Golden State Warriors guard Stephen Curry
Golden State Warriors guard Stephen Curry, left, and forward Draymond Green high-five during the second half of the team's preseason NBA basketball game against the Portland Trail Blazers in San Francisco, Friday, Oct. 15, 2021. (AP Photo/John Hefti)


Kyle Barrette

The season will tip off for the Clippers in this matchup and they are fighting an uphill battle to start the season. Kawhi is out recovering from his torn ACL, and the Warriors have the advantage of having already played a game this season. Don’t think that the Warriors’ win was a fluke. This team proved they played well together in the latter part of last season, finishing six games above .500 and winning six straight to end the season to make the play-in tournament. A team that is only going to get better when Thompson is able to return and a team that is going to get better playing together as the season goes on, the Warriors are not to be taken lightly.

The Warriors
As we mentioned, there is a lot to like about this team already, and the scary part is that they are just going to continue to get better. A seven-point victory on the road over a team with the talent level of the Lakers proved that. The victory came with a sub-par game from Curry by his standards, a casual triple-double of 21/10/10 shooting only 5-21. The Warriors head home to host the Clippers, and it would be a huge boost of confidence for this young team if they were able to knock off the Lakers and the Clippers to start the season. Jordan Poole looked like he took a step forward this offseason as he impressed against the Lakers, dropping 20 points and shooting 44%, and his play will be big for the Warriors, especially while Thompson is out. The Warriors will have a good edge in this one. Being at Oracle is always a plus, already having a game under their belt, and not having to look across the court and see Kawhi is always a win. 

The Clippers
Nobody can say they are a better team without Kawhi in their lineup. The Clippers were just 11-9 in games where Kawhi did not play last season. The Clippers were two games away from representing the west in the finals until Leonard went down and they ran into the buzz saw that was the Phoenix Suns. The Clippers are still a heavily talented team with the loss of Leonard, but the big question becomes how they will respond defensively without Patrick Beverly and Kawhi on the floor. The Warriors were able to put up 121 on the Lakers in game one, who were the top-rated defense last season. The Clippers finished last season as the eighth ranked defense, but with the injury to Kawhi and the departure of Beverly, that ranking is likely to dip. The big question we’ll be looking for an answer to is, can this team offensively keep up with teams in an area that plagued them in the postseason last year?

Clippers vs Warriors: The Pick
I’m taking the Warriors -3 here. The Clippers without Kawhi have not been impressive and they have struggled to score and that will not bode well with a team that just dropped 121 on last year’s number one defensive team. This will not be a good spot for the Clippers. Starting the year on the road in a hostile environment like Oracle Arena, without your star player against an ascending team, tells me to take the Warriors here.

Same Game Parlay: Warriors -3, Warriors Team Total Over 114.5 and Draymond Green Over 6.5 Total Rebounds.  Odds +363

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