1: The Los Angeles Clippers – Prediction: Warriors win series 4-3
The Clippers are the NBA’s version of the awkward red headed stepchild that lost a bunch of weight and started dating supermodels to compensate. Like it has with thousands of insecure adults borne of terrible childhoods, the City of Los Angeles has adopted the Clippers as one of its own, ignoring a 30-year tradition of pretending Donald Sterling’s bastardized franchise didn’t exist.
Los Angeles had a great year by just about any standard. Although they failed to truly capitalize on an early 17-game win streak, they did seal the franchise’s first ever Pacific Division title, a feat that is as remarkable as it is overwhelmingly sad. Unfortunately for the Clippers, their newfound success crested with that of the Warriors, and the Warriors came out on top.
Golden State won the regular season series against the Clippers 3-1, thanks in no small part to Los Angeles’ weak perimeter defense and some uncharacteristically poor performances from points Chris Paul. Opponents shoot a blistering 37.4 percent against the Clippers from beyond the arc, which is where the Warriors’ backcourt combination of Curry and Klay Thompson tend to do the most damage.
Golden State can couple that outside shooting by using David Lee to draw defenders down low, where mediocre interior defenders DeAndre Jordan and Blake Griffin struggle to contain skilled big men.
The Warriors would have a lot to work with in a first round series in Los Angeles, but unless the Nuggets fall two games in the standings over the next week, we probably won’t get to see what would have been a very fun matchup against the two former doormats of the Western Conference.