As the Los Angeles Clippers attempt to win their fourth straight game Friday night, in Oakland to face the Golden State Warriors at Oracle Arena, most of the focus will deservedly be on Blake Griffin, who continues to amaze with his rookie campaign. However, tonight's game will also feature two of the best shooting guards in the NBA, with Eric Gordon of the Clippers facing Monta Ellis of Golden State.
Gordon has parlayed his experience with Team USA in the FIBA World Championships in Turkey last summer into a breakout third season in the NBA. He is averaging a career-high 23.6 points per game this season, and has emerged as a team leader. His aggressive style has paid off, is he averages 7.7 free throw attempts per game, 11th in the NBA. After an early season slump from distance, Gordon has made 41.1% of his three-point attempts in his last 16 games.
Ellis had his breakout season last season, finishing sixth in the league in scoring, and has picked up where he has left off this year, averaging 25.6 points per game, third in the NBA. Ellis is second among Western Conference shooting guards in field goal percentage, at 46.9%, while Gordon is third, at 45.5%. Ellis is fifth in the NBA with 29 games of 20 points or more, while Gordon is tied for eighth with 26 such games.
The fine folks at 82games.com have Gordon at 20.8 PER compared to 13.5 PER for his opposing shooting guards, for a net gain of +7.3. Ellis, meanwhile, has a 20.4 PER compared to 15.8 for his opposite number, for a +4.6. In their two meetings this season, Gordon has outscored Ellis, 44-28. Tonight should be a fun matchup between these two wonderful shooting guards.
For more information on tonight's game, be sure to read Clips Nation.