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Blake Griffin and Clippers are 4-0, but as usual it’s all about the Warriors

Clippers power forward Blake Griffin drives to the basket in the first half against the Suns on Monday.

Clippers power forward Blake Griffin drives to the basket in the first half against the Suns on Monday.

(Lawrence K. Ho / Los Angeles Times)

Blake Griffin had just shrugged off a rolled ankle to make the mid-range jumper that helped complete another impressive showing by the power forward in another Clippers victory.

None of which seemed to interest the reporter who asked Griffin the first question late Monday night.

What did Griffin think about the Golden State Warriors’ having won their game that night by 50 points, the latest blowout in a strong start by the defending NBA champions?

“I thought we played well,” Griffin deadpanned, redirecting the moment. “Phoenix is a good team.”

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The present didn’t seem nearly as intriguing to inquiring minds as the future. That’s because the Clippers’ next game is against the archrival Warriors on Wednesday night at Oracle Arena in Oakland.

Golden State will distribute replica championship rings to 10,000 fans before the game, the latest reminder that the Warriors have what the Clippers want.

Both teams have looked title-worthy in the season’s early going, winning their first four games to become the only unbeatens remaining in the Western Conference. The Warriors have won their games by an average of 25 points, including that 50-point rout of the Memphis Grizzlies on Monday.

“They’re very good and very, very confident right now, very lethal,” Griffin said.

The Warriors also might still be very miffed after their backup point guard Shaun Livingston said that Griffin was unnecessarily physical during the Clippers’ preseason victory over them. And that came not long after Golden State’s Klay Thompson was irked by comments Clippers Coach Doc Rivers had made about luck being involved with the Warriors’ winning the title, though Rivers’ words had been twisted by reporters.

It’s always something with these teams.

“I understood what [Rivers] meant when he talks about you have to be lucky to win a championship,” Griffin said, “but at the same time teams make their own luck by winning the most regular-season games like [Golden State] did last year. That puts them on the path to play the right teams, that puts them on the path to have home-court advantage” in the playoffs.

The Clippers appear to have adopted the mind-set of their rivals, emphasizing the importance of winning as many games as possible after failing to attain home-court advantage last season in the conference semifinals.

Beating Golden State on its home court is never easy. The Warriors have smacked the Clippers in the teams’ last four meetings at Oracle Arena — including a first-round playoff series in 2014 — winning by an average of nearly 12 points. Rivers called his players “soft” after a 17-point defeat there last November.

That’s one adjective that doesn’t apply to the Warriors these days. Rivers said their confidence reminds him of his Boston Celtics after they won the 2008 NBA title, when they opened the next regular season 27-2.

“That swagger is hard to knock off,” Rivers said. “That’s why when you win [a title], it’s hard to beat them.”

Rivers joked that he didn’t want to “say anything dumb” before Wednesday’s game so that the focus would be on basketball. But maybe just for old time’s sake, he tweaked the Warriors a bit while referencing their demolition of the Grizzlies.

“You’re both as good as your record and they’re undefeated, we’re undefeated,” Rivers said. “So, no matter how much you win by, the records are the same. But we’ll see. They’re the champs.”

Clippers at Golden State

When: 7:30 p.m. Wednesday.

Where: Oracle Arena.

On the air: TV: ESPN, Prime; Radio: 980, 1330.

Records: Clippers 4-0; Warriors 4-0.

Record vs. Warriors (2014-15): 1-3.

Benoit Benjamin, Marques Johnson and Cedric Maxwell were playing for the Clippers in the 1985-86 season, the last time they started a season with five consecutive victories. That’s the only time it has happened in franchise history. Golden State’s Stephen Curry is averaging 37.0 points, 6.3 assists, 5.0 rebounds and 2.5 steals per game. He’s also making 59.5% of his shots and 48.8% of his three-point shots. Warriors center Andrew Bogut has not played since suffering a concussion in the season opener. He is questionable to return Wednesday.

Follow Ben Bolch on Twitter @latbbolch


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