This article was originally published on Let’s Go Warriors.
The Golden State Warriors and the Los Angeles Clippers are the best teams in the Pacific Division. The Los Angeles Lakers have been the kings of the division in recent history, but with their disappointing season last year and the departure of Dwight Howard, the Warriors and the Clippers will compete for the division title in the 2013-2014 season.
The Warriors have not won the division since the 1975-1976 season. The Clippers won their first division title ever last season. The Clippers were championship contenders last season, but they lost to the Memphis Grizzlies in the first round of the playoffs. We all know about the Warriors’ miraculous playoff run last season that almost took them to the Western Conference Finals.
Not only are these two teams the best in the Pacific Division, but they are going to compete for two of the top four spots in the Western Conference. Both of these teams have aspirations for having home court advantage in the playoffs this upcoming season, so their games against each other will be significant.
Last season, the Warriors won the season series against the Clippers 3-1. The Warriors won the first game against them in Los Angeles 114-110, when Stephen Curry drew a huge charge against Chris Paul at the end of the game. The Warriors blew the Clippers out in their second matchup, at Oracle Arena, 115-94. They played again a few days later in Los Angeles, and the Clippers returned the favor and beat the Warriors 115-89. The Warriors then won the last matchup against them 106-99.
This upcoming season, the Warriors play the Clippers four times. Their first matchup is in Los Angeles, and it’s the second game of the season for the Warriors. The next game is on Christmas Day at Oracle Arena. The next matchup is also at Oracle at the end of January, and the last game is on March 12th in Los Angeles.
Both teams have had excellent offseasons so far. The Warriors have progressed a lot by adding Andre Iguodala, Toney Douglas, Marreese Speights, Jermaine O’Neal, and Nemanja Nedovic. They have a deep roster this year, and, arguably, the best starting five in the NBA.
The Clippers have also had an active offseason. First of all, they now have a head coach who knows how to win championships, Doc Rivers. Unlike Vinny Del Negro, Rivers is one of the best coaches in the NBA, and he’s a proven defensive specialist. The Clippers were a talented team last season, but Del Negro really held them back based on his poor coaching.
Also, in the offseason, the Clippers have added Darren Collison, Jared Dudley, Byron Mullens, and J.J. Reddick. The Clippers have added more shooters to their roster, and they’re certainly a deep team.
In terms of rosters, both teams are stacked with talent. The Warriors are, obviously, led by Curry, but they also have some intriguing young players such as Klay Thompson and Harrison Barnes. They also have a 2012 Western Conference All-Star in David Lee, and they have their dominant inside presence in Andrew Bogut. The addition of Iguodala certainly made them one of the best teams in the Western Conference.
The Clippers are led by All-Stars Chris Paul and Blake Griffin, and they also have other solid contributors in Jamal Crawford, DeAndre Jordan, Matt Barnes, and Lamar Odom. The Clippers added some solid pieces to their bench also.
In terms of defense, the Warriors were a much improved defensive squad last season and held opponents to just 43.9 percent shooting, which ranked fourth in the NBA. They also averaged 45.0 rebounds per game, which tied for second in the NBA. If Bogut can stay healthy for the majority of the season and with the additions of Iguodala, Douglas, Speights, and O’Neal, the Warriors are only going to become a better defensive team.
The Clippers are more known for their offense than their defense, but they only allowed 94.6 points per game, which ranked fourth in the NBA. Paul also led the NBA in steals per game with 2.41.
The Warriors scored the seventh most points per game last season with 101.2, and the Clippers weren’t far behind with 101.1 points per game, which tied for eighth most in the NBA. The Clippers scored more efficiently though, as they shot 47.8 percent from the field last season, which ranked fourth in the NBA. The Warriors shot 45.8 percent from the field last season, which ranked 11th in the NBA.
The Warriors and the Clippers match up pretty well, categorically. In the past couple years, the Clippers have been closer to a championship contending team than the Warriors have been, but this season that might change. The Warriors have made some significant, bold moves this offseason that might have propelled them past their Pacific Division rival. Regardless of which team wins the division this upcoming season, it’s guaranteed that their rivalry will continue to grow and their games will be entertaining.