LOS ANGELES – They couldn’t win a game in which they had a 31-point lead in the third quarter. Nine days later, with a chance to win the series, they couldn’t summon the necessary effort.
Who are these Warriors?
Are they ready to rid themselves of the Clippers?
The back-to-back defending champs get another opportunity to reveal themselves Friday night at Staples Center, where they face LA in Game 6 of their NBA playoff first-round series. Coverage on NBC Sports Bay Area begins at 5:30 p.m. with Warriors Outsiders, followed by SportsNet Central: Warriors Edition at 6. Tipoff is scheduled for 7.
[RELATED: How to watch Warriors-Clippers Game 6]
Though most observers expected the Warriors win in four or five games – they have a 3-2 series lead – their disregard of Los Angeles was apparent in losing Games 2 and 5, both in Oakland.
Both teams have made lineup/rotation adjustments throughout the series, and the Warriors are considering at least two for Game 6.
F Kevin Durant
F Shaun Livingston
C Draymond Green
G Klay Thompson
G Stephen Curry
F Patrick Beverley
F Danilo Gallinari
C JaMychal Green
G Landry Shamet
G Shai Gilgeous-Alexander
Warriors: C DeMarcus Cousins (left quadriceps tear) and C Damian Jones (left pectoral surgery rehab) are listed as out.
Clippers: No injuries listed.
Warriors: Steve Kerr has decided to start Livingston with the four All-Stars, rather than put Iguodala in the starting lineup. His reasoning? He wants to save Iguodala for Lou Williams, who torched the Warriors off the bench in Game 5.
Livingston played in 64 regular season games this year, but didn't start a single one. But his last career start came on January 10, 2018 against ... the Clippers.
Clippers: When Beverley is allowed to set a tone and Williams is allowed to find rhythm, LA has thrived. Expect both to play in excess of 30 minutes. If neither can impose himself, it’s a huge disadvantage for the Clippers.
Since coach Doc Rivers made a lineup change in Game 4, with JaMychal Green at center for Ivica Zubac, LA has either won (Game 5) or been in position to win (Game 4). It has improved the defense.
Gallinari played an effective 42 minutes in Game 5, and it made a difference for his team. The key now is whether he can maintain it.
Supporting players tend to play better at home, which partly explains why Gilgeous-Alexander was so productive in Game 4, scoring 25 points. If he can hang a similar number in Game 6, the Warriors can live with it – as long as Williams and Gallinari are contained.
Officials: Mike Callahan, David Guthrie, Kevin Scott. Alternate: Michael Smith.