Clippers (23-15) vs. Golden State Warriors (16-21) at Staples Center, 6:30 p.m. PT
Five storylines to track:
1. Back-to-back: Perhaps no stat better indicates the Clippers' struggles and inconsistent play as of late than the fact they have not won back-to-back games since Feb. 16. After beating Washington and Portland, the Clippers lost six of their next nine games, including a 104-97 loss to Golden State. After their best offensive performance of the season in a 120-108 win over the San Antonio Spurs, the Clippers’ first win in San Antonio since 2002, the Clippers think they have turned the tide. The Clippers have also lost two of their last three at home. A win against Golden State would not only give them back-to-back wins for the first time in nearly a month but would help set the tone for their six games in eight days at home.
2. Waters of March: The Clippers’ best offensive performance and perhaps their biggest win of the season couldn’t have come at a better time. They salvaged a 3-3 road trip, stayed in first place in the Pacific Division by percentage points and will now try to navigate through the rest of the rough waters in March, where the Clippers play 20 games in 31 days. The Clippers are the first team in 45 years since the Cincinnati Royals in February 1967 to play at least 20 games in a month. The Clippers are 3-3 so far this month, with 11 of their next 14 games coming at home.
3. CP3 steps up: Chris Paul had his best game as a Clipper against the Spurs, posting 36 points and 11 assists in the win. Paul became only the third visiting NBA player to score more than 35 points and hand out more than 10 assists in a game at San Antonio. The only two other players to do so were Paul Westphal in March 1979 (43 points and 11 assists for the Suns) and Isiah Thomas in February 1983 (46 points and 11 assists in an overtime game for the Pistons). Paul is the only player in Clippers history to record a game with at least 35 points, 10 assists and 4 steals. Since the 2000-01 season, Paul is one of just seven players to have at least 36 points, 11 assists, 4 steals and 4 rebounds in a game. The last player to do it was Warriors guard Monta Ellis, who will play Paul on Sunday.
4. Butler’s in: Probably the biggest X-factor for the Clippers this season is Caron Butler. The 10-year forward has struggled over the last 10 games but may have finally worked his way out of his scoring slump in the Clippers’ win at San Antonio. Butler scored 14 points on 5-of-8 shooting from the field and added 3 assists. When Butler scores 13 or more points the Clippers are 15-7. Before the Spurs game, Butler failed to score a single point in the Clippers’ loss to Minnesota on March 5. It was the first time in six years that Butler had not scored in a game.
5. Mo-mentum off the bench: Clippers guard Mo Williams continues to make his case for Sixth Man of the Year honors. Against the Spurs, he exploded for a season-high 33 points, going 12-of-19 from the field, and equaling a career-high by going 7-of-9 from beyond the arc. It was the first time since April 8, 2010, that he had scored over 30 points in a game. It was just the 14th time in Clippers history that a player has come off the bench to score at least 30 points and only the ninth time this season that a player has come off the bench in an NBA game to score at least 33 points.