Both lost key players through injury – although conditions looked worse for the Clippers. Both finished as the eighth seed. Both lost their playoffs and thus missed the playoffs.
In the Warriors’ following season, Steve Curry and his crew find a way to alter the course of their ship. They finished the season with 53 wins and pulled into the vast sea of playoff basketball.
And when all the other ships and boats began to sink, it was that warrior ship that was left afloat; They won their fourth championship in eight years.
Now, just like last year’s Warriors, the Clippers will have their best guns in their arsenal to hire – the likes of Kawhi Leonard, Paul George, and Norman Powell. So it doesn’t seem that big things to expect from this team next season. And then, until ESPN gave the Clippers their second best chance to win the West.
While injuries, rankings, and grandiose expectations are some of the many points of similarity between the two institutions, there is still one last box to be checked. For the Clippers to continue following the Warriors’ 2020-21 trajectory, they must end their campaign in the 2022-23 Championship.
And by chance or not, They are the mighty warriors standing in their way.
So, in the likely scenario in which the Clippers face the Warriors in a series of top seven high stakes bets, how good will the Clippers vs Warriors match?
The title holders have kept their core group of Curry, Klay Thompson and Draymond Green for the past 10 seasons. The team’s two best bowlers – better known as the “Splash Brothers” – have played side by side in 548 games (the Leonard George duo only played 80 together).
This not only speaks of the professionalism of the organization, but also testifies to the chemistry and friendship between these players. This is evident on the ground.
They and their teammates effortlessly move the ball, are selfless with the ball, and find ways to score as a team – 65.3% of their field goals last season were assisted. As corny as it is, they know how to make each other better.
Attacking isn’t the only thing warriors are good at. At the other end of the ground, the Warriors had the second-best defensive rating in the league, allowing only 106.6 points per 100 possessions. Defensive IQ of veterans Green, Thompson, and Andre Iguodala makes up for some of their defensive commitments on the ground.
But the clippers, too, have something up their sleeve — someone, I must say.
Leonard’s long-awaited return means a lot to Los Angeles. The last time he played in the playoffs, the two-time MVP scored 30.4 points on 57.3% shots, 7.7 rebounds, and 4.4 assists.
The numbers, no matter how good they are, don’t tell the whole story.
Leonard’s stifling defensive presence, ability to score at will, and relatable hustle make the Clippers hard to beat. Equally important, assuming the opponent’s best defender competes against Leonard, would be his second best defender over George, and third over competent scorers such as John Wall, Reggie Jackson or Powell. This does not bode well for opposing defenses – not at all.
But it may be the depth of Los Angeles that could tip the scales toward the Clippers.
Previous Portland Trail Blazers The duo of Powell and Robert Covington bring variety and depth to Tyrone Law. Powell is an athletic goalkeeper who uses his athletic abilities to break through the defense and finish decisively. Cherry on top – Powell is one of the best bowlers in the league: He sinks 41.9% of his 3-point attempts.
Covington, too, is a shooter who can also bring energy to defense. it’s a Heavy fighting defender who stops when neededwhether through distractions, blocks and theft.
The two remaining players from the Clippers duo “LIT”, Luke Kennard and Terance Mann, are also players who could spark a spark off the bench. Both proved their ability to drop more than 20 points on any given day in different ways. Kennard by knocking down the bird after the bird and the man ends up cutting and fighting over the players in the paint.
The veteran presence of forwards Nicholas Batum and Marcus Morris Sr. will be a key factor in Los Angeles as well. Not only can they shoot, guard multiple locations, and play quietly in the big games, but It also gives Lue the flexibility of playing small ball. Putting these players in the top five, as we saw in their 2020-21 knockout campaign, could be a way to take advantage of offensive mismatches, improve spacing, and continue in the game-changing rounds.
As many words can be said about who is the better team, the millions of unexpected variables in this sport make it impossible to predict what will happen. But one thing is for sure: Anytime these two teams compete, it’s going to be one uphill battle.
And know that the Clippers can and will definitely get their money back.