W's look to take season series with Clippers

W's look to take season series with Clippers
January 21, 2013, 10:45 am
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In three games vs. the Clippers this season, David Lee is averaging 14 points and 10 rebounds per game. (USA TODAY IMAGES)

There was a pinnacle reached on Jan. 2, the last time the Los Angeles Clippers came to Oakland.

On that night, the Golden State Warriors earned the most encouraging of victories, a statement win that propelled thoughts of grandeur across the Bay Area. It was also the most lopsided loss for the Clippers of the season.

Then, in just the next game for the Warriors, a rematch on Jan. 5, reality slapped back. The Clippers embarrassed the Warriors with a 115-89 victory at the Staples Center.

It was the first of five losses in the Warriors’ past seven games.  That recent slide, including the ankle sprain of Stephen Curry that caused him to miss two games, brought clouds of doubt to the authenticity of the Warriors as contenders.

So as the Warriors and Clippers meet today for the third time in January and the fourth time this season, the matinee matchup in Oakland offers opportunity for the Warriors to again make a statement.

A win against the Clippers today may bring self-assurance to the organization and its fanbase.  Certainly, the Warriors would like to prove capable of beating the types of teams they would face in the playoffs. The Warriors defeated the Clippers 114-110 on Nov. 3.

Today’s contest is another in a string of 11 of 12 games in January against teams with winning records. The Warriors are 3-5 through the first eight games of the difficult stretch of schedule and host Oklahoma City on Wednesday before traveling to face the Chicago Bulls and Milwaukee Bucks.

Golden is 12-9 against opponents with records of .500 or above.

Curry’s status
Curry is expected to play today. He returned to play on Saturday in New Orleans after missing two consecutive games with a sprained right ankle that he hurt at shootaround on Wednesday.

Curry played 38 minutes against the Hornets and shot 5-for-17 from the field for 20 points while adding seven assists. Warriors coach Mark Jackson said the decision to play Curry was made just prior to Saturday’s game.

“I just wanted to make sure that no damage can be done,” Jackson said on Saturday. “When I watched him workout beforehand, Bob (Myers) and I sat and talked with him, we felt very comfortable. I just wanted to make sure I didn’t overuse him, so I was trying to give him breathers. But it’s enticing to keep him out there.”

David Lee update
After spraining his left ankle on Friday in San Antonio, Lee did not play on Saturday. Lee is a game-time decision today against the Clippers.

If Lee cannot go, Carl Landry will likely start in his place. The Warriors are 15-9 when Landry scores in double figures. In his first start of the season on Saturday, Landry recorded a double-double with 11 points and 11 rebounds.

Defending Lob City
Even if Lee plays, Jackson will likely continue to use rookie center Festus Ezeli to matchup against Clippers star power forward Blake Griffin.

Griffin, who is averaging 17.8 points, 8.4 rebounds and 3.3 assists, was 8-for-12 for 20 points and had seven assists when the teams met last in Los Angeles. The game prior, in Oakland, Griffin was held to just for just 2-for-11 shooting for 10 points and added two assists.

Clippers superstar point guard Chris Paul sat three consecutive games with a bruised right knee cap but returned on Saturday at home against the Washington Wizards. He scored 22 points and tallied 11 assists in the Clipper's victory.

Follow @jimmypspencer on Twitter for more Warriors news and analysis.