Tonight is what separates the contenders from the pretenders. The Los Angeles Clippers, who lost to the Golden State Warriors on Sunday 109-105, are in desperate need of a win tonight at Staples Center. A loss tonight to the Warriors would set the Clippers on a path that almost every team in NBA history has been unable to come back from. A loss tonight would, in essence, push the Clippers season to the brink.
We all know what happened in Game One. The Clippers came out nervous and tense, the referee’s were terrible, and the team simply couldn’t close out Golden State. It happens. The Warriors are a fantastic team with two of the best offensive players in the NBA and that’s not including David Lee. The “Splash Brothers” weren’t even at peak performance on Sunday, which is a scary thought for the Clippers. The other scary thought for the Clippers is that they have two games at Oracle Arena coming up and “Roaracle”, as they call it, is one of the loudest stadiums in all of the NBA. If the Warriors get going at home the Clippers could find themselves heading to the driving range pretty quickly.
That’s what makes tonights game so important. Blake Griffin isn’t going to foul out in 19 minutes again, but neither is Andre Iguodala. Chris Paul isn’t going to miss two free throws down the stretch again tonight. Doc Rivers is going to have an outstanding game plan in place. However, if the Clippers can’t get it together and drop another game to the Warriors, this series might be over before it even gets back to Staples Center. That is what is at stakes tonight. You don’t usually have win or go home games on the second night of the NBA playoffs but we may be seeing one tonight.
I have a feeling we’re going to see a much different Clippers team tonight. It feels like this series is going to go six or seven games, which means the Clippers are due for a blowout. I see that in the cards tonight. Just know that if the Clippers don’t get it done tonight they’ll be in enormous trouble.
Prediction: Clippers 117 – Warriors 104