Sitting alone atop the Pacific Division standings, the undefeated Los Angeles Clippers target their best start in five years when they host the Golden State Warriors tonight at Staples Center.
The Clippers are 2-0 after wins over Memphis and their Staples Center co- tenants, the Los Angeles Lakers. In an all L.A. showdown Friday night, reserve and former Sixth Man of the Year Jamal Crawford continued to shine in his new digs with 21 points off the bench. He had 29 in a win over the Grizzlies.
Chris Paul put together his usual double-double, ending with 18 points and 15 assists, while Blake Griffin scored 15 points and Caron Butler registered 14 for the Clippers, who shot 45.2 percent and won despite watching Kobe Bryant record 40 points on 14-of-23 shooting.
"We weathered the storm," Paul said. "Our bench stepped up. We did a good job of running the court. We have so much depth. That's what makes our team special."
The Clippers are opening a three-game homestand tonight versus the Warriors, Cavaliers and Spurs, and haven't started 3-0 since a four-game winning streak to begin the 2007-08 campaign.
Golden State has split its first two games of the season and suffered a 104-94 loss Friday versus Memphis in its home opener.
Stephen Curry scored a game-high 26 points and dished out seven assists, while Carl Landry had 20 points and six rebounds for the Warriors, who kicked off the new campaign with an 87-85 win at Phoenix.
"They're good, they're a playoff team," Curry said of the Grizzlies. "These are the teams we have to beat if we're trying to get to where we're going. We basically gave them the game with free throws and turnovers."
Warriors guard-forward Brandon Rush left the game in the first quarter with an apparent knee injury, and is day-to-day. David Lee finished with 16 points and seven boards for Golden State, which made 45 percent from the field, but sank 50 percent of its 3-pointers (10-of-20).
The Warriors will play two straight and three of four on the road.
Center Andrew Bogut has been on a minutes count due to a balky ankle and had four points in 18 minutes against Memphis. He scored eight points over 18:29 in the season opener versus the Suns.
Golden State and Los Angeles split four meetings a year ago and 14 overall in the series.