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The Grip's NBA Playoffs Round-up 4.19.19 [Western Conference]

[1] Golden State Warriors vs. [8] LA Clippers

Game One: Warriors 121, Clippers 104 Game Two: Clippers 135, Warriors 131 Game Three: Warriors 132, Clippers 105 Game Four: Warriors at Clippers, 3:30 p.m., Sunday

On Monday night, the Clippers found themselves down 31 points in the third quarter. As you have surely heard, they ended up winning, 135-131, making history as the first team to overcome a 31-point deficit in a playoff game.

The honeymoon was fun, and very short. On Thursday night, Kevin Durant did Kevin Durant things, dropping 38 points and seven assists as the Warriors blew out the Clippers, 132-105, in front of a decidedly pro-Clippers crowd, which has been rare over the last four decades.

All is normal again, though DeMarcus Cousins’ quad tear in Game 2, which will likely cost him the postseason, flew a little under the radar.

That was Boogie’s second playoff game ever in his ninth NBA season, which definitely qualifies as a sports tragedy.

[READ: Examining the greatest comebacks in NBA playoff history] [READ: DeMarcus Cousins to the Lakers? Analysts begin free agency speculation]


[2] Denver Nuggets vs. [7] San Antonio Spurs

Game One: Spurs 101, Nuggets 96 Game Two: Nuggets 114, Spurs 105 Game Three: Spurs 118, Nuggets 108 Game Four: Nuggets at Spurs, 5:30 p.m., Saturday

This tweet last night from Marc Stein sank us into another dimension.

It’s true, and the Spurs, who beat the Nuggets in Game 3 behind 36 points from Derrick White, who, we repeat, played Division II basketball for three seasons, are going to beat the Nuggets, aren’t they?

Our unsolicited advice to Pop: Tank, and tank fast -- you know, like you did in 1997 to get Tim Duncan.

Us, stupid: Tank Pop, an intellectual: This D-II guy is gunna beat the two-seed in the playoffs


[3] Portland Trail Blazers vs. [6] Oklahoma City Thunder

Game One: Trail Blazers 104, Thunder 99 Game Two: Trail Blazers 104, Thunder 99 Game Three: Trail Blazers [+7.5] at Thunder, 9:30 p.m., ESPN

Here’s what Zach Lowe said on his most recent podcast about Russell Westbrook, a day after he was embarrassed by Damian Lillard in a Game 2 loss.

“They’re down 0-2. Since Kevin Durant left, Russ had a five-game loss, a six-game loss and now an 0-2 in the playoffs. I am not a hot take guy, but he’s got to start winning in the playoffs if he wants to have the stature historically that his stats suggest that he should have.”

Not much else to add.

[READ: Westbrook vows to play better after loss] [READ: The Damian Lillard experience is the sweetest show in basketball]


[4] Houston Rockets vs. [5] Utah Jazz

Game One: Rockets 122, Jazz 90 Game Two: Rockets 118, Jazz 98  Game Three: Rockets at Jazz, 10:30 p.m., Saturday

Remember when, after the regular season finale between the Clippers and the Jazz, Patrick Beverley gave Jae Crowder a crash course on defending James Harden?

He definitely meant well, but trying to contain Harden is becoming as impossible a task as there is in the NBA. Harden dropped 32 and a triple-double in another easy Game 2 victory on Wednesday and the Rockets, completely healthy for the first time all season, look really, really good. 

Rockets general manager Daryl Morey went on the Bill Simmons Podcast yesterday to talk about his shooting guard and his team's chances this season, which is definitely worth the listen

The Jazz are still a good team, but two non-competitive games in a row can mess with a psyche, and, as it turns out, the local media. 

Here's a crotchety old Utah columnist dusting off the argument that, actually, Harden is simply a gimmick. 

At least he can admit this much:

"I’m not saying Harden isn’t talented."

A strong stance, Doug. 


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