Clippers at Warriors
The Golden State Warriors seemed to snap out of their funk, at least offensively, in a win over the New Orleans Hornets on Saturday. They will find out how far they still have to go by hosting the Los Angeles Clippers on Monday. The Warriors had dropped five of six before beating the Hornets - a stretch that began with a 26-point loss at the Clippers. Los Angeles has won four straight and got Chris Paul back on Saturday.
Golden State allowed the Hornets to shoot 57 percent - the highest shooting percentage for any losing team this season - in the 116-112 triumph on Saturday. The Warriors will need to come up with a better defensive effort against the Clippers, who average better than 100 points and are in the top five in the NBA in scoring defense. That combination has helped Los Angeles win 24 of its last 27 games and placed pressure on the Oklahoma City Thunder for the top spot in the Western Conference. The Clippers have struggled against the Warriors, however, dropping two of the first three meetings.
TV: 4 p.m. ET, Prime Ticket (Los Angeles), Comcast SportsNet Bay Area (Golden State)
ABOUT THE CLIPPERS (32-9): Paul missed three straight games with a bruised right kneecap but returned to the lineup on Saturday and collected 22 points and 11 assists in a 94-87 win over the Washington Wizards. Los Angeles suffered a 115-94 loss at Golden State on Jan. 2 but got some revenge three days later with a 115-89 home win over the Warriors. Paul went for 27 points on 10-of-12 shooting and added nine assists in the win as the Clippers shot 52.2 percent. Los Angeles has won three straight road games since falling at Golden State and will have to work to not look ahead with a showdown against the Thunder looming on Tuesday.
ABOUT THE WARRIORS (24-15): Golden State was missing guard Stephen Curry for two games with an ankle injury but got him back on Saturday at New Orleans. The All-Star hopeful scored 20 points but struggled to 5-of-17 from the field in his return. Klay Thompson picked up the slack with a season-high 29 points and Jarrett Jack came through down the stretch and finished with 25 points and 12 assists. Just when the Warriors got Curry back, they lost their other All-Star hopeful David Lee to an ankle injury. Lee rolled the ankle at San Antonio on Friday and is day-to-day. Golden State had averaged 91.6 points while dropping five of six before breaking out against the Hornets. The defense still has plenty of holes. The front line was especially susceptible without Lee on Saturday, when the Hornets’ frontcourt combined to shoot 67 percent.
1. Paul has averaged 25.7 points and 8.3 assists in the three games against the Warriors this season.
2. Thompson had shot 31.8 percent in the three games prior to going 11-of-16 at New Orleans.
3. The winning team has scored at least 112 points in each of the last four meetings.