NBA 2018-19: 3 reasons why LA Clippers could eliminate Golden State Warriors
While the Houston Rockets wait for the Golden State Warriors to kick off round 2, the Warriors are not even sure of when and if they'll make it. After their game 5 loss to the Clippers - which was their first back-to-back playoff home loss since 2016 NBA Finals - the series that many projected to be a clean sweep now stands at 3-2 (in Golden State's favour) heading back to LA for Game 6.
Only once in their eight playoff series since Kevin Durant's arrival in 2016 have Golden State needed more than five games to win. This is clearly unfamiliar territory for them.
Despite Durant playing 42 minutes (his highest since January) and dropping a playoff career-high 45 points in Game 5, the Warriors lost 129-121 in front of a packed Oracle crowd.
“We have to realize that this year’s different,” Stephen Curry said. “There are different challenges. Whether it’s human nature, whether it’s talent of the competition we’re playing, the way the league’s changed with different lineups out there — everything’s different, and you have to adapt."
Clearly, the Warriors have not been themselves for quite some time now. And losing two games to an eighth seed in the playoffs has just magnified all their flaws and put them under the microscope for the rest of the way.
Here we list the three prominent reasons why the pesky Clippers might just be able to pull off the biggest upset in recent times.
#1 The Warriors' defense is an issue they haven't figured out yet
GSW allowed the visitors to score 135 and 129 points in two losses on the home floor, something that was quite hard to comprehend. In both these games, the Clippers shot at least 54% from the field and handed the high-headed Warriors shocking Ls.
"The playoffs are all about defense, and we just did not defend. We didn't fight," coach Steve Kerr said after the game 5 loss. "We gave up 129 points, and they shot 54 percent on our home floor. We seemed to take it for granted that we were going to be OK."
Everyone - including the whole Clippers camp - is aware of the fact that GSW possess arguably the best offensive set in the league. But that is not where LA are trying to beat them in the first place.
The intensity of Pat Beverley and Montrezl Harrell to secure their rim has been a major force in tipping the scales. Golden State have failed badly at stopping their opponents from scoring at pivotal moments or in clamping down on the multi-faceted offense that LA bring to the table.