The Golden State Warriors completed the task of beating the Los Angeles Clippers in one of the first two games in LA, and had a Golden (pun intended) opportunity going back to Oakland with the series tied at one game a piece, but the Clippers had other plans as they beat the Warriors 98-96 to take a 2-1 series lead. Lets break down what has happened so far in this series.
1. Front-court has dominated in Clipper wins
I noted in my article previewing this series, that the Clippers front-court was going to be the main factor in this series. Game one was plagued with foul trouble for both teams and Blake Griffin only played 20 minutes in game one before fouling out. In these last two games there hasn’t been much foul trouble on both sides and the Clipper front-court has dominated. Game two Blake Griffin scored 35 points and grabbed 6 rebounds, game three was more of the same as Griffin netted in 32 points and grabbed 8 rebounds. DeAndre Jordan has also dominated his match-up and had a monster game 3 scoring 14 points and grabbing 22 boards. In games two and three Jordan has wreaked havoc for the Warriors defensively as he has recorded five blocks in each game. Without Andrew Bogut the Warriors will continue to be exploited at the center position.
2. Curry NEEDS to get going
Stephen Curry has to dominate the rest of this series if the Warriors want to have a chance at getting out of the first round, he has had a lack luster start to this series. He scored 24 points in game two but most of those points came in garbage time when the Clippers hung a 40-burger on the Warriors, but other than that he’s been in a slump so to speak. He is just shooting 6-21 in the series from three point land (20-45 in total field goals), if you remember last year’s playoffs Curry was sensational but has yet to recapture that postseason form this time around.
Another thing that I noted before this series started is the coaching match-up between Doc Rivers and Mark Jackson and that match-up has so far been in Doc’s favor and it’s not even close. First off Doc rivers has done a good job with his defense against the Curry pick and roll, they are not letting Curry breath in this series, as they pretty much over-extend on every pick and roll play. This in turn makes Curry more of a passer than a scorer which is just what the Clippers want. Secondly he has ran more offense through Blake Griffin which plays into the fact that the Warriors are very thin at the front-court, and that has worked out well for the Clippers, and I have yet to see adjustments from Mark Jackson to counter-act any of these.
Game four is going to be a huge game for the Warriors, they would much rather head to LA tied at two games a piece than being down 3-1, game four will be basically the Warriors season. For the Clippers, they want to wrap this series up as fast as possible, so they can rest up as they would face either the Grizzles or the Thunder in the next round, and that series looks like it could be going the distance.