|David Lee, PF 36 MIN | 8-13 FG | 4-4 FT | 13 REB | 3 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 6 TO | 20 PTS | +3 Lee’s playoff campaign couldn’t have gotten off to a worse start. As we’ve seen time and time again, Mark Jackson decided to start the game with numerous post-ups, and while Lee is undoubtedly the team’s best player in this area, they were unsuccessful to start the game and was a key contributor to the Clippers 12-1 advantage to start the game. It was tough to watch the Warriors offense in that first half, in large part to their 12 turnovers and limited ball movement. They looked rusty and out of sync on the offensive end, missing their big anchor down low to set screens and harvest any second chance points. Lee was getting punished inside by Blake Griffin and more specifically DeAndre Jordan, who had Lee’s shots timed perfectly and block them with little trouble (Jordan ended up with six blocks). But, Lee was a different player in the second half. As the Clippers kept trapping off the high pick-and-roll, Lee would be the recipient of passes out of that and initiate solid offense and ball movement as a result. Lee’s passing has never been in doubt, and his ability to make plays when Curry was trapped proved to be huge in the Warriors 35-27 3Q advantage. Lee began to flash inside and make plays as well as finally take advantage inside, scoring 16 of his 20 points in the 2H. The officiating was all kinds of terrible, calling ticky tack fouls, falling for the flops and halting any type of serious momentum either way throughout. But, this ended up giving the Warriors some type of advantage with Griffin in foul trouble throughout the game. Andre Iguodala had his share of trouble (although at least two of his fouls were questionable), but it went both ways, and Griffin picked up two early fouls, his fifth foul with 37.8 left in the 3Q and fouled out with :48 seconds left. Lee’s on-ball defense was great as well. Griffin is the more physical, edgier post player but Lee hung in there as well as extend out to the perimeter at times. He stayed down on pump fakes and put a body on both Griffin and Jordan throughout. Lee looked lost early but found his rhythm on the offensive end in the 2H and played solid defense in the frontcourt without his usual defensive partner in the post. An impressive turnaround.|
|Andre Iguodala, SF 20 MIN | 3-6 FG | 2-2 FT | 1 REB | 3 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 8 PTS | -13 If it’s any consolation, Iguodala looked good in his 20 minutes on the floor. He shadowed JJ Redick extremely tight, and it was most visible when Iguodala came out of the game, as Redick exploded for 12 points in the 3Q and ended up with 22 points. Iguodala wasn’t seen much on the offensive end besides a vintage Iguodala up and under layup and a dunk from an impressive outlet pass from Curry. His ball handling was missed as the Warriors struggled to move the ball at times when the offense resorted to isolations and trying to exploit mismatches instead of finding a groove through ball movement and transition buckets. At least two of Andre’s fouls were questionable, and I expect the officials to tighten up their whistle a bit as the series progresses. 51 fouls in one game is simply ridiculous. The Warriors lost their second best ball handler and best perimeter defender while the Clippers lost their best player this season for much of the game.|
|Jermaine O’Neal, C 25 MIN | 6-9 FG | 1-1 FT | 3 REB | 1 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 13 PTS | -11 JO had similar troubles early in the game, getting pounced inside and looking like he really didn’t belong on the floor. Jackson pulled him after only 4+ minutes of play and wasn’t seen from again the first half in favor of Lee at center and Mo Speights in the 2Q. But, like Lee, O’Neal came out a different player in the last half, especially in that 3Q. O’Neal was 4/4 in the 3Q for 8 points and played every second of that 3Q as well. He held his own against Jordan inside, limiting him to 0 points and four rebounds in that 3Q. JO also contributed to the Warriors impressive ball movement inside, making the extra pass when need be and finishing at the rim. The Warriors finished the game with a 48-42 rebound advantage, even with JO only grabbing three in 25 minutes. Jordan was simply too athletic for JO to block out and was taken advantage of on numerous occasions. His play in the second half was key however, and exactly what the Warriors could hope for form the 18-year veteran suddenly thrown into a starting position in the playoffs. The question now becomes how long can JO keep this up.|
|Stephen Curry, PG 45 MIN | 6-16 FG | 0-0 FT | 3 REB | 7 AST | 3 STL | 0 BLK | 7 TO | 14 PTS | +5 If you would’ve told me Curry would finish the game with 14 points and seven turnovers in 45+ minutes and the Warriors would’ve won, I probably could’ve slapped you in the face in disbelief. Give credit to the Clippers who hounded Curry off the high pick-and-roll all night, forcing him to pass out of it or try to assert himself around the defense. Darren Collison also did a fine job of shadowing the All-Star all night and never really found a rhythm offensively. Jackson insisted on force feeding Lee early, which wasn’t totally unexpected but also disheartening to see considering Chris Paul has had trouble guarding Curry in the past. Once Paul received his 4th foul, that allowed Curry a little bit more room to operate. I don’t expect Curry to be this cold throughout the series no matter what defensive sets the Clippers throw at him. You’d be foolish to think Curry can be contained for any extended period of time. Also, the fact that Curry didn’t go to the line once is laughable. It was an oddly quiet game under the bright lights for Curry, but let’s just blame the early start time. He’ll be back.|
|Klay Thompson, SG 41 MIN | 7-20 FG | 4-6 FT | 7 REB | 5 AST | 0 STL | 1 BLK | 4 TO | 22 PTS | +4 Thompson did a wonderful job on Chris Paul. Yes, Paul had 28 points, eight assists and seven rebounds in what looked like a dominant performance on paper. Thompson scored 22 points while shadowing Paul for nearly the entire game. What almost cost the Warriors was Jackson’s insistence on exploiting matchups, specifically Thompson on the smaller player, in this case Paul. With Iguodala out for much of the game, Thompson was the lone, consistent perimeter defender for the Warriors. Three of Thompson’s five assists were in the final quarter as well as 6 of his 22 points.|
Quote of the game:
I’m not supposed to be coaching, got no experience. Steph Curry’s supposed to be, you know, retired because of his ankle. David Lee was a loser. Jermaine O’Neal’s supposed to be finished. Harrison Barnes dropped in the draft. Klay Thompson, how can he be sitting with that talent at No. 11 in the draft? And then you look at Draymond Green, just a gamer, a gamer, an absolute gamer. I thought Andre Iguodala again gave us great minutes…It’s the make-up of this basketball team, and I can continue to go on and on throughout my roster. Just a bunch of guys that continue to compete and fight.” — Mark Jackson
Looking ahead: The Warriors now head into Game 2 with home court advantage and a chance to head back to Oracle with a commanding 2-0 series lead. Game 2 is set for a late start (thankfully) on Monday.
