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The Los Angeles Clippers (8-9) and Golden State Warriors (8-10) have both encountered tough times recently but have a chance to set themselves on the straight and narrow when they meet on Thursday night.
The Clippers won last night but are still struggling to accommodate James Harden in their lineup. The Warriors (aside from Steph Curry), meanwhile, are simply not playing at a high enough individual or collective standard to warrant the status of title contenders.
Here, we will highlight the betting odds and share our favorite picks for the Clippers vs. Warriors matchup.
The Warriors are 5.5-point favorites in their home building. They were outstanding at home a year ago but are only 3-6 there thus far, while the Clippers are also 3-6 on the road.
|Los Angeles Clippers
|Over 227.5 (-115)
|Golden State Warriors
|Under 227.5 (-105)
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The Clippers started the year playing like a top-five team. However, they’re only 5-7 with James Harden in the lineup and are 17th in net rating during that stretch.
Optimistically, the Clips have won five of their last seven games. But more realistically, two of those wins came against the San Antonio Spurs, and one against the Sacramento Kings on the second night of a back-to-back. The two quality wins were against the Houston Rockets and Dallas Mavericks (both in Los Angeles).
Harden himself looks a far cry from the player he was even 12 months ago. His first-step burst is nearly completely gone and has led to a career-low of his shot attempts coming at the rim. He’s averaged 15.1 points, 6.2 assists, and 4.5 rebounds, all of which are his lowest since his worst marks in over a decade.
Paul George (23.9 points, 6.1 rebounds) has been LA’s best player. Kawhi Leonard (21.8 points, 5.8 rebounds) is also showing his age and averaging his lowest scoring total in a full season since 2014-15, and he’s gone from the best defensive player in the world to just above league average.
LA is 14th in three-point percentage (36.4) but holds opponents to the fourth-lowest three-point percentage (33.7%). They’re average on the boards and 21st in pace of play.
Their win against the Kings Wednesday night was their best team performance of the season. Kawhi scored 35, while Harden and George added 26 and 19. Every player in the starting lineup scored 14+ points, though Russell Westbrook only managed nine in 19 minutes off the bench.
On the other side, the Warriors have serious problems of their own. They’re just 2-8 over their last 10 games and no longer have their three-point or defensive identity.
Steph Curry (29.7 points, 4.9 rebounds, 4.1 assists) has taken a step back as a playmaker but is as brilliant as ever as a scorer. Klay Thompson (15.3 points, 3.6 rebounds), however, is shooting the worst field goal and three-point percentages of his career and averaging his lowest scoring total since his rookie season. He’s also gone from an all-NBA-level defender to ranking 408th in defensive rating during his minutes.
Andrew Wiggins has also been a major disappointment. Once the second-best player on the Dubs’ 2022 championship run, reports suggest the team is frustrated with his lack of conditioning, and he’s only averaging 12.8 points and 4.4 rebounds on 26.7% three-point shooting.
Steve Kerr is being presented with a potentially catastrophic dilemma. Either he can play his older, underperforming players, such as Thompson, Wiggins, and Draymond Green, the minutes they’re used to and sacrifice his bottom line, or he can roll the rice with younger guys that might have more upside but are also inexperienced and less of a guarantee.
GSW’s last game was also against the Kings on Tuesday. They had a 24-point lead in the second half but threw away their lead and lost 124-123 as Curry missed a shot at the buzzer.
Both teams should be very concerned with how their season has started. The Clippers have a more valid excuse for their struggles but should also be very wary that Harden is not even close to the franchise-changing player he was even a few seasons ago.
The Warriors have found a way to make things work before and even won a championship after many believed their window had closed, but this time feels different. They’re 13th in three-point percentage, 17th in defensive rating, and look like an old team that is feeling the pressure.
Chris Paul and Gary Payton II will both miss the matchup due to injury.
The Clippers are much more boom-or-bust than the Warriors because of their lack of chemistry with their new rotation. Golden State has not proven that they should be 5.5-point favorites over many teams, but we’ll give them the benefit of the doubt with LA on the second night of a back-to-back.
Clippers vs. Warriors pick: Warriors -5.5 (-105) at BetMGM
Grant is a sports and sports betting journalist who prides himself on delivering breaking news and insightful analyses of the industry. Grant graduated from Virginia Tech in 2021 and is feverishly pursuing his ambitions in the sports betting field.
In his free time, Grant can be found passionately watching sports, doing a workout, or searching for adventure with his friends.More info on Grant Mitchell
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