Saturday, April 14, 2012
What to watch: Clippers-Warriors
By Arash Markazi
Clippers (36-23) vs. Golden State Warriors (22-36) at Staples Center, 12 p.m. PT
Five storylines to track:
1. Historic season: The Clippers are now 13 games over .500 (36-23) this season. It's only the third time that the Clippers have been more than five games over .500 this many games into a season since moving to Los Angeles in 1984. They finished the season eight games over .500 in 1991-92 and 12 games over .500 in 2005-06. Those are the only two seasons in which the Clippers finished over .500 since moving to L.A. The Clippers surpassed their victory total from last season on April 5, and their 35 wins are the most for the club since winning 40 in 2006-07. The Clippers 36-23 record this season after 59 games is the second-best in franchise history, trailing only the 1974-75 Buffalo Braves who were 37-22 after 59 games.
2. Road warriors:After defeating the Minnesota Timberwolves on Thursday, the Clippers are 15-14 (.517) on the road this season The Clippers are attempting to finish the season with a .500 or better road record for the first time since 1984. The most road wins for the Clippers was 20 when they went 20-21 during the 2005-06 season. The Clippers success on the road is key considering they finish the season playing four of their last five games on the road after Monday night. The Clippers have also been one of the most popular teams on the road this season. The Clippers rank third in the league in road attendance, just behind the Miami Heat and the Los Angeles Lakers.
3. Mo is back: Clippers guard Mo Williams returned Thursday in Minnesota after missing the last 11 games because of a sprained left big toe suffered on March 22 in New Orleans. Williams immediately made an impact, scoring 14 points on 6-of-11 shooting and 2-of-4 from beyond the arc with five assists and one steal in 20 minutes. It was the most points Williams has scored since he had 25 on March 14. Williams is still an outside candidate for the Sixth Man of The Year award, averaging 13.6 points and 3.2 assists while starting just one of the 45 games he has appeared in. This season, the Clippers bench has scored a total of 1,446 points, with Williams (559 points) accounting for 42.3 percent of them.
4. K-Mart open: Clippers forward Kenyon Martin has also given the Clippers a spark off the bench this season. He was a perfect 4-of-4 from the field Thursday night against the Timberwolves. It was only the third time in Martin’s 12-year NBA career that he was perfect from the field while attempting at least four shots. He was 10-of-10 for Denver vs. the Bulls on Nov. 23, 2008 and 5-for-5 for the Nuggets against Portland on Dec. 28, 2010. Martin is averaging 8.0 points and 5.0 rebounds in the last three games, while shooting 57.9 percent (11-of-19) from the field. Overall this season, Martin is shooting 44.4 percent from the field.
5. Long distance: The Clippers haven’t been shy about attempting 3-pointers this season. The Clippers attempted 31 3-point attempts in their win over Minnesota Thursday night. It was the third time this season the Clippers have attempted 31 or more 3-pointers, and the Clippers are 3-0 in those games. Since the 1985-86 season, the Clippers have only had 10 total games with over 31 3-point attempts, including the three this season. Since 1985-86, the Clippers are 6-4 when attempting 31 or more 3-pointers. The franchise record for 3-point attempts is 37 on Feb. 11, 2009 in an overtime win over the New York Knicks.