The Golden State Warriors and Los Angeles Clippers will be matched up in a Pacific Division battle in the first round. The Clippers were able to finish off the year with a 36-14 record, while the Warriors finished 31-19.
Overall, the Clippers great end captured the 3 seed in the West, and the Pacific Division Championship. The Warriors had an average end to the season, and finished 6th in the west, and 2nd in the Pacific. Against each other, the two teams split the 4 games, 2-2.
Both teams are led by great guards, Stephen Curry and Chris Paul. The match up between the two makes me nervous in favor of the Clippers. Chris Paul is a great offensive player, while Curry struggles on defense. On the other side, Curry is dynamic, but Chris Paul is still a great defender. Against each other this season, Paul averages 28 PPG and 12 APG, while Curry averages 22 PPG and 10 APG.
When Chris Paul has great stretches on offense, the Warriors will have to change their defense or put Iguodala/Klay on CP3. When this occurs, the already unfamiliar defense (Without Bogut) changes even more! This leads to Clippers already great offense becoming unstoppable and getting wide open lay ups/dunks.
Speaking of Bogut, the Warriors are set on a disadvantage going into the series with Andrew out with a broken rib. The Clippers great front court now becomes even greater, matching up versus smaller players. At times, Harrison Barnes and Draymond Green might have to drop down and try to defend Blake Griffin. With the completely unfamiliar and unfair match ups, the Clippers will have an unstoppable offense.
Overall, the only chance the Warriors have of winning will come from the three point shot. With the Clippers owning the paint, the Warriors only chance comes from the outer perimeter. The Splash Bro's, Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson, are averaging a combined 6 three pointers per game, and can easily catch fire. However, it will be very difficult for Golden State to catch fire in 4 of 7 games .
I have the Clippers winning this series.
Keys to game:
Chris Paul vs Stephen Curry - Can Curry contain Paul and vice versa?
Andrew Bogut's injury - Can the Warriors stop DeAndre and Blake?
Three point shooting - Can the Clippers stop the Splash Bro's?