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Monday NBA playoff previews: Expect a different looking Clippers/Warriors game.

Apr 21, 2014, 8:00 AM EDT

Blake Griffin, Darren Collison, DeAndre Jordan Blake Griffin, Darren Collison, DeAndre Jordan

Two Game 2s on the docket for Monday night. Here’s what to look for.

Memphis Grizzlies at Oklahoma City Thunder (Thunder lead 1-0). Oklahoma City is not going to get a soft first half from the Grizzlies where OKC can race out to a big lead like it did in Game 1. Expect this to be a meaner, more physical Memphis team from the opening tip. Memphis knows it doesn’t have the offensive weapons to dig out of a big hole and win against the Thunder, they instead are going to try to grind this game down.

Memphis needs a better outing from Zach Randolph, who was rushed and pressured by Serge Ibaka (Randolph had 21 points but on 21 shots). Also expect a healthy Tayshaun Prince for Memphis (he practiced Sunday)… who still should give way to Tony Allen early (he was the best Memphis player Game 1). Memphis also needs much more out of their role players — Beno Udrih, Mike Miller and Courtney Lee were no help in Game 1. That lack of depth was a big issue in Memphis not being able to maintain their third quarter run.

You know Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook will put up numbers again for OKC, but they need another high energy game out of Serge Ibaka and another rock solid steady game from Caron Butler (who played 31 minutes in Game 1). Ibaka was flying all over the place protecting the rim (he had four blocks) and he helped even the balance with the Grizzlies in the paint. He needs to do that again, if the Grizzlies own the paint completely they win.

Golden State Warriors at Los Angeles Clippers (Warriors lead 1-0). Don’t expect Game 2 to look like Game 1. Blake Griffin will play more than 19 minutes (he was limited by foul trouble). Stephen Curry will have more than 14 points on 16 shots. Chris Paul will not have six turnovers and he will make better decisions late. The referees won’t call the game as tight (we can hope, in particular Griffin and Andre Iguodala picked up ticky-tack fouls that shouldn’t be fouls in the playoffs). Both teams were sloppy in the final couple minutes. We will see if any or all of that changes the outcome, but the game will look and feel different.

For the Clippers, they need more from Griffin who must dominate David Lee. They also need more consistent defense — they trapped Stephen Curry on the pick-and-roll but he did a good job finding the open guy, look for a coverage change from LA. Finally Los Angeles needs a lot better production from their bench — Jamal Crawford, Darren Collison and Danny Granger combined to shoot 5-of-26. There is pressure on the Clippers — go down 2-0 at home and they are likely not advancing. (There is already pressure with this loss, they haven’t won at Golden State since Christmas Day 2011, that now has to change.) Golden State needs another big game from Klay Thompson to go with what we can expect as a much better game from Curry. Another quality Draymond Green outing wouldn’t hurt.

  1. ProBasketballPundit - Apr 21, 2014 at 12:10 PM

    If Blake gets a foul on the first possession I expect Doc Rivers to sit him until the 4 minute mark in the 1st quarter. And if he doesn’t commit any fouls until the last 3 minutes, when he commits all six and gets ejected I expect Doc to sit him at least for the first half of Game 3… or maybe he’ll retroactively bench Blake in the first half of Game 2 to prevent him from missing any time. Because benching a player is the perfect strategy for preventing missed time. Wait…

    • Wammy Giveaway - Apr 21, 2014 at 12:47 PM

      Griffin is too foul prone in the playoffs. Last season, he was 5.5 per 36 minutes from 3.8 in his playoffs debut. Right now, he’s sitting at 11.4. If these foul issues continue, expect Doc Rivers to make a starting change.

    • ProBasketballPundit - Apr 21, 2014 at 5:42 PM

      I realize my post doesn’t make a lot of sense so I’ll be more terse: I hate when coaches bench their players due to foul trouble. By doing it coaches are subjecting their star players to silly math games. The upside: you’ll probably have the player at the end of the game. The downside: being afraid of losing a player to fouls, you guarantee that which you’re trying to avoid… that you’re star player will miss significant time. Furthermore, it’s likely that the player won’t foul out despite the 2 or 3 early fouls. Sometimes fouls happen early, sometimes late. Don’t overreact and bench them because being on the bench is exactly what you’re trying to avoid.

      PS Grow some balls. Stop basing decisions on irrational fears.

  2. imakcds - Apr 21, 2014 at 12:49 PM

    Punk…errr… Blake Griffin shouldn’t even be playing in this game for his Bieber like attitude in deliberately dumping that water on a fan. Just as offensive is his ‘Who, me?’ denial.
    But that has how he has defined his career, more so than the amazing high flying game he possesses.
    I do like the rest of the roster and really like their coach, but because of Griffin, I cannot root for the Clippers.

    • Dogsweat - Apr 21, 2014 at 5:49 PM

      Since you seem to be “all knowing”—- those two life partner San Francisco Warrior fans were yelling personal slurs at BG all game, and like any normal human, he had enough.

      Those two effeminate males were whining about a cup of water.

      Pathetic.

      Yes, the Warriors will be moving to San Francisco and changing their name in a few seasons.

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