Clippers-Warriors: What to watch for

Clippers-Warriors: What to watch for
February 20, 2012, 5:31 pm
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OAKLAND The Warriors are reeling some right now, havinglost three straight games, and here come the Los Angeles Clippers, led by ChrisPaul and Blake Griffin.The Clippers are currently the No. 3-seed in the WesternConference, and if you look at their team you could make a case theyre betterthan the Warriors at four out of five positions.If you go position-by-position, the Clippers would seem tohave an advantage at point guard (Paul vs. Stephen Curry), small forward (CaronButler vs. Dorell Wright), power forward (Griffin vs. David Lee) and center(DeAndre Jordan vs. Andris Biedrins).The one place the Warriors would seem to have the advantage at least matchup-wise would be at shooting guard with Randy Foye going upagainst Monta Ellis.What then, will it take for the Warriors to knock off theClippers. Here are some things to watch for on Monday night at Oracle:

Make Griffin work: The Warriors might nothave anyone individually who can match up with Griffin, at least in terms ofathleticism, but that doesnt mean they cant give him differentlooks.On offense, its up to Lee to keep Griffin off-balance andmake sure Griffin has to defend both on the interior and on the perimeter. Onthe offensive end, look for Ekpe Udoh and Andris Biedrins to try to defendGriffin at times.Because Jordan isnt an offensive-minded center, thats aplayer Lee may very well guard allowing Udoh and Biedrins, better defendersthan Lee, their shots at Griffin.Curry vs. Paul: These teams played onopening night and in that game, Paul took over in the fourth quarter. Quitesimply, he did pretty much what he wanted to do at the games most importanttime.Its up to Curry to figure out a way to keep Paul in check,particularly when and if the game is on the line. Its easier said than donebut if the Warriors want to start winning close games, theyre going to have todo a better job against the oppositions star players when thingscount.Its also up to Curry to be aggressive at the offensive end like he was in Memphis when he had 36 points on 13-for-21 shooting in orderto make Paul work at that end of the floor.Be better down the stretch: The Warriorsare a woeful 1-6 in games decided by three points or less this season. Theyveearned that record through a variety of ways: bad shot selection late, badturnovers in the final two minutes and failing to secure rebounds when they doforce a miss.Warriors coach Mark Jackson has said repeatedly that theteam learning how to win is a process. But the fact of the matter is that itdoesnt seem like the Warriors are getting any better when it comes toexecuting at the end of games.

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