Still trying to find their bearings, the Warriors stagger into the most intriguing game of the season Monday night when they face the Clippers in Los Angeles.
The once-intense rivalry, which reached its apex in a seven-game playoff series in the 2014, has since flamed out as the Warriors have won 11 of 12 meetings. All four wins last season were by double-digit margins, including a 144-98 rout in Oakland.
But while the Warriors (4-3) are struggling thus far, the reconfigured Clippers (4-1), who in June traded longtime leader Chris Paul, are sitting atop the Pacific Division behind terrific defense and rebounding.
Warriors by 5.5
MATCHUP TO WATCH
Draymond Green vs. Blake Griffin: It was his tremendous defensive work against Griffin in the ’14 playoffs that shined Green’s star and set the stage for dominating LA. Griffin, however, seems like a new man. He is taking on leadership role while averaging 24.8 points and 9.6 rebounds per game. Not much will change between these teams if that doesn’t translate into him being more effective against Green.
Warriors: No injuries listed. C Damian Jones is on assignment with the G-League Santa Cruz Warriors.
Clippers: G Milos Teodosic (L foot plantar fasciitis) is listed as out.
The Warriors have won the last 10 meetings -- their second-longest active streak over any team -- and 11 of the last 12. They have won five in a row at Staples Center.
THREE THINGS TO WATCH
STRENGTH ON STRENGTH: Despite their troubles, the Warriors own the No. 1 offensive rating while leading the NBA in scoring (118.1 points per game) and field-goal percentage (51.4). The Clippers rank No. 1 in defensive rating and points allowed (92.4) while ranking second in field-goal percentage allowed (40.4 percent). Pesky guard Patrick Beverley, acquired in the Paul deal, has been a great influence.
STEPH AND PAT: No point guard in the NBA plays more aggressively irritating defense on Stephen Curry than does Beverley, who is transparent in his desire to get under Curry’s skin. This tactic doesn’t always work, but it always makes for a physically challenging 48 minutes for the two-time MVP.
TURNOVER TOWN: Only two teams have committed more turnovers than the Warriors, who committed a season-high 26 in losing to Detroit on Sunday. The problem has been addressed by coaches and players and is a known point of emphasis. If it doesn’t get fixed, it creates an opening for LA, which ranks sixth in points off turnovers.