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Round 1 Game 2 Clippers-Warriors preview -- Backs to the wall

The Warriors stole Game 1 in Los Angeles and now have the home court advantage. The Clippers certainly can't afford to dig the hole any deeper, so a win tonight becomes vitally important.

Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports
2014 NBA Playoffs
First Round

Game 2 - April 21st, 2014, 7:30 PM
Prime Ticket, TNT, KFWB 980 AM, KWKW 1330 AM
Series Schedule
Warriors lead series 1-0
Game 1 - Sat April 19 in Los Angeles, Warriors 109-Clippers 105
Game 2 - Mon April 21, 7:30 p.m., TNT, Los Angeles, STAPLES Center
Game 3 - Thu April 24, 7:30 p.m., TNT, Oakland, ORACLE Arena
Game 4 - Sun April 27, 12:30 p.m., ABC, Oakland, ORACLE Arena
Game 5* Tue April 29, Time TBD, Los Angeles, STAPLES Center
Game 6* Thu May 1, Time TBD, Oakland, ORACLE Arena
Game 7 * Sat May 3, Time TBD, Los Angeles, STAPLES Center
* if necessary
Win-Loss Breakdown Regular Season
21-9 East 20-10
36-16 West 31-21
34-7 Home 27-14
23-18 Road 24-17
25-18 .500+ 19-25
32-7 .500- 32-6
7-3 L10 6-4
Probable Starters
Chris Paul PG Stephen Curry
J.J. Redick SG Klay Thompson
Matt Barnes SF Andre Iguodala
Blake Griffin PF David Lee
DeAndre Jordan C Jermaine O'Neal
Key Reserves
Darren Collison PG Steve Blake
Jamal Crawford SG Jordan Crawford
Jared Dudley SF Harrison Barnes
Danny Granger PF Draymond Green
Glen Davis C Marreese Speights
Advanced Stats 2013-2014 Regular Season
98.39 (7th of 30) Pace 98.53 (6th of 30)
109.4 (1st of 30) ORtg 105.3 (12th of 30)
102.1 (7th of 30) DRtg 99.9 (3rd of 30)
Danny Granger (hamstring) probable
Andrew Bogut (broken rib) out

Festus Ezeli (knee surgery) out

The Back Story (The season series is tied 2-2):

Date Venue Final

10/31/13 Los Angeles Clippers 126, Warriors 115 Recap Box
12/25/13 Oakland Warriors 105, Clippers 103 Recap Box
01/30/14 Oakland Warriors 111, Clippers 92 Recap Box
03/12/14 Los Angeles Clippers 111, Warriors 98 Recap Box

The Big Picture:

The Clippers lost Game 1 and now find themselves in a hole against the Warriors -- but there wasn't really a lot happening in Saturday's game to make you question whether the Clippers can win this series. They certainly made the job tougher for themselves by losing, but they can't play a whole lot worse, and Blake Griffin isn't likely to be limited to 19 minutes by foul trouble again, and the bench is going to shoot better than 5-26 (that's what Jamal Crawford, Darren Collison and Danny Granger combined to do). If they lose this one, you have my permission to panic. If they play their game, they should win.

The Antagonist:

The Warriors stole Game 1 -- given that the goal of any road team is to get one of the first two and then worry about winning on their own floor, it's possible that the Warriors will be satisfied with what they've accomplished as they head into Game 2. Then again, the Warriors managed to get the win without getting a monster game from Stephen Curry. If he detonates tonight, they could be heading to Oakland with a 2-0 lead. The Warriors were only so-so for much of the game, but during the third quarter they were terrific. Their ball movement was consistently better than the Clippers' defensive rotations (which were not particularly good, it should be noted). Mark Jackson falls in love with iso's a little too much -- which is too bad, because he has a bunch of playmakers on his roster, and they're clearly at their best when they are sharing the ball.

