Los Angeles Clippers vs. Golden State Warriors
12:30 p.m. PST
April 19, 2014
1. Will we see deck-a-DJ this afternoon?
Fred Katz, (@FredKatz): Yes. Actually, we’ll probably see it all series. If Jordan’s 43 percent free-throw percentage is more mental than anything else, there’s no way the pressure of the postseason could make him any better, right? Mark Jackson has shown a propensity to go to deck-a-DJ before. No reason he won’t do it again.
Patrick James, (@patrickmjames): Almost certainly. The question is whether it will be successful. Although Golden State’s offensive schemes leave a lot to be desired, the team still has two of the world’s best shooters and is deadly in transition. If Jackson decides to put Jordan at the line, it’ll allow the Clippers to get set on defense, which might mean fewer opportunities for Curry PUJIT threes.
Seerat Sohi, (@DamianTrillard): Maaybe. The Warriors are thin down low, so neutralizing Jordan will be a priority. But they’re also thin down low; the last thing they’d want is foul trouble. It’ll only happen if DJ is playing so well that it’s necessary, and it’s going to be a “Nemanja Nedovic coming into the game to tug at Jordan’s shorts” brand of obvious.
2. Where does Mark Jackson fall in the NBA head-coaching rankings?
Katz: He’s probably hanging out with Malcolm somewhere in the middle. Jackson’s reputation seems to have him on either end of the spectrum. Some say he’s one of the best. Others get annoyed with his isolation and post-up heavy offense. In reality, though, he’s an above-average defensive coach and his players appear to adore him. There are still a bunch of positives.
James: Somewhere in the middle. There’s a lot working against him – odd lineup preferences, a predilection for deriding his players through the media, bland offensive sets, a mutinous relationship with assistant coaches, a glut of home losses to inferior teams. That said, with the exception of Andrew Bogut, this team seems to love him. And their improved defense gives them a shot at winning every night. He has to get some credit for that.
Sohi: Middle-ish of the back. His lineup decisions are disagreeable, he’s at the room of some front office drama and the Warriors’ sets can be uninspiring. Plus, the man doesn’t make himself easy to like. But he’s galvanized a locker room and is the first coach with the gusto to let Stephen Curry play through his mistakes and become the player he is today. For a coach backed into a corner, Jackson has the right allies.
3. How deep does Doc Rivers go with his rotations this afternoon?
Katz: Nine deep, which is a bunch of rotation players for a postseason. Realistically, we probably won’t see much Glen Davis. With Andrew Bogut out, the Clippers are going to be able to go small against Golden State, so Danny Granger at the four seems like a distinct possibility. Sprinkle in a few minutes from Davis with regular time from Crawford and Collison and you’ve got your bench unit set.
James: Ideally, it’s an eight- or nine-man rotation. The starters, plus Jamal Crawford, Darren Collison, Glen Davis, and “fill in the blank here.” You can probably fill that blank with Hedu Turkoglu, the freshest available forward, though I wouldn’t be shocked to see Jared Dudely or even Danny Granger if he’s ready to play. P.S. 2014 Dudley remains one of this year’s great mysteries.
Sohi: I’d go with… the starters + Glen Davis + Danny Granger + Darren Collison + Jamal Crawford. The Clippers can play small to their heart’s content as long as Andrew Bogut is on the bench.