nov. 26 and, despite the winning streak, the Warriors were able keep pace winning 12 of their 16 games in that stretch to stay within striking distance in the division lead. The Warriors have a chance to cut the Clippers division lead to 2.5 games with a win on Wednesday.

The Warriors also boast one of the more formidable home-court advantages, having won 10 of their 14 games at Oracle Arena. The Clippers had won seven-straight road games prior to their loss in Denver.

LAST TIME OUT

Nuggets 92, Clippers 78: Like many of his teammates, Chris Paul had a night to forget on Tuesday. He scored just 10 points on 4-of-9 shooting and had three turnovers. As a team, the Clippers’ 78 points were their second lowest total this season. They scored 76 back on Nov. 23 in Brooklyn.

“We talked about being proud about the way they have stayed together through it but tonight, our defense, usually they can hold us up like they had in the streak but they didn’t tonight,” said Clippers head coach Vinny Del Negro, who was named December’s Western Conference Coach of the Month on Wednesday morning. “It’s early in the season and we have a lot of work to do, getting guys in and out of the lineup.

The loss ended the Clippers’ franchise-record 17-game winning streak and seven-game winning streak on the road. Blake Griffin had a solid start to the game but was saddled with foul trouble all night. He finished with a team-high 12 points on 4-of-11 shooting along with nine rebounds, but had five fouls in just 28 minutes.


Warriors 101, Celtics 83: The Warriors held Boston to 36% shooting from the field and 22.7% from beyond the arc on Dec. 29 as they cruised to a victory over the struggling Celtics, who were without Rajon Rondo (hip).

They outscored the Celtics 57-40 in the first half and then closed them out with a 25-16 fourth-quarter performance. Stephen Curry just missed a double-double, scoring 22 points to go along with nine assists. He also added three steals and two blocked shots. David Lee continued to make his case for an All-Star selection, dropping in 20 points on 10-for-15 shooting in just 32 minutes.

NOTEWORTHY MATCHUP

Blake Griffin vs. David Lee: Two of the top power forwards in the league will face off for the second time this season. Griffin got the better of Lee in the first matchup between the two teams on Nov. 3, scoring 19 points to Lee’s eight, but the Warriors walked out of Staples Center with the win.

Statistically, Lee is having a better season than the Clippers superstar forward averaging a double-double with 20.1 points and 11.0 rebounds per game. He had a streak of seven-consecutive games of scoring at least 20 points and grabbing 10 rebounds earlier in the season and has 19 double-doubles.

Griffin is averaging 17.8 points and 8.8 rebounds per game, down from his averages a year ago. His field goal percentage (54.1%) is also slightly down from last season. But Griffin has shown vast improvement in his jumper and is playing a career-low 32.1 minutes a game.

TWO THINGS TO WATCH

The 3-point Line: The Clippers shot just 17.2% from beyond the arc in Denver after shooting at least 40% from distance in four of their previous five games. Eric Bledsoe was the only player to hit more than one 3-point shot, going 2-for-3 despite being just a 30.8% shooter from downtown this season.

The Warriors are fifth in the NBA in 3-point percentage, hitting 38.6% of their shots from beyond the arc. Curry and Jarrett Jack are both ranked in the top 10 in the NBA in 3-point percentage while Klay Thompson is hitting 38.6% of his 3-pointers.

Free Throw Shooting: Compounding their struggles from the field against Denver, the Clippers also missed 16 of their 29 free throw attempts. Jamal Crawford and Griffin were the only players with multiple attempts to hit 50% or better from the charity stripe, going 5-of-6 and 4-of-7, respectively. DeAndre Jordan went 3-for-10.

NOTES

The Warriors beat the Clippers, 114-110, at Staples Center on Nov. 3. Chris Paul scored 29 points and hit 19-of-20 free throw attempts in the loss… Lee is sixth in the NBA in rebounding and second among forwards behind only Zach Randolph of the Grizzlies… Curry is averaging 3.1 turnovers a game for the Warriors, the 10th most in the NBA… The Clippers are 2-4 in their last six games at Oracle Arena.

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