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            === Clippers, Warriors renew rivalry in the playoffs ===
 (  - If  there  are  two bloodsport  rivals  in the  Western
 Conference,  it has  to be the Los Angeles Clippers and Golden State Warriors,
 powers  of the  Pacific  Division, who  meet at  the  Staples Center  Saturday
 afternoon in Game 1 of the quarterfinals.
 There  have been fistfights, elbows to throats, ejections, claims of "cowardly
 basketball," and old-fashioned physical play.
 That was all just on Christmas night!
 Actually,  three of  the four regular-season meetings in 2013-14 featured some
 sort of physical altercation.
 "Not to hype it up at all, but there is no love lost between these two teams,"
 Warriors  forward David Lee  said after a Golden State loss to the Clippers on
 March 12.
 But, behind all of the silly pushing and shoving, lies a rivalry predicated on
 two teams that are both offensively proficient and defensively underrated.
 The  Clippers  finished first in scoring  this season, with the Warriors 10th.
 Golden  State was also  10th in opponents' scoring and LA came in 14th in that
 Los  Angeles  underwent significant  changes in the  offseason. Head coach Doc
 Rivers  was  acquired from the Boston  Celtics for a first-round pick. He runs
 the  basketball operations  and brought  in J.J.  Redick, Jared  Dudley, Danny
 Granger and Glen Davis.
 But the Clippers are run by Rivers' newest incarnation of the Big Three.
 Blake  Griffin  will most  likely finish  third in  MVP voting behind Oklahoma
 City's Kevin Durant and Miami's LeBron James. Guard Chris Paul might have come
 in  third had  he not  missed  significant time  with a  shoulder injury.  And
 DeAndre Jordan led the NBA in rebounding and finished third in blocked shots.
 It all translated into a franchise-record 57 wins.
 The  Warriors also  brought in a new,  impactful face in the form of defensive
 specialist Andre Iguodala.
 However,  the Warriors  are  built on  their backcourt  of  Klay Thompson  and
 especially  Steph Curry.  The two went 484-for-1,150 from long distance for 42
 percent.  Curry improved  dramatically as a facilitator, averaging 8.5 assists
 per  game, which ranked  fifth in the NBA. He made his first All-Star team and
 is among the game's elite.
 Head coach Mark Jackson tried to infuse a defensive mindset into the group. It
 worked  for the most part, but problem is, their top enforcer, starting center
 Andrew  Bogut, is  out indefinitely with a  broken rib. He was at the heart of
 most of the problems between the two teams.
 And  this is  a huge series for  Jackson. Reports indicate his job might be in
 jeopardy  if the Warriors  lose. Allegations are he and owner Joe Lacob are at
 odds  and,  despite leading Golden State  to a first-round upset of the Denver
 Nuggets last season, Jackson might be on the unemployment line if the Warriors
 The  two teams don't like each other as Lee pointed out, and the series should
 be physical. Keeping out of the skirmishes could be an issue for the Clippers,
 who  lost in  the first round last season, despite having home-court advantage
 over the Memphis Grizzlies.
 "Like  we've said all  season long, it's about us," Paul said. "It's not about
 them.  We have to  play our game and do what we're supposed to do and we'll be
 just  fine.  We have to  realize that each game  takes on its own personality.
 It's one win at a time."
 The  two  sides split four meetings  this season with the home team prevailing
 each time. The Warriors have dropped four of their last five as the visitor in
 this series.
 04/19 10:06:45 ET

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