OAKLAND -- The Warriors open the stretch run of the season Thursday night, when they face the Los Angeles Clippers at Oracle Arena.
Coverage on NBC Sports begins at 6:30, with tipoff scheduled for 7:35.
The Warriors (44-14) in recent weeks have been inconsistent by their standard, going 4-4 since their Jan. 27 victory over Boston. At the sight of the Clippers, the defending champs usually find their bearings.
LA (30-26) has undergone major reconstruction over the past eight months, trading perennial All-Stars Chris Paul (last June 28) and Blake Griffin (Jan. 29). In their place are Avery Bradley and Tobias Harris. Bradley will not play Thursday night.
Warriors by 11
MATCHUP TO WATCH
Stephen Curry vs. Austin Rivers/Lou Williams: Rivers has missed much of the season with an ankle injury but has returned to the starting lineup. Rivers is averaging career-highs in points (15.5 pg) and assists (3.7 pg). Curry doesn’t mind teaching a few things to the league’s youngsters. Williams is back in his Sixth Man role, but Curry remembers Jan. 10, when Williams torched the Warriors for 50 points. That’s the kind of thing that lights Curry’s competitive fire.
Warriors: F Jordan Bell (L ankle inflammation) and G Pat McCaw (L wrist fracture) are listed as out.
Clippers: G Avery Bradley (sports hernia), G Patrick Beverley (R knee surgery) and G Jawun Evans (lower abdominal soreness) are listed as out.
Mike Callahan (crew chief), Nick Buchert, Gediminas Petraitis.
The Warriors have won two of three meetings this season, 141-113 on Oct. 30 in Los Angeles and 121-105 on Jan. 6 in LA. The Clippers prevailed in the most recent meeting, Jan. 10 in Oakland, snapping a 12-game losing streak against the Warriors. The Warriors are 13-2 against the Clippers in the Steve Kerr era.
THREE THINGS TO WATCH
THE 1Q BLUES: The Warriors have entered the second quarter trailing by double digits in four of their last five games. They’re 3-2 during that span. It’s a tendency they want to shed and, given the rising stakes at this point of the season, likely will.
Klay 10K: Klay Thompson has 9,995 career points and needs two points to surpass Joe Barry Carroll and move into 10th place on the franchise’s all-time scoring list. Thompson is five points away from the 10,000-point milestone for his career.
THE BENCH: The Warriors have gotten big boosts from their second unit, with David West, Andre Iguodala and Shaun Livingston joining Draymond Green and Klay Thompson. They’d to see a bit more consistency from Nick Young and more production for Omri Casspi. Now would be great time to show it.