The Subplots

  • Series preview. Be sure to review the series preview which contains some of the overarching points for the series. I won't repeat those points here.
  • Road wins. Five out of eight Game 1s this weekend were won by road teams. Hopefully that bodes well for the Clippers, who will probably need to get at least one road win in any series they want win in the West at this point.
  • NBA says "my bad". For the second time this season after a loss to the Warriors, the NBA admitted that they blew a key call in the game. A foul should have been called against Draymond Green with 19 seconds left when Chris Paul lost the ball out of bounds. I wonder if the Clippers can get store credit at the NBA Store with these admissions after the fact.
  • Outlier. How uncharacteristic was Game 1 of the Clippers overall season? The Clippers were 36-1 this season when they made at least nine three pointers. They made 10 in Game 1 -- and lost.
  • Mismatches. Warriors shooting guard Klay Thompson is 6'7". In the second half of Monday's game, Mark Jackson played just seven guys, his starters with the 6'8 Harrison Barnes and the 6'7 Draymond Green. On the other hand, Doc Rivers likes to play Chris Paul and Darren Collison, a pair of six footers, together, not to mention that J.J. Redick is 6'4 and Jamal Crawford is pretty frail. The bottom line is that while Golden State is relatively "small" in the front court, they are actually huge on the wings, and they will have a physical advantage in one or more mismatches throughout the game. The begin the game, Rivers had Matt Barnes on Thompson, leaving Redick to contend with Andre Iguodala. The game also featured Crawford on Iggy, Paul on Thompson, and Redick on Green at one time or another. These are not good matchups for the Clippers -- but the good news is that none of the mentioned players are actually great in the post. Neither Iguodala nor Green is exactly great in isolation, and Paul does a surprisingly good job against Thompson when he defends him. Down the stretch Monday night and also the last time the teams played, Rivers had Collison on Curry and Paul on Thompson, and the fourth quarter defense was excellent. They can't afford to wait until the fourth quarter anymore though.
  • Game 1 good news part 1. J.J. Redick was spectacular, In by far his best game since returning from a back injury, Redick scored 22 points on 11 shots. He was 8-11 from the field and made 4-5 of his three pointers. He was the only Clipper to play well, but it was a welcome sight.
  • Game 1 good news part 2. Blake Griffin averaged 30 points per 36 minutes in Game 1 -- too bad he only played 19. The Warriors didn't seem to have much answer for Griffin, he bullied David Lee in the post on multiple occasions when he was in the game. He just wasn't in the game much.
  • Game 1 good news part 3. The Clippers limited Steph Curry to 14 points on 16 shots and forced him into seven turnovers. Then again, all the attention the Clippers were paying to Curry often left other players open, and the defensive rotations were poor to non-existent, so the Clippers paid a price for stopping Curry. Not to mention that he could still go off at any moment.
  • Game 1 bad news. Everything else. Turnovers. The bench. Chris Paul. Jamal Crawford. I'll actually put DeAndre Jordan and Glen Davis in a good news category, but really it was mostly bad.
  • Crawford's struggles. While many Clippers struggled in the game, Jamal Crawford's struggles were pretty monumental. He missed open shots. He missed contested shots. He missed almost everything he took -- one of two shots he made was a half court heave. On the other hand he missed nine. The good news with Jamal is that he's not going to lose confidence. If Doc puts him in, he wants him to shoot, and Crawford knows that. But he's not helping if he's not scoring, because there's not really anyone for him to guard on the Warriors either.
  • Connections. Clippers super sub Jamal Crawford spent most of a season in Oakland between his stints in New York and Atlanta. Matt Barnes really solidified himself as a viable NBA player on the We Believe Warriors of the 2007 playoffs. Steve Blake will spend the trade deadline to the end of the season with the Warriors this year, just as he did with the Clippers in 2010. Warriors coach Mark Jackson was a Clipper in the early 90s. The two coaches tonight were traded for each other back in 1992, with Rivers leaving and Jackson joining the Clippers. Harrison Barnes and Clippers rookie Reggie Bullock were teammates for a season at North Carolina when they were both freshman. The Clippers can thank the Warriors for DeAndre Jordan's current contract, as he signed an offer sheet with Golden State in 2011 which the Clippers matched.
  • Get the Warriors perspective at Golden State of Mind.