LOS ANGELES – As the Warriors and Clippers settle in Monday night at Staples Center for Game 2 of their first-round Western Conference playoff series, momentum has chosen a side.
It's with the Warriors, who were able to hold off a late Los Angeles rally Saturday afternoon in Game 1 and take a 1-0 lead in the best-of-seven series.
The Warriors now want to get greedy, to try and achieve the exceedingly difficult road sweep against an opponent that, by consensus, is expected to prevail.
"This game is just as important for us as the first game was,'' center Jermaine O'Neal said. "So we have a great opportunity to do something going into our home court. We're going to try to do just that.''
Expect strategic changes on both sides. The Clippers will ask star forward Blake Griffin, who played only 19 minutes before fouling out of Game 1, to be more careful. That would allow them to give center DeAndre Jordan some occasional rest. Los Angeles also will want to do a better job of defending the Warriors' pick-and-roll, which was particularly successful in the second half of Game 1.
The Warriors will make adjustments to better exploit the way the Clippers attack Stephen Curry with multiple defenders. Curry in Game 1 had seven turnovers, some of which were created by pressure.
"Whatever way they decide to defend pick and rolls or Steph in general, we'll be prepared and we'll make the proper adjustments,'' Warriors coach Mark Jackson said during the team's shootaround Monday morning. "These guys are drilled in their habits to read and react. We'll figure out how we're being played and then go from there.''
Curry's teammates believe they should be able to take advantage of any extra attention devoted to the dynamic point guard.
"Something's going to be open,'' forward Draymond Green said. "They've got to make a decision on what shot they're willing to give up. They may play it a little different, but I think they're whole concept will be the same, to try and take Steph out of the game.''
MATCHUPS TO WATCH
Stephen Curry vs. Chris Paul. This matchup will continue to be crucial. The Warriors managed to win Game 1 with the two point guards playing to a virtual standoff. Neither was at his best, so expect both to be better.
David Lee vs. Blake Griffin. Lee recovered from a wretched start in Game 1 to win his personal battle with the Clippers power forward. Griffin fouled out in only 19 minutes, but did score 16 points, an indication of his explosiveness. Lee won the Game 1 matchup because he played 36 – and a terrific second half.
Andre Iguodala. With Klay Thompson's defense devoted to playmaker Paul, Iguodala gets L.A.'s top shooter. Iguodala fouled out of Game 1 in 20 minutes. Redick was a different player when Iguodala was on the bench. If Iguodala can stay on the court, Redick will struggle to score.
KEEP AN EYE ON:
The officiating in Game 1 was by turns tight and awful and quite good. The tightness was to be expected because the teams have a contentious history. Officials whistled 51 fouls in Game 1. Don't be surprised if that number falls.
For the Warriors, C Andrew Bogut (broken rib) and C Festus Ezeli (right knee surgery rehab) are out.
The Clippers list no injuries.