May 7, 2011LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) Animal Kingdom sped past the leaders in the turn at Churchill Downs on Saturday and roared down the middle of the stretch to win the Kentucky Derby.Jockey John Velazquez guided the 3-year-old colt, who finished ahead of Nehro and Mucho Macho Man. Favorite Dialed In was never a factor.The victory is the first Derby win for trainer Graham Motion and provided redemption for Velazquez, who was set to ride Uncle Mo before the horse was scratched due to a lingering stomach problem.Velazquez replaced Robby Albarado on the winner after Albarado broke his nose earlier in the week.Animal Kingdom went off as a 20-1 longshot in the lightly regarded field.
OAKLAND -- Once upon a time, for a few fleeting seasons, there was a rivalry between the Warriors and the Clippers. These days, however, it’s more like an exhibition of domination.
The Warriors will be trying to sweep LA for the second consecutive season when the teams meet Thursday night at Oracle Arena.
While the Warriors (47-9) open the post-All-Star break trying to solidify their status as the No. 1 overall seed, the Clippers (35-21) are scrambling to hang onto the No. 4 seed in the Western Conference. LA has won its last four games, but is 6-7 since Chris Paul went down with a thumb injury on Jan. 18.
Paul was originally expected to miss at least six weeks and still is listed as out. He has, however, received medical clearance and Clippers coach Doc Rivers on Thursday morning left open the possibility of Paul’s return.
Warriors by 13
MATCHUP TO WATCH
Draymond Green vs. Blake Griffin: The rise of the Warriors can be traced back to Green’s stifling of Griffin in the first round of the 2014 playoffs. It’s a classic battle between a defensive ace and a spectacular offensive star. With Paul expected to miss his 14th consecutive game, it’s up to Griffin to make plays while also carrying the bulk of the scoring load. In three games against the Warriors this season, he is averaging 21.0 points on 45.3-percent (24-of-53) shooting.
Warriors: C Zaza Pachulia (R rotator cuff strain) and C David West (L thumb fracture) are listed as questionable.
Clippers: F Brice Johnson (herniated disk) and G Chris Paul (L thumb ligament tear) are listed as out.
Warriors: 8-2. Clippers: 5-5.
The Warriors have won the last nine regular-season meetings and 17 of the last 22. They have won 10 in a row in Oakland and 20 of the last 22.
THREE THINGS TO WATCH
POST-BREAK BLUES: The first game after the break is treacherous for most teams, and the Warriors are no exception. Coming off the break last season, they went to Portland and lost by 32 -- still their most lopsided loss since Steve Kerr arrived before the 2014-15 season. Early intensity may be hard to muster, but it’s necessary.
PARK ON THE ARC: The Clippers are a team of launchers, relying largely on jumpers from the perimeter, often 3-point distance, where they rank fourth in field-goal percentage. They rank 27th in points in the paint and 24th in second-chance points, so the Warriors would be wise to force contested jump shots, no matter who is taking them.
BALL VALUE: The Warriors over the last five games are averaging a very manageable 10.8 turnovers. If they continue this trend, it pretty much closes off any avenue for the Clippers to crank up their offense.
OAKLAND -- The Warriors, as expected, mostly observed from the sideline as the NBA trade deadline came and went on Thursday.
That does not mean they were inactive.
While other teams shopped around with an eye on matching up with them, the Warriors, according to multiple sources, were constantly studying the market -- and will continue to do so with the knowledge that a number of veteran players will be bought out and, therefore, become available on the cheap.
Ex-Warriors center Andrew Bogut, for example, likely will be on the market after the 76ers acquired him in a trade with the Mavericks. But because the Warriors traded Bogut within the last 12 months, they are not eligible to re-sign him, even if they were so inclined, which they are not.
Any move the Warriors make in the coming weeks likely will bring in a wing to play behind the likes of Kevin Durant, Andre Iguodala and Klay Thompson. They place a high value on such players largely because they tend to be relatively seamless fits into their defensive concepts.