Warriors, Clippers Exciting Game 1 Reactions

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The NBA Playoffs have started.

The first game of the day on Saturday saw the Toronto Raptors give the Brooklyn Nets a 1-0 lead in the series between the 3- and 6- seeds in the Eastern Conference. The Raptors committed 17 turnovers in a seven-point 94-87 loss. It was a physical contest, marred by 42 total fouls.

However, if you thought the officials let loose with the whistles in the first game, you may have missed the second game.

Game 2 of the day featured the Golden State Warriors in Staples Center to face the 3-seed Los Angeles Clippers—two teams that don’t exactly see eye-to-eye. The officials were all over the place, with four players having three or more fouls in the first half. Blake Griffin and Andre Iguodala were both limited to 19 and 20 minutes respectively, both fouling out in the fourth quarter.

There were 51 total fouls called in the Western Conference showdown that saw Golden State walk away with a 109-105 victory. For as many calls that were made, there was plenty of physical play—much of which could have merited another blown whistle.

A prime example of a non-call, Chris Paul’s sixth and final turnover, which enabled Harrison Barnes to, in turn, get fouled and make 1-of-2 free throws to stretch the Warriors’ lead to three. Paul was clearly fouled by Draymond Green as he rounded the elbow, the resulting contact caused him to lose control of the ball as it went out of bounds.

Over the course of the final 13 seconds, Golden State missed 3-of-4 free throw attempts, Los Angeles just couldn’t capitalize. It was a compelling and exciting game to watch.

Many in and around the league were watching as well.

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SH Blog: David Lee defends his case as a good player for Warriors, Bogut seemingly has higher praise for Green than Lee

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DavidLee1SHThere has been plenty of drama surrounding the state of the Golden State Warriors for the past month or so, mostly involving the front office and the coaching staff.

Will there be some new drama when their injured starting power forward makes his return at some point this season? Tim Kawakami of Mercury News has long been an advocate of the idea of not over-utilizing David Lee, and his recent article suggests that the defensive-minded Draymond Green may need more playing time – even if it means at the expense of Lee. Most that watch the Warriors on a regular basis would probably agree with that notion – yours truly included –  but Mark Jackson has never accepted the idea of bringing Lee off the bench or playing him anything less than 35 minutes in most games.

At the same time, Green has been such a phenomenal player (although you’d never know it from looking at his stats alone) for the team, and it has come to recent attention that he actually fits in quite nicely with the starting unit. There have been no holes on the defensive end, and Green’s ability to set bruising screens (yes, they are more effective than Lee’s screens) against the opposition has really helped open things up for the offense. Green can also guard multiple positions, space the floor better than Lee,  and is also more of a willing passer (at least partly due to his own ineptitude in getting his own shots) and a really good one at that, so it appears to be within reason to wonder what really happens when Lee returns. 

Nowitzki, Conley, Dragic, Stoudemire key for NBA Teams Chasing Final Playoff Spots

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With one week left in the NBA regular season, the pressure is on for two Eastern Conference teams and four Western Conference teams fighting for the final playoff spots. Millions will intently watch what transpires over the next seven days as teams face must-win games, and the effort and intensity pick up.

Each of these half-dozen teams have a player who will greatly impact the fate of their clubs the rest of the way.

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Tweet of the Night: Tim Kawakami says Curry and Jackson had extended session in locker room after ugly loss to Cavaliers

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Stephen CurryThe Golden State Warriors sure have been an unpredictable bunch this season, and that’s usually not a good thing when you’re talking about a team that’s supposed to be considered one of the more dangerous teams in the league.

They have struggled with inconsistencies for various reasons, be it injuries, lack of bench production, or simply failing to execute the way they are capable of doing when the going gets tough. The advanced stats will tell you that they are the third best defensive team in the league (they have been there for much of the season), but that won’t explain how they simply have long, critical stretches where the defense simply disappears and cannot stop anyone.

SH Blog: Lacob finds some of Warriors’ struggles disturbing, Raptors likely to keep Lowry

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Steph CurryBefore the season began, much hype surrounded the possibilities of a revamped Golden State Warriors lineup.

They locked up Andrew Bogut to a reasonable deal (although some initially disagreed with the size of the contract), signed Andre Iguodala and brought in useful veterans like Jermaine O’Neal and Marreese Speights. They also had Stephen Curry coming off an incredible playoff run and looking to become a legitiate superstar in the league. Heading into the All-Star break, they expected to be better than 31-22 and eighth in the Western conference, which is where the team currently stands.

General manager Bob Myers has already made one trade, acquiring the services of Jordan Crawford and MarShon Brooks while giving up on Toney Douglas, who failed to play a significant role off the bench through the first half of the season. Based on some of the team’s struggles this season – particularly on the offensive end – Myers is likely not done shaking up the roster. According to Sam Amick of USA Today, the Warriors are aggressively involved in the market as the trade deadline approaches: 

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