Fast Forward: Energy essential to Warriors' survival

Fast Forward: Energy essential to Warriors' survival
May 1, 2014, 1:30 pm
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Stephen Curry is on pace to become the all-time leader in made three-pointers; he has 905 through five seasons. (USATSI)

KEYS TO THE GAME:

1) Box the bigs. The Warriors have lost three games in the series, each time with Blake Griffin and/or DeAndre Jordan as a catalyst.

2) Start fast. Early productive energy, at both ends, generates momentum the crowd can carry.

3) Handle with care. Turnovers have tortured the Warriors, leading to demoralizing transition lobs for the Clippers.

Programming note: Coverage of Game 6 between the Warriors and Clippers begins tonight at 6:30 p.m. with Warriors Pregame Live, only on Comcast SportsNet Bay Area (Channel locations)

OAKLAND -– The Warriors seem peculiarly calm for a team 48 minutes away from being eliminated from the playoffs.

That's because they consider themselves 96 minutes away from advancing.

As they prepare for Game 6 of their first-round series against the Clippers on Thursday night at Oracle Arena, the Warriors insist it would be premature to bury their season.

And, yes, some of the belief stems from being at home.

"It's definitely a better situation, get that first win at home and do what we've got to do in Game 7," point guard Stephen Curry says.

[RELATED: Point guard battle: Curry holding his own with CP3]

"This mentality is similar to Game 4,'' forward David Lee said, referring to the team's rousing 118-97 win last Sunday. "We'd lost the previous game, we were home and if we had gone down 3-1, it would have been very, very difficult for us to win the series."

"Game 4 technically wasn't a must-win, but it was as close to it as you can get."

Game 6 is a must-win in the competitive sense insofar as a Warriors loss would send them into the offseason. The teams split the previous two games in Oakland, while Los Angeles has won two of three at the Staples Center, including Game 5 on Tuesday.

Both teams believe there is plenty of residue from the explosive audio tape of Clippers owner Donald Sterling, whose racist comments prompted NBA commissioner Adam Silver to ban Sterling from league activities.

For the Warriors, though, this is reduced to trying to save their season, trying to pull off an upset for the second successive postseason.

[RELATED: Warriors' Thompson expresses support for Jackson]

"It is important for us to realize the things we've done to win two games, and the things we’ve to lose three games," Warriors coach Mark Jackson said. "It's important for us to have tremendous game-plan discipline, to execute and take care of the basketball. When we do those things, the evidence shows that we wind up winning ballgames."

Both Warriors victories were a result of balanced efforts on offense and defense, with an emphasis on ball movement on offense and utilizing defense to spark transition baskets.

The most essential ingredient, though, is rather basic: energy.

"It helps playing at home," guard Klay Thompson said. "Just to play every possession one at a time, and we would could out being the aggressor and just play as hard as you can."

MATCHUPS TO WATCH:

David Lee vs. DeAndre Jordan -- Lee has to find his midrange jumper on offense and keep Jordan the glass on defense to offset the big man's athleticism and energy. Jordan's eagerness sometimes works against him.

Draymond Green vs. Blake Griffin -- The other half of the league's most athletic frontcourt duo, Griffin this season pushed his way into the second tier of MVP discussion. Green is undersized but has shown an ability to keep Griffin from dominating.

Steph Curry vs. Chris Paul -- Through six games, this battle has been fun to watch. Two very different point guards, each performing through highs and lows. The difference is that Curry is the better bet to take over a game. He may have to in Game 6.

KEEP AN EYE ON:

David Lee did exactly promise to be better, as he did prior to Game 4, but he conceded being unable to offset Jordan in Game 5. Let's see if he can bounce back.

INJURY REPORT:

For the Warriors, C Andrew Bogut (fractured rib) and C Festus Ezeli (right knee surgery rehab) remain out indefinitely.

The Clippers list no injuries, but F Hedo Turkoglu left Game 5 with a lower back contusion and did not return. F Danny Granger played five minutes in the first half but sat out the second, wearing ice packs around both knees.

WHAT'S NEXT:

Game 7, if necessary, is scheduled for Saturday at Staples Center.

 

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