Clippers-Warriors: What to watch for

April 14, 2012, 4:11 pm
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The Warriors are banged up and winding down anothernon-playoff season. The L.A. Clippers are not only a lock to make the NBApostseason for just the second time in 15 years, theyre thinking abouthome-court advantage in Round 1.A win against the Warriors would further that cause. TheClippers begin play on Saturday in fourth place in the Western Conference,one-and-a-half games ahead of the Memphis Grizzlies. The Clippers seem to be peaking as the postseasonapproaches. Theyve won 10 of their past 12 games overall and eight of theirpast nine at home. Here are some things to watch for during Saturdays gamebetween the Warriors and Clippers at Staples Center:Scrappiness early: The Clippers areplayoff-bound, surging and getting healthier. They have things at stake andtheir talent level dwarfs the Warriors heading into this one.It seems the only way for the Warriors to stay competitiveis to stay competitive in the first six minutes. And without Stephen Curry,David Lee, Andrew Bogut and Richard Jefferson that seems like a tallorder.Lets see if the Warriors can hang in early.Tylers game: Rookie center Jeremy Tyleris in a very tough spot on Saturday. Hes a young and inconsistent player andnow finds himself without Lee, his more superior frontcourt mate.Not to mention, the Clippers throw one of the most athleticfront lines in the NBA at you with DeAndre Jordan at center and Blake Griffinat power forward. And after them its Reggie Evans, the bruiser.Warriors coach Mark Jackson could keep Tyler as the startingcenter and make Dominic McGuire the starting power forward. Or Jackson couldplay Tyler at power forward in place of the starter, Lee and use himalongside Mickell Gladness or Andris Biedrins.Regardless, Tyler is going to face some real challengesagainst the Clippers.X-factor: Small forward Caron Butler getsplenty of offensive opportunities playing with Paul and Griffin. Hes still asolid player, and when hes playing well, the Clippers are more difficult tobeat.If Dorell Wright can find a way to outplay Butler, it wouldbe one small step in the direction of winning.

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