Friday, January 18 at 10:30 PM ET
DeMarcus Cousins makes his season debut when the Golden State Warriors visit the Los Angeles Clippers on Friday night. The Warriors get Cousins back at the right time, they've won their last six games and they just climbed to first place in the Western Conference while the Clippers are reeling, losing four straight.
Curry has been unstoppable
Stephen Curry scored 41 points with nine 3-pointers to become the first player in NBA history to make eight or more 3-point shots in three straight games, and the Warriors held off the Pelicans 147-140 on Wednesday, outscoring them 81-69 in the second half.
Curry has 28 3-pointers in his last three games while the Warriors made 18 or more from distance in a franchise-record fourth straight game. The 24 3-pointers made against the Pelicans matched a franchise best and the Warriors are now 4-0 when making 20 or more 3-point shots, so it's clear that the Clippers have to find a way to defend better from beyond the arc or this game can get ugly.
That's easier said than done and to make matters worse star center DeMarcus Cousins will start and make his Warriors debut. It will be his first game in nearly a year since tearing his left Achilles tendon and undergoing surgery but his addition can make the Warriors almost unstoppable.
The Clippers have lost their way
Lou Williams finished with 23 points off the bench to lead the Clippers in a disappointing 129-109 home loss against the Jazz last Wednesday. The Clippers limited the Jazz to just 33.3 percent from 3-point range (11-for-33) but they were outrebounded 48-41 and now they've lost four straight for the second time this season. Tobias Harris had 17 points and Avery Bradley added 15 points in the setback.
Defending the 3-point line against the Warriors will always be a key to beat them but rebounding can also make a difference. Montrezl Harrell, Marcin Gortat and Boban Marjanovic have to dominate the glass against Draymond Green, Kevon Looney and DeMarcus Cousins to help the Clippers stay in this game.
The Golden State Warriors are:
4-9 ATS in their last 13 road games against a team with a winning home record
5-16-1 ATS in their last 22 games against Western Conference opponents
1-6 ATS in their last seven games against Pacific Division opponents
The Los Angeles Clippers are:
6-1 ATS in their last seven home games against a team with a winning road record
17-4 ATS in their last 21 Friday games
20-6 ATS in their last 26 games against Pacific Division opponents
7-3 ATS in their last 10 games against a team with a winning percentage above .600
The Clippers won the first meeting in Los Angeles, 121-116 in overtime on November 12, forcing the Warriors to turn the ball over 17 times but they lost 129-127 on December 23 despite going 43-for-80 from the field (53.8 percent) and 18-for-23 (78.3 percent) from beyond the arc. Los Angeles held Golden State to just 35.0 percent from 3-point range (14-for-40) but the Warriors took care of ball and finished with just seven turnovers while forcing the Clippers to 15.
Los Angeles and Golden State rank ninth and 10th in pace but a track meet is not what the Clippers need to win this game, they have to slow the pace and limit turnovers while focusing on their defense and rebounding. I'm taking the Clippers getting this many points at home.
NBA Pick: Clippers at Jazz Sports
Check odds here: http://bit.ly/2RMxhhA