Although their first half success without Andrew Bogut can be attributed to many factors, the Warriors aren't sitting at 22-10 at this point had it not been for Steph Curry and David Lee. One, if not both of those players should bring the Warriors all-star drought to an end.
The Warriors getting a player into the all-star game has been about as rare as them sneaking into the playoffs the last two decades, but this year they've got an excellent opportunity to do both. In one of the most impressive victories of the season to date, the Warriors took care of the first place LA Clippers at the Oracle, and made it look quite easy. Steph Curry outplayed Chris Paul, putting up a 31/6/8 line to Paul's 23/4/6. Meanwhile, David Lee went up against Blake Griffin and absolutely dominated the youngster. Lee pitched in 24 points, 13 boards and 7 assists while Griffin managed a pedestrian 10 points and 6 boards as Lee held him to just 2-11 shooting. One could make an argument for both Paul and Griffin to each be starters in the upcoming All-Star game this February, but if that's the case, where does that put Lee and Curry? Those two helped pace the Dubs throughout the night and lead them to a
115-94 beat down on their SoCal rivals and the hottest team in the league. It's a shame the Warriors still aren't being noticed on a national level and so far Curry and Lee have gotten no love in fan voting.
Now, next up, the 'Dubs get a rematch with the Clippers as they head down to the Staples Center for what I'm expecting to be a much cleaner game played by Los Angeles. I don't expect this one to be a 20-point blowout either way, and I'm expecting a rebound performance out of Blake Griffin. This is going to be a good test for the Dubs though, as they'll be getting the same, clear-cut playoff team in back-to-back games. Good teams like the Clippers will make adjustments and aren't going to be nearly as easy to beat the second time around. What the Warriors have to do is just keep up their tight defense and continue to let their offense come out build off that. That's what's made this team so special this season, the complete 180 turn they've taken on defense, despite being without their premiere defending center, thanks in large part to the play of rookie Festus Ezeli. He's not giving much offense, but he's allowed this team to keep it's defensive mentality strong in the middle without Bogut, the guy they were building their defense around. Ezeli had a nice defensive night against DeAndre Jordan and Blake Griffin Thursday, and if he can do it again Saturday, the W's will be in good shape.