Clippers-Warriors Preview

The Los Angeles Clippers needed to steal a game in Oakland in the Western Conference quarterfinals a season ago to get by the Golden State Warriors in seven games.

Such road wins in the series have been scarce, and this version of Golden State has been considerably better in its own arena. On top of that, it’s nearly a lock to have home-court advantage should there be a rematch this season.

The Clippers final chance to get things corrected there before a potential postseason clash comes Sunday with Golden State seeking a seventh straight regular-season home win in the series.

"The anticipation is building, especially against a team like that," Clippers center DeAndre Jordan told the team’s official website of the matchup between the clearcut top offensive teams in the NBA. "It’s going to be a great game, so we’ve got to be ready."

The seven-game streak is part of a 16-2 home stretch in the regular season against Los Angeles (40-22) for Golden State (48-12), which also happens to have won 26 of 28 at home this season, five straight and the first two of a three-game homestand after Friday’s 104-89 victory over Dallas.

Golden State committed 22 turnovers and is averaging 20.0 in the last two games after going its previous 31 games with an average of 13.2 and no more than 18.

"I have no idea what I was looking at tonight on the offensive end," coach Steve Kerr said. "Way too many silly passes, risky plays. Fortunately, we can play off our defense. That’s not going to be enough down the road. We have a lot of work to do."

Shooting-wise, it wasn’t as bad as Kerr made it sound. Stephen Curry had 22 points and hit 5 of 8 from 3-point range to pace an 11-for-23 night for the team. The Warriors are now in a position to match a season-best eight straight games with at least 10 3-pointers, and Curry has been instrumental in that with at least five in the last four games while shooting 55.6 percent from long range in five.

Golden State and Los Angeles are the top two scoring, shooting and offensive rating teams in the league. The Warriors are first in scoring (109.9 points per game) and shooting (47.7 percent) and second in points per 100 possessions (109.3), while the Clippers are second in scoring (106.4) and shooting (47.0) and first in points per 100 possessions (109.6).

The latest overall meeting went Los Angeles’ way with a 100-86 victory at Staples Center on Dec. 25, while the Warriors won 121-104 at home on Nov. 5. In all, the last nine regular-season meetings have gone the home team’s way.

The banged-up Clippers had a more imposing lineup for each of those matchups than they had in Wednesday’s 98-93 home overtime loss to Portland.

Already without Blake Griffin due to elbow surgery, fellow forward Matt Barnes (strained hamstring) missed his second straight game and sixth man Jamal Crawford (calf contusion) sat out a first. Both are questionable, and Crawford could be the bigger absence having scored 24 points in each meeting this season.

The limited options against the Trail Blazers led to a combined 56 shots from backcourt mates Chris Paul (14 of 29 for 36 points) and J.J. Redick (11 of 27 for 26 points).

Paul, who added 12 assists, is averaging 26.8 points and 12.5 assists over six straight double-doubles, but also noted that the Clippers will be in for more trouble against Golden State if they aren’t better on the other end.

"We have to play better team defense, because down the stretch is where we let up," Paul said.

Over the course of 48 minutes, though, they’ve been outstanding lately while limiting opponents to 38.2 percent in the last seven games.