Warriors

Doc Rivers: Warriors lucky they didn't face Clippers or Spurs

rivers-doc-warriors.jpg

Doc Rivers: Warriors lucky they didn't face Clippers or Spurs

In case you forgot, the Warriors won the 2015 NBA title.

In the process, they became just the 10th team to win 67 regular season games.

They won those 67 contests by an average of 10.1 points -- the eighth team in league history to finish with a win-differential of +10 or better.

According to Clippers head coach Doc Rivers, the Warriors needed some help from the Basketball Gods to capture the championship.

“You need luck in the West,” Rivers recently told Zach Lowe of Grantland.com. “Look at Golden State. They didn’t have to play us or the Spurs. But that’s also a lesson for us: When you have a chance to close, you have to do it.”

Rivers is correct. The Warriors didn't have to play the Spurs or Clippers en route to hoisting the Larry O'Brien Trophy.

[RELATED: Harden: Not knocking Steph, but 'I deserved the MVP' last year]

Los Angeles knocked off San Antonio in an epic seven-game series, that would not have been a first-round matchup in the 2016 playoffs.

The third-seeded Clippers (56-26) squared off against the sixth-seeded Spurs (55-27) because the Blazers (51-31, sixth best record in the West) were awarded the four-seed by virtue of winning their division.

Last month, the NBA announced that a division-winner will no longer automatically get a Top 4 seed.

If that rule was in place last season, the Clippers would have faced Portland in the first round, with Memphis (four seed) squaring off against San Antonio (5 seed).

Would the Spurs have beaten Memphis and faced the Warriors in the second round? Possibly. Could the Spurs have beaten the Warriors? Possibly. 

Rivers' Clippers could have had a shot against the Warriors in the Western Conference Finals had their season not come to end with a Game 7 loss to the Rockets in the Western Conference Semifinals.

Los Angeles had a 3-1 series lead, and beat Houston 124-99 in Game 3 and 128-95 in Game 4.

After dropping Game 5 in Houston 124-103, the Clippers returned home for Game 6, and looked like they would cruise past the Rockets.

Los Angeles led 87-68 with less than three minutes remaining, yet lost the game 119-107.

The collapse became official with a 113-100 loss back in Houston.

“The more I tried to process it, the angrier I got,” J.J. Redick told Lowe. “I’m not saying we definitely would have beaten Golden State, but if you make the conference finals, you have a chance. I’ve given up trying to explain what happened.

“The championship window in the West is so narrow. Ours might only be open another couple of years. But you need some breaks. Golden State was the best team in the league, but they also had everything go right for them. They didn’t have one bad break. I don’t have any doubt about the DNA of our team.”

During the regular season, the Warriors took three of four from their Pacific Division rivals.

2015-16 meetings: Nov. 4 and March 23 at Oracle Arena, and Nov. 19 and Feb. 20 at Staples Center.

Warriors vs. Kings watch guide: Lineups, injuries and player usage

watchguideusatsi.jpg
USATSI

Warriors vs. Kings watch guide: Lineups, injuries and player usage

SAN FRANCISCO -- The Warriors have made a habit of beating the Kings in recent years, but that trend could change Sunday afternoon as the two teams match up for the first time this season.

Entering Sunday's game, the Warriors have won the last five meetings, sweeping last year’s season series. However, the Kings (11-14) are the team with postseason aspirations, while the Warriors (5-22) are NBA draft lottery-bound with most of their All-Stars out injured. 

[RELATED: How to watch Warriors vs. Kings online, on TV]

Before the game, Warriors coach Steve Kerr gave an update on Eric Paschall's status.

Coverage begins on NBC Sports Bay Area at 4:30 p.m. and tipoff is scheduled for 5:40. 

PROJECTED LINEUPS 

Warriors
F TBA
F Draymond Green
C WIllie Cauley-Stein
G D'Angelo Russell
G Glenn Robinson III

Kings
G Cory Joseph
G Buddy Hield
C Richaun Holmes
F Nemanja Bjelica
F Harrison Barnes

INJURY REPORT

Kings: Kyle Guy (G League assignment) and DaQuan Jeffries (G League assignment) are out. De'Aaron Fox (left ankle sprain) is doubtful. 

Warriors: Ky Bowman (G League assignment), Stephen Curry (left-hand fracture), Alen Smailagic (G League assignment, Klay Thompson (left ACL rehabilitation) and Eric Paschall (left hip soreness) are out.

ROTATION OUTLOOK

Warriors: D'Angelo Russell will play against Luke Walton -- his former coach with the Los Angeles Lakers -- on Sunday afternoon, and Russell is building a healthy résumé. In 15 games, he's averaging 22.4 points and 6.1 assists, leading the battered Warriors in scoring. Alec Burks has scored in double figures in his last nine appearances. However, the Warriors defense still needs work, as Golden State is giving up 114.2 points per game. Former King Willie Cauley-Stein should get the start against his former team, something he seems excited about. 

Kings: Sharpshooter Buddy Hield is coming off one of his best games of the season, scoring 34 points and grabbing 12 rebounds against the New York Knicks on Friday evening. Over his last 10 games, Hield is averaging 26.5 points, 6.4 rebounds and 3.7 assists. Despite losing Fox to an ankle injury last month, the Kings have inched into the postseason picture and entered Sunday seventh in the Western Conference. However, the Kings haven't won a game against the Warriors on the road since March 2018. 

OFFICIALS: Josh Tiven (No. 58, crew chief), Bill Kennedy (No. 55), Derek Richardson (No. 63) 

Warriors vs. Kings live stream: How to watch NBA game online, on TV

greenusatsi.jpg
USATSI

Warriors vs. Kings live stream: How to watch NBA game online, on TV

It'll be a battle of the Northern California teams as the Warriors host the Kings in San Francisco on MyTeams Day.

The Warriors hope to turn things around while they hold the worst record in the NBA. Perhaps a "turnaround" is overzealous and is not the right term, but something needs to change. 

On the other side of the ball, the Kings are coming off a tough loss to the Knicks on Friday which stopped a three-game winning streak.

The MyTeams festivities are extra special on Sunday with the Holiday Edition and the team is ready:

When: Sunday, Dec. 15, at 5:30 p.m. PT -- pregame coverage begins at 4:30 p.m.
TV Channel: NBC Sports Bay Area
Live Stream: MyTeams App