They are here! The Playoffs are here!
The NBA Playoffs continue at 3:30 p.m. on ABC as the Clippers host the Warriors in the 3-6 matchup of the Western Conference. Before each game, we will have a quick preview of the upcoming game with a matchup to watch and a stat to chew on as you watch the game.
Previously on Lost:
The Warriors and Clippers played four entertaining and surprisingly physical games in the regular season. These two teams do not like each other very much. In fact, they do not like each other at all. The Christmas Day game was entertainingly marred by some extra curriculars between Draymond Green and Blake Griffin. Mark Jackson will have his team playing mind games.
However, in their last meeting, Griffin went off for 30 points and 15 rebounds in the team’s easiest win of the season between these two division rivals. It is unlikely that Danny Granger will have 18 points again, but this game cemented the Clippers as a team to be reckoned with and was at the height of their regular season.
Matchup to Watch: Draymond Green vs. Blake Griffin
On Christmas Day, Draymond Green challenged Blake Griffin at the end of the third quarter. The two met toe to toe and both were ejected. With Andrew Bogut out, Green will get the first assignment on Griffin and will surely remember how he got in Griffin’s head in that matchup. That is going to be something the Warriors will do throughout. They are going to needle and poke Griffin and try to get him frustrated with physical play. If Griffin has truly ascended, he will forget all of that and play.
Green has big shoes to fill too and cannot be too preoccupied with Griffin. He has to help the Warriors spread the floor with his shooting ability, but also has to provide some physicality and defense on the inside. The Clippers clearly have an advantage on the inside now with Bogut out and Green has to help fill that void. A near double double seems like it is a must for him.
Stat to Chew on: Missing Bogut
The Warriors defense has been the big part of their season as the offense has come and gone. Andrew Bogut for much of the season was the anchor of that defense. Having him out of the lineup could be pretty huge.
The Warriors are +9.1 points per 100 possessions with Bogut on the court compared to +2.5 points per 100 possessions with Bogut off the court, according to NBA.com. The defensive rating is two points per 100 possessions better with Bogut on the floor. Defensively, opponents shoot just 45.0 percent at the rim against Bogut. That is the best mark on the team among the regular players. This is a huge injury for the Warriors.
FlyByKnight of Clips Nation: Chris Paul and Steph Curry, both elite point guards, couldn’t be more different. One intelligently probes wayward defenses with a vigorous dribble, craftiness, and competitive fire of a being twice his size. The other whirlwinds through the opposition by displaying a magical elixir of perfect form, unconscious range, and sheer scoring prowess of an all-time virtuoso. But both are much more than that. Beyond their abilities, both men are leaders. While in different ways, both Paul and Curry lead by example and get the most out of those around them.
Alex Torres of Warriors World: Although it is not ideal, if the Warriors plan on advancing to the Western Conference Semi-Finals, they will have to adjust. Klay Thompson and Steph Curry are capable of taking over the game, so the Warriors might want to play to their strengths. However, the Warriors will be at a disadvantage when they try and defend Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan, but they might not have a better option at this point.
Philip’s Running Prediction: I am torn on this matchup at the beginning. I have a ton of respect for what the Clippers have done this season. But I think the Warriors with their offensive capabilities are a perfect matchup against the Clippers’ sometimes struggling defense. I think Stephen Curry is in for a big series. Los Angeles has been the better team throughout the season and Playoff Chris Paul is a thing of beauty. This one will not be easy, but I have Clippers in 7.