The Golden State Warriors’ defense of their crown is going about as well as could be expected. With the exception of a courageous and valiant effort by the Los Angeles Clippers in game two, the defending champs have absolutely been rolling through their first round match-up.
While one shouldn’t necessarily count out the underdogs just yet, the chances the Clippers pull off the ultimate upset are slipping away. As the teams head for game four today (3:30 PM ET Sunday live on ABC), Los Angeles faces an uphill battle against Golden State if they hope to remain in the postseason.
There are no ifs, ands or buts about it, the Golden State Warriors are in a class all of their own. The team, which has absolutely dominated the rest of the NBA for the better part of the last five years, is one of the greatest dynasties the sport has ever seen. Built from the draft and further reinforced with some of the top free agents in the game, the Warriors have almost made 70-win season and NBA championship-runs look easy. Since 2015, Golden State has won the title three times, including each of the past two seasons. The only year they didn’t win, 2016, they still reached the finals.
Defeating the Warriors is no easy task because there are so many ways the team can beat you. In game one, which was won by Golden State 121-104, the Warriors dominated thanks to their starting five with each member scoring at least nine points. Both Kevin Durant and Stephen Curry topped the 20-point mark as Curry led all scorers with 38 points in 37 minutes, adding 15 rebounds as well. Curry is a 190-poiund, 6’3 point guard, who averaged just over five rebounds per game during the regular season. So for him to get 15 and completely own the glass the way he did, certainly didn’t buy the Clippers any favors.
Golden State’s top-notch play continued into game two as the Warriors outscored the Clippers by 23 points after the first two quarters. It seemed like the two-time defending champs were off to another rout but the Clippers showed real guts as they fought back in the midst of a collapse from the Warriors unlike anything we’d seen from the team before. Golden State’s struggles opened the door for an incredible comeback run, complete with the Clippers scoring 85 of their 135 points in the second half. The biggest contributors to the team’s success came in the form of the bench, who combined to list the team’s two highest scorers of the night in Montrezl Harrell (25 points and 10 rebounds) and Lou Williams (36 points and 11 assists). The Warriors got bench production as well but overall were well outscored in that area by the Clippers.
The same result wasn’t going to happen again in game three. The difference between good and great teams are that great teams always find a way to win, no matter the circumstances. Golden State is no doubt a great team and has been for a long time. They know how to make adjustments and in game three, the team did just that. Dominant on both the offensive and defensive ends, the Warriors opened game three on a scoring flurry and ended up going into the second quarter with a 17-point lead. That margin only grew to 21 after two and 29 after three. Golden State never trailed as they took the series back in a way that made a powerful statement. LA may have pulled off a stunner to win game two, but this series was and still is, the Warriors’ to win. When the dust settled, Golden State stood victorious, 132-105.
One game’s shocking meltdown aside, the Warriors have looked every bit like the team that entered this postseason as the favorite with the USA sports betting firms to win their third NBA championship in as many years. The team simply has no weaknesses, sitting in first place among all playoff teams in points per game (128), assists per game (32.3), shooting percentage (52.5) and three point shooting percentage (43). Both Curry and Durant, the league’s best one-two punch, average over 27 points per game.
Our Betting Preview’s Golden State Warriors vs Los Angeles Clippers Predictions & Picks Verdict
The Clippers will hope to even the series here but after Golden State shut the door on their first round opponents in game three, it seems we could be looking at the end of this series coming sooner rather than later. The momentum LA used to rally back from an NBA playoff record 31 points in game two seems long gone as Golden State has taken charge and put their foot on the gas pedal ever since. It doesn’t seem they will be relenting anytime soon either. Right now, Golden State is too much for LA, who has struggled from their starting lineup to put up any consistent scoring output.
- Look for the Warriors to make quick work of the Clippers in game four -9pts on the spread @ best odds of -110 with BetOnline or Intertops. It is -9.5pts with Bovada, while Bookmaker go -9pts at -115.
- As for the total points to be scored in this game 4 NBA playoff matchup, this series has been pretty high scoring and that is another trend that will most likely continue. Look for the over 235pts @ -110 with Bookmaker or Intertops, as the Warriors get one step closer on their quest for the threepeat.
Marilee writes on NFL, MLB, NBA & tennis for USA Betting. Another area of her sporting journalistic expertise is pro wrestling. A native of Philadelphia and a big Eagles fan, she has been a sports writer for many major websites including Bleacher Report and Rant Sports. She started her journalistic career early, as sports editor for her college newspaper.