GOLDEN STATE WARRIORS (53-33)
at LOS ANGELES CLIPPERS (59-27)
NBA Playoffs - Western Conference First Round
Game 5 - Series tied 2-2
Tip-off: Tuesday, 10:35 p.m. ET
Line: Los Angeles -6.5, Total: 210.5
A back-and-forth series heads back to L.A. on Tuesday night as the Clippers try to tame the “splash brothers” and take a 3-2 series lead against the Warriors.
The momentum has been swinging wildly in this series through the first four contests, and has seen two games decided by four points or less as well as two blowouts, one by each club. Golden State crushed the Los Angeles in Sunday's Game 4 as 1.5-point home underdogs, prevailing 118-97 while shooting an incredible 55.4% from the field. The Warriors were finally able to play their game that helped them into the playoffs as they drained 15-of-32 threes while forcing 19 turnovers. The Clippers could not find their rhythm, making just 33-of-77 shots (42.9% FG) and 10-of-31 threes (32.3%), while getting little contribution from starting C DeAndre Jordan or anyone on their bench not named Jamal Crawford. Golden State should feel fairly comfortable playing away from the confines of home, as it is 25-18 SU (24-19 ATS) when playing on the road this season. On the other hand, L.A. should be ecstatic to go home since it is one of the best teams in front of its fans this season, going 35-8 SU and 22-21 ATS. So far on the year, these two clubs have split their eight matchups (SU and ATS) while the Warriors hold a slight 9-7 SU edge (10-6 ATS) over the past three seasons. Bettors should be aware that Golden State usually plays very well in April, as the club is 20-6 ATS (77%) in this month over the past two seasons. Meanwhile, the Clippers are an impressive 13-2 ATS (87%) when coming off of an upset loss this season. The only injury of significance in this contest is that of C Andrew Bogut (ribs) for the Warriors, and he is expected to miss the entirety of the postseason.
Over the first three games of this series, Golden State was unable to get its long-range shooting down, hitting just 21-of-77 threes (27%). The Warriors lit it up in Sunday's Game 4 though, making 15-of-32 threes (47%), which helped them get an early lead and keep it throughout the game. PG Stephen Curry (21.8 PPG, 9.3 APG, 1.8 SPG in playoffs) took charge in the contest, tying a franchise playoff record with five threes in the first quarter and making 7-of-14 overall on his way to a near triple-double (33 points, 7 assists, 7 rebounds). He finally decided to come out and take charge in the series as he took 20 field-goal attempts in the game, his highest total so far in the postseason. SG Klay Thompson (17.5 PPG, 4.5 RPG in playoffs) fouled out of Sunday's game, but not before getting 15 points, five rebounds and five assists in just 29 minutes on the floor. He already has two performances of 22+ points in this series, and his long-range game is important in order for Golden State to have a chance. PF David Lee (14.5 PPG, 8.0 RPG in playoffs) has surprisingly not had a double-double in any of his past three games, but was very efficient in Game 4, scoring 15 points (7-for-11 FG) to go along with two steals. SF Andre Iguodala (11.3 PPG, 4.5 APG, 1.3 SPG in playoffs) hit both of his three-pointers and 6-of-8 shots on Sunday while being the main facilitator on the team with nine assists.
The Clippers had the top offense in the league during the regular season (107.9 PPG), but have failed to crack the 100-point mark in either of their past two games while shooting just 44.8% FG and 30.5% threes combined. PF Blake Griffin (26.0 PPG, 5.8 RPG, 1.5 SPG in playoffs) has been the key player in this series, and when he has scored more than 30 points, the team has won. He will need to be more involved in the next game if the team does not want to suffer another upset loss, as he took only 14 shots on Sunday, and 13 shots in Game 1, while averaging 21 attempts in the team’s wins. PG Chris Paul (17.8 PPG, 8.5 APG, 5.0 RPG, 3.0 SPG in playoffs) had only six assists in Game 4, and is averaging 4.3 turnovers per game, a much higher mark than the 2.3 TOPG that he squandered during the regular season. He has not been able to be as much of a nuisance on the defensive side of the ball in the past two games either, and after getting nine steals in the first two contests, he has just three steals in the past two games. C DeAndre Jordan (9.0 PPG, 12.8 RPG, 4.3 BPG in playoffs) had a very disappointing effort on Sunday, putting up a goose egg in the points column while taking just one shot and getting a series-low six rebounds and two blocks over 25 minutes on the floor. He was a force in the paint over the previous three games, recording five blocks in each contest. SG Jamal Crawford (14.3 PPG in playoffs) had averaged just 10.3 PPG over the first three contests in this series, but exploded for a team-high 26 points on Sunday. He was the only player off the bench to have any effect on the game as the rest of the L.A. reserves combined to score just 12 points on 5-of-19 shooting.