Los Angeles Clippers vs. Golden State Warriors
Warriors lead series 1-0
April 21, 2014
7:30 p.m. PST
1. What was the biggest problem for the Clippers in their Game 1 loss?
Seth Partnow, (@WhrOffnsHppns): Blake not being on the floor. He had 16 points in 19 minutes and there’s not a player on the Warriors who has a chance against him defensively. This isn’t a whine about the refs – they called the game very tightly both ways, and Blake (and Iguodala on the other end) have to do a better job adjusting. But Blake’s mobility and ability to make plays with the ball in the middle of the floor was sorely missed, and his absence played into Chris Paul’s inability to get separation from Klay Thompson (and six turnovers) for much of the game.
Jovan Buha, (@jovanbuha): Their defensive breakdowns, particularly their backline rotations. The Clippers routinely trapped Steph Curry’s pick-and-rolls, but didn’t do a good job of recovering and were often forced into 4-on-3 situations. The Warriors made them pay, finding the open man and converting on a slew of 3s and dunks.
Law Murray, (@1maddskillz): Blake Griffin’s foul trouble, but not just for the obvious crimp it put in the team’s offense. Defensively, the Clippers need to keep some athleticism on the floor as much as possible if they’re going to be overaggressive in their perimeter defense. Glen Davis played with a lot of effort in Game 1, and his one-on-one stop of Stephen Curry was outstanding, but watching him struggle in the scramble drill wasn’t a good look. It also meant that DeAndre Jordan rarely sat, throwing the rotations through a loop. Griffin, and the entire Clippers defense for that matter, needs to be more disciplined.
2. Are the Clippers’ Game 1 defensive issues correctable for the rest of the series?
Partnow: To a degree, those struggles were a result of personnel. With Blake as the second defensive big instead of Glen Davis or Matt Barnes manning the wing instead of either a smaller, weaker defensive player like Collison, Redick or Crawford, some of those issues begin to dissipate in terms of better rotations, rim protection and defensive rebounding (a surprising failing against the undersized Dubs). And certainly, cleaner play on offense will force Golden State to work against a set D, rather than giving up open threes and layups in transition to the Warriors’ secondary players like Harrison Barnes.
Buha: Yes. They have to minimize their doubling and force Curry to try to beat them by himself. If he gets hot, so be it. Chris Paul has a better shot at sticking with Curry in pick-and-rolls than the rest of the team does defending an extra offensive player.
Murray: They certainly are. For one, they rattled Curry into a characteristic seven turnovers and kept him off the free throw line. Making the opposing point guard thoroughly uncomfortable is a good thing, especially when said point guard is the biggest offensive threat. The Clippers gave up 11 threes, and a good lot of them just came from either transition or mental lapses. Personnel and execution were issues. The scheme isn’t broken.
3. When is it excusable to dump water on someone’s head?
Partnow: Three scenarios: A) It was an accident. B) It was really hot in Staples and the gentleman in question just needs to cool off. C) It was awesome and the “victim” will have a great NBA story for the rest of his life. What? It was all of those things? Then let’s just share the awesome .gif a few more times and cool out (pun intended) with any talk of a suspension or discipline from the league. I’m sure Oracle will find a way to have some fun with Griffin in Games 3 and 4 based on The Deluge, and fun is what this is supposed to be about, right?
Buha: When they’re rooting for the opposition. Let’s clear something up: This was definitely intentional. Griffin clearly acknowledges the fans’ presence before and after Spillgate, and then also says something to them under his breathe after the deed. Impressive aim.
Murray: When you’re out of Gatorade but you still need to celebrate! I laughed at Griffin’s water works, but if the wrong person was sitting in that seat, that could have escalated into something relatively uncontrollable. We’re joking about it, but Griffin got lucky on that one. I’m generally not for testing which fan has a screw loose.