Some series have more than just one angle or story line to them. The Los Angeles Clippers and the Golden State Warriors have been at each other’s throats for the last couple of seasons, so now they have a playoff series with up to seven games in two weeks to hash things out. Exciting.
Blake Griffin seems to be the focal point of everything. The Warriors (and other teams) constantly try to get him out of sync and into technical foul trouble. The Warriors are probably dirtier than others when it comes to their techniques, as Mark Jackson is sometimes pushing the “tough team” attitude a bit too far, or maybe his players are. Draymond Green elbowing Griffin, Andrew Bogut arm wrestling him to the ground, and there’s more.
But aside from the WWE connections, there’s also plenty of basketball to enjoy. Teams who play fast basketball and love to shoot 3-pointers are often a joy to watch, and this game will be no different. The Warriors might be the better shooting team with the top two 3-point makers in the league – Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson, but the Clippers have the ability to score on the inside as well, especially now that Andrew Bogut isn’t playing.
Maybe the fractured rib won’t hold him back for the entire series, but right now he is out. That means Jermaine O’Neal needing a lot of help from a slightly injured David Lee and from everyone else, who’ll have to do a lot better at rebounding the ball, and keeping Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan away from the glass. This means Draymond Green probably getting more minutes, maybe attempts at bigger lineups and hoping that Harrison Barnes finally starts his season.
Chris Paul will push things forward for the Clippers in what should be a very interesting point guard face off, maybe the best we’re going to get in the entire postseason. Unlike Curry, who specializes in shooting and is probably the best in the league, Paul can do pretty much everything, but will try to stay away from doing too much. He is also the better defender, and he’ll try and make it about limiting or slowing down Curry on his own without giving the improved passer a chance to hit open guys.
Prediction – In opening games, before the adjustments begin, usually the predictable thing happens, and the Clippers at home should be too much for the Warriors.