Clippers will need to beat the Warriors | Kwesé

Clippers will need to beat the Warriors

Clippers will need to beat the Warriors

16:15 SAST | 20 Feb 2017

Fresh from the All-Star break, the fourth seeded LA Clippers will face the number one team in the Western Conference, the Golden State Warriors and they will need to work hard to win the game.

The Clippers, who for the past three to four seasons have been plagued by injuries coming at the wrong time, are now without their field general - point guard Chris Paul, who will be out of commission for six to eight weeks due to a thumb injury.

The Clippers are 35-21 and have put up an average performance in Paul’s absence, winning six of the 13 game since his injury in the game against OKC about a month ago. However, they’ve been beaten in their last three matchups with the Warriors, in the January 29 game by as much as 46 points.

Their core remains the same, with Blake Griffin, who leads the team in points-per-game with 21.9, and DeAndre Jordan, who leads in rebounds with 13.7 per game, holding down the frontcourt; Austin Rivers and JJ Redick in the backcourt and Raymond Felton proving to be a better than average stand-in for Paul. The Clippers also have a decent bench which includes the likes of Cameroonian forward Luc Mbah a Moute, Jamal Crawford and Marreesse Speights.

The Warriors remain that super-team, boasting All-Stars Stephen Curry, Kevin Durant – points and rebounds leader with an average 25.8 and 8.2 per game respectively, Klay Thompson and Draymond Green who leads the Warriors in assists averaging 7.3 per game. They are 47-9, sitting at the top of the Western Conference and are playing like they want the Larry O’Brien Trophy back.

Although they will not match their record-breaking performance from last season unless they continue the rest of 2017 unbeaten, they are still the favourites to take the conference spoils and potentially challenge the Cavaliers for league bragging rights.

With veteran Andre Iguodala completing the team’s starting five, they are both offensively and defensively sound at the moment. They do however remain the team to beat.

If the Clippers are able to take advantage of the sometimes-porous Warriors defence, they might be able to pull off a close win, but this season the addition of Durant has given the team improved protection around the rim and added fire power from beyond the arc.

Essentially the Clippers will need to bring their A-game to win the matchup, and they need the win to keep their fourth position, which is currently hotly contested by the Utah Jazz and Memphis Grizzlies.

The game will be broadcast live on Kwesé Sports on Friday 24 February at 5:30 am CAT.

By Kaunda Chama

@therealkaunda on Twitter

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