Your third quarter Warriors shot chart of the night:
Your outlet pass of the night:
Your lone Jamal Crawford field goal of the night:
And behind the line. pic.twitter.com/JzYumnLtG3
— Hardwood Paroxysm (@HPbasketball) April 19, 2014
Your Lacob look of the night:
— Ethan Strauss (@SherwoodStrauss) April 19, 2014
Your Andre foul face of the night:
Foul? WHAT FOUL? Iggy foul face. pic.twitter.com/HrsRouALnU
— Steve Noah (@Steve_OS) April 19, 2014
One of many flops from the Clippers:
Big Baby doing Big Baby things:
Your Draymond block of the night:
Your second-unit update of the night: The Warriors bench, much maligned and criticized (and deservedly so) throughout the season, saved the team on Saturday. Let’s start with Harrison Barnes, who has been the subject of most hate this season. Of course Barnes chooses the playoffs to have his best game of the season, it was just a year ago where the former Tar Heel was boggling minds with his athleticism and composure in the playoffs versus Denver and San Antonio. It’s only one game, but in just over 23 minutes of play he led the best (and most important) sequence of his career, scored 18 point and grabbed eight rebounds (with zero turnovers). He missed seven shots, but most were of the wide open variety, which are shots you don’t mind Barnes taking considering how the Clippers were hounding Curry all night. With 1:59 left in the 3Q, Barnes blocked Chris Paul’s driving layup attempt, trailed the fast break and ended up draining a three to give the Warriors a 105-103 lead. Barnes doesn’t have to be great for this team to win, but he has to contribute positively in at least one aspect of the game. His 14 points were a welcome sight, but his eight rebounds (three of the offensive) were much needed with Andrew Bogut out and Andre Iguodala in foul trouble.
He didn’t start (he probably should’ve), he only scored 7 points, but that’s just the game we’ve seen Draymond Green flourish in. To no one’s surprise, Green defended numerous Clippers, mostly in the frontcourt, but did a fantastic job at not letting any really beat him throughout the game. His best sequence wasn’t even live action, as Green hit two clutch free throws with :24 seconds left to put the Warriors up 107-105. With Andre Iguodala in foul trouble the entire game, Green and Barnes stepped up big on the defensive and with their rebounding. Iguodala’s ball handling was missed throughout the game, especially late, but that didn’t end up costing the team the game. This was another quality game from Green, who will make a solid case to start in Game 2 and beyond, but he doesn’t care. His court vision, passing, defense, rebounding and tenacity will always be there. Despite his near injury scare, Green insisted after the game his knee was fine. Never a doubt.
Can we give it up for Mo Speights? The guy has been ridiculed for most of the season but had his best half of basketball this season (not counting the Philadelphia 76ers of course) during Game 1. 6 points, five rebounds, keeping possessions alive and some high energy play in the paint at a time the Warriors needed it the most. He could’ve easily crumbled under the criticism and pressure this season but has worked hard and it paid off with some key playoffs minutes in the first half. I’m slightly surprised we didn’t see more of Steve Blake, especially after Iguodala got into foul trouble. He’s a ball handler the Warriors could’ve used when Curry was struggling and ball movement was non-existent. I expect a slight uptake in minutes for Blake in the coming games.
Hilton Armstrong has hands of stone out there, but he was able to grab a rebound in his limited time. Jordan Crawford was seen shortly in the first half and was not seen again. If he doesn’t hit his first few shots he gets taken out of the game. It’s that simple. If he’s hot, Jackson rolls with him until he feels he has to. If he’s missing, he’s a ball stopper and liability out there. We saw the latter in limited action on Saturday.
Your Blake Griffin dunk of the night:
Your point guard duel of the night:
— Jordan Ramirez (@JRAM_91) April 19, 2014
Tweets of the night:
“This ‘Save Mark Jackson’ infomercial brought to you by ABC.”
— Hardwood Paroxysm (@HPbasketball) April 19, 2014
Worst officiated playoff game I’ve ever been to
— Haralabos Voulgaris (@haralabob) April 19, 2014
Mark Jackson coached teams are always more powerful around Easter. — netw3rk (@netw3rk) April 19, 2014