After completing a successful homestand in dramatic fashion on Friday night, the Warriors will play a rare road game in January when they visit the Los Angeles Clippers. The Pacific Division showdown will tip off at 7:30 p.m., and fans will be able to follow the action live on CSN Bay Area (HD) and KNBR 680.
The Warriors head into Los Angeles riding a season-long four-game winning streak. Their most recent victory, a thrilling 119-112 overtime triumph over the Kings on Friday, came at a price, as Monta Ellis suffered a sprained left ankle late in the game. Ellis is considered a game-time decision, and x-rays will not be needed. A prime candidate to make next months All-Star Game, Ellis has yet to miss a game this season, so whether or not hes healthy enough to play on Saturday will be a huge storyline.
If Ellis is unable to go, look for Stephen Curry to step up his game. The second-year guard will be coming off a 34-point night in which he scored 16 points in the third quarter. With the Warriors down nine with less than three minutes remaining in the fourth quarter, Curry keyed a comeback that was completed when Ellis drilled a jumper from nearly the same spot as Wednesdays game-winner with less than a second left to force overtime. From there, the Warriors rallied off 10-straight points to secure the win, which surely wouldnt have happened without Currys big night.
Curry and his Warriors teammates have become quite familiar with Saturdays opponent, as this will mark the fourth and final meeting of the season, and the third in the last two weeks, between the two teams. The Warriors hold a 2-1 advantage in the season series after winning their most recent match-up 122-112 on January 14 at Oracle Arena. Ellis and Curry combined for 53 points in that contest, but the Warriors also got strong contributions from their bench, with both Reggie Williams and Vladimir Radmanovic scoring in double figures.
Playing on the back end of a back-to-back, the Warriors will need more strong performances from the reserve unit, especially if Ellis is unable to play. Four of the five starters played 42-plus minutes against the Kings, and how much gas they have left in the tank will go a long way in determining Saturdays outcome.
Like the Warriors, the Clippers are a team on the upswing. They started off the season slowly but have gone 11-5 since December 17. Blake Griffin and Eric Gordon have blossomed into All-Star candidates and each member of the duo dropped 28 points on the Warriors in their previous match-up. Former Warrior Baron Davis has also picked up his play as of late, making the Clippers far more dangerous than their record would indicate. Needless to say, the Warriors will need to be in top form should they extend their winning streak to five games.
After the quick trip to Los Angeles, the Warriors will return to Oracle Arena and open an eight-game homestand against the Spurs on Monday in one of Jacks Box Office Specials. Other upcoming home games include the Hornets (Jan. 26), the Bobcats (Jan. 28), the Jazz (Jan. 30), the Bucks (Feb. 3), the Bulls (Feb. 5), the Suns (Feb. 7) and the Nuggets (Feb. 9).
Monta Ellis ranks among the league leaders in several categories, but the praise from his peers might make for his best case to become a 2010-11 NBA All-Star. Read the most recent warriors.com blog entry and find out what Kobe Bryant and Phil Jackson are saying about the All-Star guard.
Injuries:Warriors - Monta Ellis (sprained left ankle) is a game-time decision. Lou Amundson (sprained left ankle) is day-to-day. Clippers - Chris Kaman (aggravated bone bruise of left ankle) and Craig Smith (herniated disc) are out. Brian Cook (sprained right ankle) is doubtful.
At Home: 13-7 On Road: 6-16
VS. West: 11-15 VS. East: 8-8
Won 4 At Home: Won 4 On Road: Lost 1
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