Insider offers a breakdown of every playoff series using an expert combination of scouting from Amin Elhassan and advanced metrics from Bradford Doolittle to answer three crucial questions. Also included are predictions from the writers and the classic Log5 formula for determining matchup probabilities.
The Los Angeles Clippers and Golden State Warriors enter this series in diametrically opposed states of mind: for Los Angeles, the team is in its comfort zone and is operating at maximum capacity; meanwhile, Golden State is dealing with the injury to Andrew Bogut and turmoil on the coaching staff following the dismissal of two assistant coaches. They split the season series 2-2, with both teams protecting the home court, but the loss of Bogut will create different matchups than we saw in the regular season. Here's what to expect from the Clippers-Warriors first-round series.
Golden State Warriors at Los Angeles Clippers
Western Conference playoffs
QUESTION 1: Can losing Bogut actually help the Warriors?
Elhassan: In a weird, convoluted way, perhaps. Although Bogut served as the defensive anchor for the Warriors' surprisingly stingy defense, his absence might force Mark Jackson's hand into playing more creative lineups, including more minutes for real plus-minus darling Draymond Green at the 4 and David Lee at the 5. The Warriors are at a distinct disadvantage up front, so their only hope of pulling this series out is to turn it into an all-out track meet and bomb 3s from everywhere. Look for Steve Blake to push Steph Curry off the ball and maybe even a Harrison Barnes revival at the 4. If Golden State tries to match up with traditional lineups, the Warriors will be annihilated.