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
MATCHUP TO WATCH
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.
THREE THINGS TO WATCH
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.