In an unexpected turn of events, the Clippers have forced a Game 6 in their best-of-7 series against the Warriors. The Dubs had a perfect chance to close out the series at home in Game 5, but they were thoroughly outplayed by a fierce Clippers team. This series has looked drastically different without DeMarcus Cousins. With Game 6 played in Los Angeles, will the Warriors have the guts to respond and close the serious out on the road tonight?
 Golden State Warriors (3-2) @  Los Angeles Clippers (2-3)
Game 5 was quite a wild one as both teams combined to score 250 points. The Clippers saw great production from Gallinari, Harrell, and Williams, but that was matched by the efforts of Durant, Curry, and Thompson from Golden State. What really made the difference was how well LA shot the ball, as they finished with a 129-121 victory in Golden State. Even if the Warriors manage to close this series out, it isn’t a good look that they lost two home games in the first round.
Game 5 was Golden State’s to lose, but lose they did. Despite losing, the Warriors had a pretty great offensive showing and really only lost because of their defense. The Dubs were simply unable to keep the Clippers out of the paint, giving Montrezl Harrell free dunks and Clippers guards free lanes to the hoop all game. Defense and intensity have been Golden State’s two Achilles’ heels. They’ll need to dial in tonight before this series really gets worrisome.
- Golden State ran a fantastic offense last game. They assisted on 31 of their 43 made baskets, turned the ball over just 8 times, and shot 45% from the field. They were 15-39 (38.5%) from downtown as a team, but their three stars went a combined 13-28 (46.4%).
- Yes, the Warriors don’t really have a solid bench, but they’ve been absolutely dominated in bench scoring. They received just 17 points off the bench in Game 5, compared to a staggering 59 from the Clippers.
- Game 5 Stat Lines: Kevin Durant – 45 points, 6 rebounds, and 6 assists on 14-26 shooting. Steph Curry – 24 points, 3 rebounds, and 4 assists on 7-15 shooting. Klay Thompson – 22 points, 3 rebounds, and 2 assists on 9-20 shooting.
The Clippers are that scrappy team that just doesn’t quit. If their roster doesn’t resemble that perfectly, nothing ever will. With energy, effort, and hustle players like Trez, Patrick Beverley, and even Lou Williams, this team is built to surprise. The Clippers have played nothing short of fantastic in their two wins. Simply put, when the Big 3 of the Clippers (Trez, Lou, Gallinari) have great games, they win. That happened in Game 5, but can they do the same in another elimination game at home?
- Golden State’s offense was fantastic in Game 5, but the Clippers put on a clinic. They shot 54% as a team, assisted on 29 of 46 made baskets, turned the ball over just 10 times, and converted 92% of their free throws.
- Role players were huge in Game 5. JaMychal Green finished with 15 points and Patrick Beverley was surreal with 17 points, 14 rebounds, and 4 assists.
- Game 5 Stat Lines: Lou Williams – 33 points, 4 rebounds, and 10 assists on 12-19 shooting. Montrezl Harrell – 24 points, 5 rebounds, and 2 assists on 11-14 shooting. Danilo Gallinari – 26 points, 7 rebounds, and 2 assists on 9-22 shooting.
If this is in fact the last game of the Clippers season, massive shout out to Montrezl Harrell. He should have no competition for Most Improved Player, as he was an astounding 17th in the entire league for player efficiency rating (PER) at 23.44. Don’t forget this young man comes off the bench. What an amazing year for the forward out of Louisville.
Pick: Golden State Warriors -10.0
Let’s be honest, the only thing that could match the backlash from Golden State blowing a 3-1 lead in the Finals to the Cavs is blowing a 3-1 lead in the First Round to the 8th seeded Clippers. If we’re really thinking about it, this Clippers squad is the perfect team to do just that. Unfortunately, when you’re pulling against Steph Curry and Kevin Durant, you’re bound to have a bad time. The Warriors have been to the Finals four years in a row, but this is certainly the most vulnerable they’ve looked since. The heart says LA, but the head says Golden State. Expect Golden State to win and close the series out tonight.