When the Los Angeles Clippers play the Golden State Warriors in San Francisco on Thursday night, two veteran-laden lineups with championship ambitions will face off in a matchup that could have serious implications for the playoffs.
As they get ready for the third game in the four-game season series, the Clippers and Warriors are virtually tied for fifth place in the Western Conference after three straight losses.
The California rivals are now less than one percentage point apart in the standings after splitting their first two meetings, both of which they won at home.
The Clippers currently hold the tiebreaker advantage in division record in the final head-to-head scheduled for March 15 in Los Angeles, should the teams draw 2-2 in the season series.
Stephen Curry has returned to the practice floor in a part-time capacity after missing the last nine games with a partially torn ligament in his lower left leg. The Warriors would like to believe that he will be back for the final matchup.
In Curry’s absence, Klay Thompson has taken Curry’s place in 3-point shooting. The veteran now holds the No. 2nd in the NBA in three-pointers, trailing only Buddy Hield, and hitting 55 shots with a 47 percent accuracy rate over those nine games.
Jordan Poole scored a game-high 29 points and Thompson had 23 in Tuesday’s 123-105 victory over the Portland Trail Blazers at home. However, Draymond Green’s return, which resulted in the victory with 12 points, nine rebounds, eight assists, two steals, and two blocks, was the night’s biggest news.
Green had injured his right knee and missed the previous two games.
Tyronn Lue, the Clippers’ head coach, wishes he could say the same. The new team, which includes Russell Westbrook, Eric Gordon, Mason Plumlee, and Bones Hyland—all of whom joined the team in February—had already suffered two crushing defeats, suffering double-overtime losses to the Sacramento Kings and Denver Nuggets, respectively, before suffering a disappointing 108-101 home defeat to the Minnesota Timberwolves on Tuesday.
The Clippers, led by Kawhi Leonard and Paul George, who have combined to score 60.6 points per game during the losing streak, arrive in San Francisco in good health. During that time, Leonard is shooting 58.3% from the field, while George is hitting 48.1 percent of the time. Together, the two have shot 51.3% from beyond the arc.