Stephen Curry can’t be stopped. The Golden State Warriors can’t be stopped. The two go hand in hand and it’s about time we all just give in. Of course, that logic will come to a crashing halt at some point, as no team has ever won all 82 NBA games in a season or really even come close. In fact, these very Warriors have survived some real scares in the early going of the 2015-16 NBA season, so as unstoppable as they really do appear, they will be stopped at some point.
It’s probably not happening on Thursday night, though. Curry and co. head to Staples Center to take on a depleted Clippers squad. Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan could still make life difficult on the Warriors, but getting a win even at home seems unlikely with Chris Paul and J.J. Redick both doubtful. The matchup is still a strong rivalry game, though, and anytime the Warriors are on the road they seem a little more vulnerable to take a loss.
Does their first loss come tonight? Let’s break down all three NBA contests on the Thursday slate to find out:
Sacramento Kings @ Miami Heat
The Kings are slowly working their way back to respectability following an ugly 1-7 start, as DeMarcus Cousins is back and has played a big hand in winning three of the Kings’ last 10 games. It’s baby steps, but the Kings have won two of their last three and appear determined to fight their way back to .500. That may be a fruitless mission, though, playing in the same division as the Golden State Warriors. Regardless, they bring an up tempo offense to South Beach tonight, where the slower Heat await. Miami will look to slow things down and contain Boogie with Hassan Whiteside, and if their defense stays true (allowing just 91 points per game), they could pull a half game behind the Atlanta Hawks for first place in the Southeast division. It’d be nice to get behind the Kings, but they’re on the road against a team that actually plays defense. As long as Miami can dictate the pace, they should get the win.
Pick: Heat 98, Kings 96
Milwaukee Bucks @ Cleveland Cavaliers
This feels like an easy call, as Cleveland is already down 1-0 in the season series with their divisional foes and is also sliding on a two-game skid. At home, the Cavs won’t take to kind to a 2-0 season series hole to an average Bucks team, nor will they be excited to lose for a third game in a row. I expect LeBron James and co. to come out more fired up than usual as they try to get another eight-game winning streak started. Mo Williams may not be around to help out, though, and that may be the only real reason to worry if you’re thinking about betting on the Cavs. Milwaukee also gets a little stronger tonight, as O.J. Mayo will be available to drop in some buckets off the bench and Jabari Parker will start. Still, Cleveland is the better team and at home, so they should find a way to prevail.
Pick: Cavs 104, Bucks 97
Golden State Warriors @ Los Angeles Clippers
We’ve already seen this matchup play out earlier this year at Oracle Arena. Seeing as the Warriors are still an unblemished 12-0, we know the end result. The end result hasn’t been amazing for the Clips in general this year, as they’re a decent 6-4 but they’re not blowing the hinges off the door by any means. Golden State very much is, as no one can slow down Stephen Curry and the Warriors are still playing an intense, high level defense (only allowing 98 points per game) even though they’re running around dropping 114 points per game. The defense is even better than we think and while they’re on the road tonight, they aren’t likely to have to deal with Chris Paul or J.J. Redick – both of which are not 100%. If one or both play I’d give the Clippers a mild shot at being the first team to hand the Warriors a loss, but with them out it might be almost impossible.
Pick: Warriors 109, Clippers 106