Clippers-Warriors: What to watch for

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Clippers-Warriors: What to watch for

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.

Does Draymond still care about DPOY after another ring? 'At this point...'

Does Draymond still care about DPOY after another ring? 'At this point...'

OAKLAND -- Even though Draymond Green still would like to win the NBA Defensive Player of the Year award, winning a championship with the Warriors has quenched much of thirst for the honor.

“I don’t really care that much anymore,” Green said after participating in the JaVale McGee Celebrity softball game Saturday at the Oakland Coliseum benefitting the Jug Life Foundation, promoting a healthy lifestyle around water consumption.

“I cared before,” Green added. “But we won the NBA championship now. I don’t care about what happened in the regular season any more at this point. I think I would have cared if I found out in Round 1 or Round 2 (of the playoffs).

“But at this point . . . I don’t even care any more.”

This is in marked contrast to what Green expressed early in the regular season, when he acknowledged the DPOY award is the only individual award he actively cared to win.

As recently as two months ago, in discussing his defensive performance in a season during which he made numerous memorable plays, including some game-saving defensive stands, Green let his words speak on his behalf.

“It is the best defensive season I’ve had, because I’ve continued to grow,” he said at the end of the regular season. “When I look at the last couple years, I think each year I got better defensively. And I think this year I’ve gotten better. So I do think it’s my best season, defensively -- but just not numbers-wise. The numbers are up a little bit more. But I actually feel better about what I’ve done on the defensive end than I have in any other year.”

Winning a championship apparently has an impact on the significance of individual awards.

A finalist for the award for which he finished second in each of the past two seasons, Green said Saturday that his plan is to leave for New York on Sunday and be in attendance when the awards are presented Monday night.

The other finalists for the award are Jazz center Rudy Gobert and Spurs forward Kawhi Leonard, who won it the last two seasons.

All three players will be among those at Basketball City at Pier 36 in New York for the inaugural telecast of the NBA Awards on TNT.

Durant fires back at salty Thunder fans with custom cupcake hat

Durant fires back at salty Thunder fans with custom cupcake hat

Kevin Durant didn't forget about the taunts.

In February, when Durant returned to Oklahoma City for the first time as a member of the Warriors, Thunder fans heckled him with t-shirts featuring cupcakes, a reference to Durant being soft for joining the 73-win Warriors.

On Saturday, the cupcake graphic made a return with one slight change.

Durant, playing in JaVale McGee's JugLife Celebrity Softball game at the Oakland Coliseum on Saturday, showed up to the stadium wearing a cupcake hat. But instead of a cheery on top, a championship ring was superimposed on top of the cupcake.

So Durant, an NBA champion, got the last laugh.