5 things: Offensive woes cost Clips against Warriors

The Golden State Warriors defeated the Los Angeles Clippers 106-98 on Sunday, but the final score was not indicative of the Warriors’ dominance through the final two-and-a-half quarters.

Here are five takeaways from the contest:

Don’t jump to conclusions just yet

It’s difficult to determine how much we can glean from this game with Blake Griffin (the Clippers’ leading scorer) and Jamal Crawford (their go-to bench option) sidelined. The Clippers have traditionally struggled at Oracle Arena over the last few years, so a blowout loss could have occurred even if Griffin and Crawford were healthy, but we can only speculate. At the same time, the Clippers don’t have a ton of depth and were forced to overplay guys who won’t be playing much, if at all, during the playoffs, so pump the brakes before over-panicking. They won’t endure many lulls like the five-minute stretch at the end of the second when they only scored five points.

The perils of playing small

The Warriors continue to expose arguably the Clippers’ biggest flaw: their lack of size on the perimeter. For a good portion of the game, the Clips deployed three players who were shorter than 6-5 — some combination of J.J. Redick, Chris Paul, Austin Rivers and Nate Robinson. Golden State, on the other hand, has an enormous wing crop, and exploited the Clippers on the offensive glass, in transition, and with post-ups. Shaun Livingston (21 points on 9-for-14 shooting) was the main beneficiary, but the Dubs’ height advantage had trickle-down effects elsewhere, as it also caused the Clippers bigs to overhelp and give up uncontested baskets inside.

RECAP: Clippers fall to Warriors, 98-106


Uncharacteristic play

Another carryover effect of the Warriors’ size and versatility is their ability to continually switch defensive assignments, which disrupted the Clips’ passing lanes and forced them to overthink. The Clippers only average 11.5 turnovers per game, the second-best mark in the league, but they turned the ball over 18 times on Sunday (14 in the second half) — including an uncharacteristic five from Chris Paul. This area, more than anywhere else, is where having Griffin and Crawford would have helped. The Clips run a more egalitarian offense without them, which is fine against certain defenses if they’re hitting their shots. Today, though, the Clips missed the unpredictability that Griffin and Crawford can cook up, which generally results in lower turnover numbers (albeit some bad shots, too).

The streak ends

DeAndre Jordan had 10 consecutive games of 15-plus rebounds heading into Sunday’s matchup, but ended up one rebound short (14) from continuing his streak. Had Jordan gotten his 11th straight 15-plus rebounding game, he would’ve tied former Detroit Pistons All-Star Ben Wallace for the most since 2002-03. The Warriors effectively negated Jordan offensively, preventing him from creating lob opportunities and limiting him to just two field goal attempts. Though he finished with 14 rebounds, Jordan had no blocks and seemed out of sorts defensively. The Clips need A-plus Jordan every game during this tough stretch, and an off-game really cost them.

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Rough first impression

Nate Robinson’s debut was unmemorable. He struggled from the floor (1-for-6 shooting), displaying some of the shot selection he’s been criticized for in the past, and was a minus defensively against such a big backcourt. In the short term, he’s insurance for Jamal Crawford. But does he have a future with the team? What will his role be? Will he take minutes away from Austin Rivers? There’s no clear-cut role for Robinson, and with several other instant-offense guys with more size already on the bench (Crawford, Rivers and Jordan Hamilton), it might not make sense for him to be on the team in April.