2014 NBA Playoffs
Western Conference Quarterfinals Game #4
#3 Los Angeles Clippers at #6 Golden State Warriors
Clippers Lead Best of Seven Series 2-1
Oracle Arena – Oakland, California
Sunday, April 27, 2014, 3:35 pm Eastern, TV: ABC
Opening Line: Los Angeles -1 1/2
Current Line: Los Angeles -2
Opening Total: 210 1/2
Current Total: 209 1/2
Opening Money Line: Clippers -135 / Warriors +115
Opening Money Line: Clippers -130 / Warriors +110
Around 24 hours ago, the focus in the Clippers-Warriors series was on the Clippers taking control of the series with a thrilling 98-96 game three victory Thursday in Oakland to give LA a 2-1 lead. However, Saturday morning the website TMZ posted an audio recording of Clippers’ owner Donald Sterling allegedly making horribly racist comments to his half black/half Mexican girlfriend after she posted a picture of herself with basketball Hall-of Famer Magic Johnson on her Instagram account. The NBA is investigating the tape to verify it is actually Sterling on the recording. Commissioner Adam Silver has said a decision on any discipline by the league will come before Tuesday night’s game five in Los Angeles. Sterling will not attend Sunday’s game four in Oakland.
Now, the Clippers must put this massive distraction aside as they face a tough game Sunday in front of a rabid Warriors’ crowd in Oakland. After the two teams split games one and two in Los Angeles, the series moved north for the pivotal game three. Golden State stole home court with a 109-105 win in game one. The Clippers would rebound with a 138-98 rout in game two.
In Thursday’s game three, Los Angeles took an 18 point early in the third quarter. The Clippers held off a furious Warrior rally. Golden State cut the lead to 96-93 with 49 seconds left in the fourth quarter. Blake Griffin would make one of two free throws to give LA a four point lead. Golden State guard Stephen Curry hit a three pointer with 11 seconds left to pull the Warriors within a point. Clippers’ guard Chris Paul made one of two free throws to make it 98-96 with 8.6 seconds left. LA had a foul to give and used it to make Golden State inbound the ball twice. Curry missed a three at the buzzer, after some contact from Paul. Warriors’ fans wanted a foul, but the ref swallowed the whistle. It was the first win in six trips to Oakland for the Clippers. LA had not won at Oracle Arena since Christmas Day 2011 before Thursday.
Griffin had 32 points and added 8 rebounds, his second straight monster game after struggling with foul trouble in game one. Paul had a 100 degree fever earlier in the day, but scored 15 points and dished out 10 assists. Center DeAndre Jordan had 14 points and pulled down 22 rebounds. Golden State guard Klay Thompson scored 26 points to lead the Warriors. Curry scored 16 points and added 15 assists. All five Warrior starters were in double figures.
Los Angeles is coached by Doc Rivers. The Clippers went 7-3 to close out the regular season. The Clippers are 47-37-1 ATS this season and the total is 46-38-1 this season.
LA is outscoring teams 108-101. The Clippers lead the league in scoring and are #14 in points allowed. Los Angeles is shooting 47.4% from the field and 35.2% from 3 point range. The Clippers are #3 in field goal percentage and #22 in three point shooting. LA is #26 in free throw shooting at 73% from the field. Opponents are shooting 44.1% from the field and 33.2% from 3 point range. The Clippers lead the league in 3 point defense and are #5 in opponents’ field goal percentage. Los Angeles averages 43 rebounds per game and opponents average 43.7 per game. LA is #25 in rebounds allowed. The Clippers average 24.6 assists, 13.9 turnovers, 8.6 steals and 4.9 blocks per game. Opponents average 23.3 assists, 15.4 turnovers, 7 steals and 3.5 blocks per game.
