Golden State Warriors: Clippers aren’t the same team GSW beat up on

OAKLAND, CA - JANUARY 28: Blake Griffin
OAKLAND, CA - JANUARY 28: Blake Griffin /

The Golden State Warriors’ rivalry with the Los Angeles Clippers is over. This LA team is different than the one the Dubs have dominated.

The Golden State Warriors and the Los Angeles Clippers used to have a rivalry. It was fun and, arguably, the best one in the league for a few years. After some time, it was too one-sided to continue calling it a rivalry.

The Warriors dominated the Clippers. Golden State became a championship contender (and winner) while Los Angeles never advanced past the second round. The Clippers’ All-Stars were overshadowed by the Warriors’ MVPs.

Chris Paul’s arrival in Los Angeles was supposed to bring a title to the other LA franchise. Instead, it was Stephen Curry who did that. He surpassed Paul as the league’s best point guard and embarrassed him constantly.

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The Warriors learned everything about the Clippers until there was nothing they surprised them. It was like when you’d play an older relative in a game and they’d constantly beat up on you. Golden State looked forward to playing Los Angeles because they knew it was an easy win that would result in a relaxing fourth quarter.

The Warriors have beaten the Clippers ten times in a row. They’re going to have their hands full tonight though. This is a different team now.

Paul is gone. As great as he is, he just couldn’t play against Curry. He didn’t know what to do with the MVP and it showed. Curry consistently outplayed Paul.

The Clippers are playing a different brand of basketball and are actually focusing on their best player: Blake Griffin. Griffin is a guy who Draymond Green has been able to hold in check, but he seems to be unleashed this year. He’s having an incredible season thus far, leading the Clippers to an impressive 4-1 record.

There’s a different energy around this team. With Patrick Beverley and an improved Austin Rivers taking the place of a ball dominant Paul and a brilliant-yet-stubborn Jamal Crawford, they’re tough. Danilo Gallinari is the small forward they’ve been looking for for years. DeAndre Jordan does what he does.

The Warriors are better than the Clippers. Regardless of what their October records say, we can say that with great confidence. With Curry, Kevin Durant, Green, and Klay Thompson, the Warriors’ fearsome four is too much for any team in a meaningful game.

Still, these Clippers aren’t the same team that they are used to beating up on. While Griffin remains from the time that this was a rivalry, Golden State probably doesn’t have any animosity towards their opponent. That’s over.

For Curry, there was probably some joy in besting Paul. Curry took the torch from Paul. While Beverley can be a nuisance, it’s not the same.

Clippers bench players added fuel to the fire. Guys like Dahntay Jones and Paul Pierce brought out the best in Green. It pushed him even more to destroy the Clippers.

It’s hard to know which Warriors team will show up tonight. Even if they add another win to their streak, it’s different now. The Warriors don’t care about the Clippers enough to destroy them, the Clippers might actually be better with Paul, and the Warriors have bigger fish to fry.