Rewind: Warriors might not have antidote for Griffin

Rewind: Warriors might not have antidote for Griffin
April 22, 2014, 9:00 am
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Anybody who knows basketball knew he was going to come out more aggressive after playing only 19 minutes. I knew he was going to come out more aggressive and it worked out for them.
Draymond Green on Blake Griffin

LOS ANGELES – As Game 2 of the Warriors-Clippers playoff series unfolded Monday night, it quickly became apparent Warriors have two massive problems, only one of which they have a reasonable chance to solve.

There's a very real possibility the Warriors will find a way to counteract the rugged, swarming defense leaving welts and lumps all over star point guard Stephen Curry.

But it's highly unlikely they will uncover an antidote to Clippers star Blake Griffin.

In the course being blown out of Staples Center, 138-98, the Warriors learned that size matters, particularly when it's accompanied by a rapidly developing skills and absurd athleticism, as is the case with Los Angeles power forward Blake Griffin.

[INSTANT REPLAY: Griffin, Clippers cursh Warriors, even series]

Too strong and athletic for David Lee or Draymond Green, and much too quick for Jermaine O'Neal or Marreese Speights, Griffin led the charge as the Clippers laid waste to a 138-98 to the Warriors at Staples Center.

"We got drilled," coach Mark Jackson said after the Clippers evened the series at one game apiece.

"We got drummed," is the way center Jermaine O'Neal described it.

And most of the drilling and drumming was done by Griffin, who scored 35 points in 30 minutes, making 13 of 17 shots from the floor and 9 of 10 from the line. It was an impressive and emphatic response to his abysmal Game 1, in which he fouled out after 19 minutes.

"Anybody who knows basketball knew he was going to come out more aggressive after playing only 19 minutes,'' Green said. "I knew he was going to come out more aggressive and it worked out for them."

Griffin showed why he has moved onto the very short list of frontcourt players for whom opponents have no simple solution. There is LeBron James and Kevin Durant and now Griffin is closing fast.

"He was making plays," Warriors guard Stephen Curry said. "He was hitting jump shots, running the lane in transition, dominating the post when he had the ball."

While Griffin was abusing his defenders, Curry was being abused by waves of Clippers determined to push or bump or grab or otherwise batter him. He was, once again, frequently double-teamed. His shot was, once again, off the mark.

Aside from a 20-point rampage in the third quarter with the Warriors down 30, Curry is 7-for-22 through the first two games of this series. Though his assists-to-turnover ratio improved, going from 7-to-7 in Game 1 to 8-to-2 in Game 2, his overall effectiveness has been minimized.

"Credit to them, they took it up another notch defensively," Curry said. "We came out with a sense of urgency, just nothing was clicking and we couldn't make enough plays early to keep ourselves in it. That's how well they were playing. From there, it was kind of a wrap."

Taking note of the half-dozen or so times Curry landed with a thud without a foul being called, Jackson pleaded with every member of the officiating crew.

The coach got plenty of ear time but no sympathy for his point guard.

Maybe the refs, too, were mesmerized by marvelous play of Griffin.

 

 

THE GOOD: Nothing to see here, other than Curry's scalding third-quarter, when he attempted what amounted to a one-man comeback that fell woefully short.

THE BAD: Griffin dominated his battle with David Lee, who in 20 minutes finished with 11 points, four rebounds and four turnovers.

The Warriors, after committing 23 turnovers in Game 1, raised the number to 26 in Game 2. Eight different players had at least two giveaways.

It had to hurt watching the Clippers veterans come off the bench and scorch the nets from beyond the 3-point arc. Danny Granger and Hedo Turkoglu (yes, he's still in the league) each fired in three bombs.

The Warriors defense never arrived, as the Clippers shot at least 50 percent in each of the four quarters.

THE TAKE: The Warriors saw the Clippers that everyone visualized winning this series. The L.A. big men, too big and too athletic for the Warriors to offset, dominated the paint – and will attempt to do it every game now. And they should be successful a high percentage of the time.

Meanwhile, there has been no clear plan to spare Curry and harassment and physical punishment he is taking. The refs aren't helping. The coaching staff has not found a solution, nor have the players.

It's only one game, but the ominous signs were many. And, moreover, solutions will be hard to come by.