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Game 2 Preview: Warriors vs. Clippers

Golden State Warriors
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DEFEND WARRIORS GROUND
A clear tone was set after Game 1 of of the best-of-seven series between the Warriors and Clippers, and though they came away with the win, the Dubs will look to improve in certain spots to prepare for Game 2. Stephen Curry and Kevin Durant continued their season-long strong play over Los Angeles, yet Klay Thompson, who struggled against the Clippers during the season, did so once again Saturday finishing with 12 points on 5-of-14 shooting. Additionally, the Warriors handed the ball over early with several uncontested, easy turnovers in some communication miscues. Yet after posting multiple scoring runs and a group effort in out-rebound the Clippers in Game 1, the Warriors hope to have a repeat performance of their strong team play Monday evening.

LAST TIME OUT
The Dubs downed the Clippers in the first game at home 121-104. Curry made eight shots from beyond the arc, passing Ray Allen for the all-time NBA record for career threes made in the playoffs, en route to 38 points. Durant also added 23 points to go with three blocks for the team. » Full Recap

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MATCHUP AT A GLANCE

GSW LAC
57-25 48-34
1st in West 8th in West
PTS: 117.7 (2nd) PTS: 115.1 (5th)
REB: 46.2 (11th) REB: 45.5 (13th)
AST: 29.4 (1st) AST: 24.0 (18th)

A LOOK BACK AT THE REGULAR SEASON
The Warriors finished the 2018-19 regular season with a 57-25 record (.695), including a 27-14 (.659) mark away from home for the best road record in the West. The Dubs won six of their last seven games and secured the top seed in the West at the start of the final week of the regular season. As a team, the Warriors led the NBA in offensive rating (114.9 points per 100 possessions), field goal percentage (49.1), assists (29.4 apg) and blocks (6.4 bpg), and they were also top five in points, 3-pointers made and 3-point percentage. The No. 1 seed for the fourth time in the last five seasons, the Dubs became the first team since the St. Louis Hawks in 1962 to have the same trio of players average more than 20 points in consecutive seasons. Stephen Curry (27.3 ppg), Kevin Durant (26.0 ppg) and Klay Thompson (21.5 ppg) hit that mark this season, and Draymond Green ranked among the league leaders in assists. Additionally, DeMarcus Cousins made his Warriors debut in January, making the Warriors the first team since the 1975-76 Celtics to have five All-Stars from the previous season in the starting lineup. The Dubs went 18-3 with that All-Star lineup, which figures to be the team’s main starting lineup in the postseason.

LAST GAME’S STARTERS
GSW: Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, Kevin Durant, Draymond Green and DeMarcus Cousins
LAC: Patrick Beverley, Landry Shamet, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Danilo Gallinari and Ivica Zubac

INJURY & ROSTER NOTES
GSW: Damian Jones (left pectoral surgery) is out. Team Notes
LAC: TBD. Team Notes

FAMILIAR FOES
Since the start of the 2014-15 campaign, the Warriors have gone 17-3 against the Clippers, winning at least three of four games in each season. This season, the Dubs have shot 48.9 percent from the field and 32.4 percent from beyond the arc against the Clippers, well below the Dubs’ overall season averages. But the Clippers didn’t completely slow down the Dubs, as they scored at least 112 points in each game. Stephen Curry averaged over 32 points in his three games played vs. the Clippers this season, including a 42-point effort on Dec. 23 at home. In addition, Kevin Durant has stuffed the stat sheet against the division rival, averaging 27 points, 8.5 rebounds, 6.8 assists and 2.0 blocks. Defensively, the Dubs forced the Clippers into 18.0 turnovers per game over the four games in the regular season series.

TEAM LEADERS

GSW LAC
PTS: Curry (27.3) PTS: Williams (20.0)
REB: Cousins (8.2) REB: Zubac (7.7)
AST: Green (6.9) AST: Williams (5.4)

L.A. CLIPPERS SCOUTING REPORT
After a red-hot March in which they went 13-2, the Clippers lost three of their last four games of the regular season to finish tied for seventh place with a 48-34 record. And by losing their tie-breaker with the Spurs, Los Angeles occupies the eighth seed and gets a postseason date with the Dubs. That the Clippers came within two victories of a 50-win season was a bit of a surprise, especially after the Clippers traded their best player, Tobias Harris, in February. But the Clippers rallied behind a balanced roster filled with production from a mix of veterans and young players. The Clippers were the fifth highest scoring team (115.1 ppg) in the NBA this season and ranked second in 3-point percentage (38.8), although they did attempt the third fewest amount of treys. While Danilo Gallinari played arguably his best basketball of the season, averaging career-bests in scoring, rebounding and 3-pointers, the Clippers’ greatest strength is their bench. Lou Williams is seemingly an annual candidate for Sixth Man of the Year, and this year he leads the club in scoring with 20.0 points per game. He has competition from his own teammate for that honor, as Montrezl Harrell’s effort and energy have resulted in 16.6 points and 6.5 rebounds per game this season. Additionally, the rookie backcourt duo of Landry Shamet and Shai Gilgeous-Alexander have shown great improvement throughout the season and big man Ivica Zuback has picked up his scoring and rebounding since his midseason trade from the Lakers.

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