The surging L.A. Clippers visit the Pacific Division front running Golden State Warriors in a key Western Conference matchup Sunday afternoon.
Even with All-Star forward Blake Griffin sidelined for the last three weeks by a staph infection in his right elbow, the Clips had won three in a row and seven of nine heading into Wednesday night’s match against Portland. With the right to home court advantage in the first round of the playoffs on the line by virtue of a top four seed, L.A. currently trails the Blazers by just ½ game for such conference distinction.
The Clippers will need both to be at their best and then some to keep pace with the Warriors. Golden State’s 46-12 record separates them by four and a half games over their closest conference competitor. Led by the All-Star backcourt of Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson (average of 46 points, 11 assists and eight rebounds between them), the Warriors lineup features five double figure scorers, with Marreese Speights (11.4), Draymond Green (11.1) and Harrison Barnes (10.3) also regularly getting into the mix.
Golden State also boast four runs of at least five straight victories this season, including a 16-game streak spanning from mid-November to just before Christmas.
In their two head-to-head matchups this season, both teams have won on their home floor, with just three point separating the two teams. Given all that drama, it stands to reason why the Golden State game would be the most expensive the Clips play this month with average ticket prices set at $367.70 with a get-in price of $87, according to TiqIQ.com.
Nine days later, L.A. hosts Michael Jordan’s Charlotte Hornets, where at an average of $82.75 and a get-in price of $9 tickets will be as inexpensive as they’ll be all month. That hardly means things will come easy for the Clips, particularly with the Hornets battling Miami, Brooklyn and Indiana for the final two playoff spots in the Eastern conference.
Charlotte is led by the inside tandem of Al Jefferson (17 points, nine rebounds) and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist (11 points, eight rebounds). Bolstering the Hornets chances all the more is the anticipated return of veteran point guard Kemba Walker (18 points, five assists), who is expected to return during the team’s upcoming two-week Western Conference road trip.
Chris Paul and DeAndre Jordan have made all the difference for the Clips, with Paul averaging 21 points, 13 assists and five rebounds over his last 10 games, while Jordan has chipped in with 16 points and 19 rebounds over that same span.