Last Updated: 2019-04-14
The Los Angeles Clippers kept Game 1 close for the first quarter and a half, but eventually the Golden State Warriors were too much. Golden State ended up getting the cover in a 121-104 win, but the win was somewhat overshadowed by multiple incidents between Kevin Durant and Patrick Beverley late. Both players were thrown out of the game with less than five minutes remaining, and their interactions will be something to watch in Game 2.
There are no injuries to report on the side of the Clippers, but Damian Jones will at least miss this series for the Warriors due to a torn pectoral muscle.
Golden State covered the first game in the series rather comfortably, staying ahead of the number for most of the second half, so oddsmakers believed that they needed to bump the spread up from where we saw it on Saturday. The Warriors opened as a 14.5-point favorite with a total of 230, but the line has come down since that point. The total has remained static, yet Clippers action has moved the spread from 14.5 to 13.5 and even 13 at some shops.
The Warriors were expected to dominate this series, and if Steph Curry keeps shooting like he did in Game 1, it will be a sweep. Curry became the all-time playoff three point leader after going 8-12 from beyond the arc in the first game, and he was even the game’s leading rebounder with 15 boards. Most of those rebounds went to Curry so he could immediately run the offense, a la Russell Westbrook, but he was crashing the glass in a way we didn’t see in the regular season too.
No one else hit more than two threes for Golden State. The rest of the Warriors went 6-18 from the line, but when Curry is draining triples like he was on Saturday, Golden State is going to be very difficult to beat.
If Montrezl Harrell can continue his strong play in Game 2, that will significantly help the Clippers. Harrell has been known for his defensive prowess, but he was great on the offensive end on Saturday, going 11-15 from the floor. Harrell can pose a major problem as Draymond Green is not the defender he used to be, and the Clippers are likely to keep giving him the ball.
Beverley needs to have a much better game for the Clippers to have a chance at pulling off the upset. He is an in-your-face type player that tries to get under his opponents’ skin, but he was probably just as frustrated with himself. He went just 1-6 from the floor and didn’t defend too well, with a game-worst -24 plus-minus. Beverley tried to make an impact in other ways, but what we saw in Game 1 wasn’t his best performance.
Don’t be surprised if Rivers tries to throw more bigs on the floor in Game 2. Harrell had a very good game, and JaMychal Green had some success against the Warriors too. The Clippers prefer to go small with Beverley, Lou Williams, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, and Landry Shamet all seeing plenty of minutes, but that didn’t work too well in Game 1.
I see the Clippers hanging close for even longer in this one before the Warriors eventually overcome them to get the win. Doc will tinker and try to find little advantages, and I think the Clippers will be able to get the cover.
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