Griffin averages 24.1 points, 9.5 rebounds, 3.9 assists, and 1.2 steals per game. Point guard Chris Paul averages 19.1 points, 4.3 rebounds, 10.7 assists, and 2.5 steals per game. Paul leads the league in assists and steals. He is nursing a sore hamstring, but is listed as probable. Guard Jamal Crawford averages 18.6 points, 2.3 rebounds and 3.2 assists per game. He is probable with a calf injury. Guard J.J. Redick averages 15.2 points, 2.1 rebounds and 2.2 assists per game. Guard Darren Collison averages 11.4 points, 2.4 rebounds, 3.7 assists and 1.2 steals per game. Center DeAndre Jordan averages 10.4 points, 13.6 rebounds, and 2.5 blocks per game. Jordan leads the league in rebounding and is third in blocks per game. Forward Matt Barnes averages 9.9 points, 4.6 rebounds, and 2 assists per game. He is probable with a toe injury. Danny Granger, Jared Dudley, and Willie Green will also get significant minutes. Granger has played in all three games against the Warriors, his first action since injuring his hamstring March 27.
Golden State is coached by Mark Jackson. The Warriors are 43-39-3 ATS this season and the total is 35-48-2 this season.
Golden State is outscoring teams 104-100 this season. The Warriors are #10 in scoring and #10 in points allowed. Golden State is shooting 46.2% from the field and 38% from 3 point range. The Warriors are #9 in field goal percentage and #4 in three point shooting. Golden State makes 75.3% of their free throws. Opponents are shooting 43.6% from the field and 34.4% from 3 point range. The Warriors are #4 in field goal defense and #3 in three point defense. Golden State averages 45.3 rebounds per game and opponents average 43.3 per game. The Warriors are #5 in rebounding and #20 in rebounds allowed. Golden State averages 23.2 assists, 15.2 turnovers, 7.7 steals and 5.1 blocks per game. Opponents average 20.2 assists, 14.9 turnovers, 8 steals and 4.2 blocks per game.
Guard Stephen Curry averages 24 points, 8.5 assists, 4.3 rebounds and 1.6 steals per game. Guard Klay Thompson averages 18.4 points, 3.1 rebounds and 2.2 assists per game. Forward David Lee averages 18.3 points, 9.4 rebounds, and 2.1 assists. Lee played in the last 3 games of the season after missing the previous 7 games with a hamstring injury. Forward Harrison Barnes averages 9.5 points, 4 rebounds and 1.5 assists per game. Forward Andre Iguodala averages 9.3 points, 4.7 rebounds, 4.2 assists and 1.5 steals per game. Jermaine O’Neal, Jordan Crawford, Andrew Bogut, Marresse Speights and Draymond Green will also get some minutes. Bogut leads the team in rebounds at 10 per game and blocks at 1.8 per game. Bogut is out for this series with a rib injury. O’Neal will replace him in the starting line-up. Center Festus Ezeli is out indefinitely with a knee injury and has missed the entire season. Guard Nemanja Nedovic is out indefinitely with a calf injury.
Los Angeles is 4-1 ATS after failing to cover, 21-8 in Sunday games, 5-2 against Pacific Division teams, 1-4 after a straight up win, 1-5 against teams with winning records, and 1-7 in first round playoff games. The over is 9-3 in the last 12 games in this series.
Golden State is 12-1 ATS in first round playoff games, 9-1-1 on two days rest, 6-1 overall and against Western Conference teams, 4-1 at home, after a cover, against teams with winning records, and against Pacific Division teams, 6-2-1 against teams with winning road records, and 34-15-2 after a straight-up loss. The home team is 8-2 ATS in this series. The Warriors are 5-1 ATS in the last six against the Clippers in Oakland.
Regardless of the distraction with the whole Sterling mess, Golden State still doesn’t have anyone that can stop Griffin. He struggled in game one but only because he was on the bench for most of the game with foul trouble and only played 19 minutes before fouling out in the fourth quarter. This could be a short series if Golden State doesn’t win Sunday, as they would be down 3-1 and game five is in Los Angeles. I think the Clippers win, but it should be another close game decided at the wire.