The Clips Nation staff has come together to give our predictions for the outcomes of the Clippers-Warriors series. While none of us think the Clippers will win the series, our thoughts on the competitiveness of it vary substantially.
My instinct is that Golden State will have a fairly easy time with the Clippers, mostly because of the talent gap. Other than Danilo Gallinari versus Draymond Green, the Warriors have an advantage at every position in the starting lineup. Even within the second unit, Andre Iguodala is one of the best possible defenders to neutralize Lou Williams. Golden State also has significantly more playoff experience than LA, which suggests they won’t be overwhelmed by the moment. I could see the Clippers winning one game if Landry Shamet bombs a few threes early and Lou gets a parade of free throws, but this seems like a pretty clear sweep to me. Golden State in 4.
The regular season for the LA Clippers has been nothing short of remarkable. They’ve deftly navigated through injuries, significant roster changes, and a very tough Western Conference. They’ve vastly exceeded the expectations of most, and have established a winning culture from top to bottom as an organization. In fact, just about every player, coach, and member of the organization will tell you that they never cared who they would face in the postseason. That said, facing the Golden State Warriors in the first round of the NBA Playoffs is the toughest road possible through the postseason. The Clippers landed the 8th seed and it took them 48 wins just to get there, which says a whole lot about the West and the team sitting at the top of it. The Warriors have been here before and have the talent, depth, and collective basketball IQ to head for yet another NBA Finals pretty handily. It pains me to say that this lovable, gritty, must-watch Clippers team is definitely not going to win this series. They do, however, have the perseverance to, at the very least, make some games interesting. They just might even win a game or two, but don’t hold your breath expecting an upset. This series should be a quick one. Warriors in 5
The worst possible situation for the Clippers happened, BUT there is light at the end of the tunnel. They will be playing against top free agents in Kevin Durant and Klay Thompson, and if they steal a game or two, could make a pretty good impression. This is especially true if young guys like Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and Landry Shamet perform well (two guys KD has already heaped praise upon). For this series, I think the Warriors will take it easy game four after three easy-ish wins and the Clippers steal one. Warriors in 5.
My plan is to not watch this series, not talk about it, and pretend like it didn’t happen when my brother-in-law brings it up to me this summer. Warriors in 4.
In basketball, always fear the team with nothing to lose. The Clippers are that team, and will not be swept by the Golden State Warriors in round one. As has been repeated throughout the season, the Clippers are a hustle and heart team, with tremendous depth. What they may lack in talent (when compared to the All-Star packed Warriors), they make up for in drive and determination. I expect Danilo Gallinari to continue his outstanding play, and for Landry Shamet and Shai Gilgeous-Alexander to revel in the spotlight. Montrezl Harrell and Lou Williams did not fare as well as expected in the last stretch of games but that downturn won’t continue. And Patrick Beverely will be very … well … Patrick Beverely; the motor that keeps the team running at full speed. I doubt the Warriors will go four consecutive games without foul trouble, injury, loose/sloppy play or one (or more) of their starters going cold from outside. In those games, the Clippers can and will win. It really depends on their defense showing up, and their ability to protect the ball. When the dust settles, I think Golden State will be the ones to move on, but not without a hard fight from the Clippers. Warriors in 6.
The loss to the Lakers a week ago set the stage for the inevitable: a first-round matchup with the two-time defending champions. While any of the other top 4 teams in the West would have been the preference, stealing a series was always going to be tough task for the upstart Clippers. The Warriors should and could sweep them, but with the chance at additional playoff revenue and a scrappy opponent on the other bench, I envision Golden State getting up 3-0 and slogging through a Game 4 loss before wrapping up the series in Oakland. For the series to be more competitive, the Clippers must expose Golden State’s lack of quality depth, get hot from 3-point range, hope they can channel whatever caused the KD-Draymond infighting to rear its head earlier this season, and make DeMarcus Cousins a primary option. IF they got all of that, they might lose in six instead of five. Otherwise, Warriors in 5.
The Clippers have had a wonderful, impressive season. They play hard, play together, and are one of the deepest teams in the NBA. Unfortunately, the Golden State Warriors are not only one of the greatest collections of talent in NBA history, but they’re also a horrible matchup for the Clippers. They have long, talented defenders to throw at Lou Williams, phenomenal shooters and off-ball players who will test the defense of Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and Landry Shamet, and big men who can swallow up Montrezl Harrell and Ivica Zubac inside. The Clippers’ best chance for victory is playing mental games with the Warriors, especially as related to the referees, and causing multiple of Draymond Green/Kevin Durant/DeMarcus Cousins to lose their heads. Unfortunately, I wouldn’t bet on that happening, and even if it did, the Warriors would still have... Steph Curry and Klay Thompson. I wouldn’t be shocked if the Clippers won a game through hot shooting or the Warriors’ having an off night, but the most likely outcome to me is a sweep. I just hope a couple of these games are competitive. Warriors in 4.