NBA Gameday: Draymond vs Griffin key as Warriors battle Clippers

NBA Gameday: Draymond vs Griffin key as Warriors battle Clippers

OAKLAND -- Though the Warriors and Clippers will go after each other late Saturday afternoon at Oracle Arena, one leading man may not make it to the stage and the other definitely won’t be part of the action.

Warriors point guard Stephen Curry is listed as questionable and his Los Angeles counterpart, Chris Paul, absolutely will not be in uniform.

Can a confrontation between these old enemies, without their All-Star leaders, still deliver typical Warriors-Clippers drama?

Curry has not missed a game this season. If he is unable to play, the Warriors (39-7) likely will turn to veteran Shaun Livingston.

The Clippers (30-17) were on a seven-game win streak when Paul went down but have since lost three of four with Austin Rivers, son of LA coach Doc Rivers, orchestrating the offense.


Warriors by 11.5


Draymond Green vs. Blake Griffin: Green’s rise to prominence began in the 2014 playoffs, when he locked up and frustrated Griffin throughout an electrifying seven-game series. Little has changed. Green is one of the league’s top defenders, and Griffin is by turns spectacular and ordinary. Griffin returned this week after a five-week absence in the wake of arthroscopic knee surgery. He’s still rounding into playing condition, but he’ll need to be good for LA to have a chance.


Warriors: G Stephen Curry (L quad soreness) is listed as questionable, but coach Steve Kerr expects him to play. C/F David West (L thumb fracture) is listed as out.

Clippers: G Chris Paul (L thumb ligament tear) and F Brice Johnson (herniated disc) are listed as out.


Warriors: 8-2. Clippers: 7-3.


The Warriors have won 15 of the 20 meetings, including the last seven in a row. They have not lost to the Clippers since Christmas Day 2014.


THE LINE: LA leads the NBA in drawing personal fouls and ranks fourth in free throw attempts, making this a frequent factor in victories. The Warriors want to avoid sending a parade of shooters to the line, as it will slow the game and also may help the wounded Clippers keep it close down the stretch.

THE BENCHES: Since joining the Clippers in 2012, Jamal Crawford is averaging 19.2 points per game against the Warriors. Though he turns 37 in March, he remains a force off the bench. He now has a capable sidekick in Marreese Speights, who is shooting 40.4 percent from deep and is one of two reserves averaging at least 10 points. Andre Iguodala & Co. will need to be on their game.

THE AIR SHOW: The Clippers are the original Lob City, with Paul flipping passes above the rim to DeAndre Jordan and Griffin. Replacement PG Austin Rivers may try similar tactics, but CP3 is a master at it. Meanwhile, the Warriors have own version of the alley-oop play, with the ball going up to JaVale McGee or, occasionally, Durant.

Casspi defends his spot on Warriors, explains why he's not worried about being cut


Casspi defends his spot on Warriors, explains why he's not worried about being cut

OAKLAND -- Like much of the NBA and everyone with an interest in the Warriors, Omri Casspi has watched the emergence of Quinn Cook, who came out of the G-League and is making a strong bid to make the postseason roster.

Casspi, out since spraining his right ankle last Friday against Sacramento, happens to be at or near the top of the list of the tiny group of players that might be dropped should the Warriors decide to add Cook.

The 6-foot-9 veteran forward has heard the chatter.

“First of all, it’s you guys talking,” Casspi said, referring to media. “I don’t really feel it from the organization. At the end of the day, I’m focused on getting healthy and playing. That’s all I can control.

“I feel like the team needs me and know what I can do for the team. My focus is on getting healthy and playing.”

The Warriors have until April 11 to submit their playoff roster.

Casspi’s roster spot is in danger for three reasons.

One, he has lost confidence in his long-distance shooting, which was influential in the team’s decision to sign him to a one-year minimum contract last July.

Two, his defense has been a glaring weakness, with teams attacking him at every opportunity.

Three, he had fallen out of the rotation when the team was fully healthy and didn’t return until after succession of injuries. Casspi exceeded 10 minutes of playing time in only one of the 12 games before injuries to several teammates became a factor.

Stephen Curry’s ankle woes this season, along with Cook’s impressive play, are making a persuasive argument for adding the third-year point guard.

For now, Casspi is determined to get back on court after missing the last two games.

“With my role on this team, when I’m healthy I want to go out there and play, maybe not 100 percent healthy, but close to it,” he said. “That’s what I’m focused on, on feeling good and running up and down and being able to cut and move and be out there again with the guys.”

As Warriors inch closer to full health, Kerr provides update on Durant, Klay


As Warriors inch closer to full health, Kerr provides update on Durant, Klay

OAKLAND -- Stephen Curry, Kevin Durant and Klay Thompson all worked up sweat Wednesday, putting the Warriors ever closer to being whole again.

Only Draymond Green did not full participate in the non-contact practice session, but he’s expected back in a matter of days.

So while the Warriors are a little more than a week away from possibly having the full squad available, they’re starting to feel a little less vulnerable.

“They’re all kind of day-to-day,” Warriors coach Steve Kerr said. “Steph is closer to playing than KD and Klay.”

Curry has not played since March 8, when he tweaked his surgically repaired right ankle. He missed the last six games. Durant (rib cartilage injury) and Thompson (right thumb sprain) sustained their injuries on March 11 at Minnesota, though Durant played one more game, March 14, before receiving a diagnosis. Durant missed the last three games, Thompson the last four.

Green sustained a pelvic contusion Monday night at San Antonio, but believes he will be available this weekend, either Friday against Atlanta or Sunday against Utah.

Curry, though, is fully cleared for all activities.

“Steph looks great,” Kerr said. “He’s chomping at the bit. But we’ll see how he responds in the next couple days before we decide whether he plays or not.”

Durant loathes acknowledging pain or injuries, and his return will be dictated by his ability with withstanding the contact inevitable in the course of a game.

“I don’t expect KD to play this week,” Kerr said. “It’s not like a timetable . . . just sort of a feel thing. It’s symptomatic with him.”

Thompson seems, at this point, the furthest away from full activity.

“Klay did some stuff," Kerr said, “but not full participation.”