Game two on Monday night was one that the Golden State Warriors would like to soon forget. From the time the ball was tipped, the Los Angeles Clippers were in control and never relinquished that even slightly as they rolled to a 138-98 victory to even their first round series in the 2014 NBA Playoffs at 1-1.
Everything that couldn’t happen for the Warriors against the Clippers did on Monday night. Klay Thompson couldn’t get anything going offensively, the Warriors couldn’t buy a shot from long-range, the Clippers couldn’t miss from long-range, and David Lee was problematic on both ends of the floor. Despite all that went wrong and the devastating loss, it’s not what Golden State needs to focus on as the series heads to ORACLE.
If you’re the Warriors, you have to shift your focus onto what they did right in their game one win and also focus on the positive of stealing a game in Los Angeles to start the series. They can’t become demoralized by the big loss in game-two, but instead must recover and get back to what found them success in game one.
One of the biggest things the Warriors have to be able do is limit the good looks the Clippers get from three. L.A. shot 12-25 from deep in game two with seven players knocking down shots from deep. While the Clippers shot 10-22 from three in game one, Golden State was able to limit the full attack as only three players knocked down shot from long-range on the evening.
Also on the agenda for the Warriors as they move forward is to get Thompson and Lee flowing offensively. In game one the duo combined for 42 points while they combined for a mere 18 in the blowout loss. While Lee’s defense is an issue against Blake Griffin, he can somewhat counteract that by being a factor offensively. If he’s not, the Warriors are at a severe disadvantage.
Arguably the biggest thing the Warriors could use going forward, though, is out of their control. Griffin played just 19 minutes due to foul trouble in game one, which was monumentally important for Golden State in their victory. While they can’t hope for Griffin to be in foul trouble every game, they have to find creative ways to defend them that also doesn’t leave them vulnerable to the three-ball.
Obviously a team that’s as dependent on jump-shooting as the Warriors is susceptible to having bad nights like on Monday, but that’s not the whole problem. Golden State can’t get discouraged and has to try and play their game moving forward and not play into L.A.’s hands. If they aren’t able to do that, the 40-point loss might be the start of a rough rest of this series.