LA Clippers (30-17) at Golden State (39-7)
When: Saturday, January 28th 2017
Where: Oracle Arena, Oakland, CA
Time: 8:35 ET | TV: ABC
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The Golden State Warriors look to become the first team to 40 wins when they host the Los Angeles Clippers on Saturday night in Oakland. Golden State is returning home from a 3-1 road trip that ended with a 113-103 victory at Charlotte on Wednesday. The Warriors lead the league with four representatives in this year’s All-Star game as Klay Thompson and Draymond Green joined starters Stephen Curry and Kevin Durant. Golden State is not only the highest-scoring team in the league (117.5) but also leads the NBA in field-goal percentage defense (43.2%) and outscored Charlotte 38-23 in the fourth quarter during Wednesday’s victory. The Warriors went to the free-throw line 15 times in the fourth quarter alone and finished the game 24-of-27. Kevin Durant has cooled off a bit from long range going 5-for-22 from 3-point range during the four-game road trip. Golden State will be back on the road for the majority of the next few weeks as six of their next nine are away from Oracle Arena. Golden State has won the last seven in the series, including a 115-98 route at Los Angeles on December 7th.
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The Clippers are just trying to cope without star point guard Chris Paul, who has missed the last four games with a torn ligament in his thumb, will be out a while. Point guard Austin Rivers is averaging 20.8 points in four games since Paul went down – up from his season average of 11.9. The Clippers are 1-3 without Paul and those setbacks came against sub-.500 teams in Minnesota, Denver, and Philadelphia. Blake Griffin (knee) returned from an 18-game absence on Tuesday and recorded a double-double in 29 minutes, but Los Angeles still dropped a 121-110 decision at Philadelphia. Griffin is still working his way back into game shape and went 3-of-11 from the field while committing six of the team’s 19 turnovers at Philly. DeAndre Jordon, who will participate in his first All-Star Game, tends to get physical with the Warriors and expect more of the same with Griffin back in the lineup. The Clippers, who are currently the four-seed in the West, play seven of their next eight on the road with the lone home game coming against Golden State next Thursday.
I don’t see how the Clippers can stay close with Golden State as long as Paul is out. The Warriors tend to shine brighter on national TV and this game is the ABC Game of the Week. Golden State rolls.
Pick: Warriors -12.5