By Jim Williams
Special to S.F. Examiner
The Golden State Warriors are ready for the 2018-2019 NBA Playoffs and a chance to repeat as NBA campions. The showdown starts Saturday at 5 p.m. as Golden State gets set to face their foes from Southern California — the Los Angeles Clippers — in a game that will be televised nationally by ABC and seen locally on KGO channel 7.
ESPN and ABC NBA Countdown analysts Paul Pierce and Jalen Rose have seen plenty of Warriors games and they know that it will be tough for the Clippers to upset Golden State, but not impossible.
That said, both men took some time to talk with me about the series and how they see it from a national view. Rose and Pierce like the Warriors to win, but they have differing views on how.
“I think the Warriors is going to sweep them,” Pierce said. “I mean, but that’s not taking away from what Doc [Rivers] has been able to do with the team he has assembled because I know a lot of us thought, after they made the trade of Tobias Harris, that they would be a team looking to tank and possibly get in the lottery. For them to be in position in the playoffs speaks volumes of Doc’s coaching this year, and I don’t think he’s got enough credit for that. You know, they’re one of two teams that didn’t feature an All-Star in the Western Conference Playoffs, and he’s got them to this point.”
That said, Pierce thinks the Warriors should have no problems on getting past the Clippers.
“Everything else is great for them,” Pierce said of Los Angeles. “They’ve had a successful season, but I don’t expect them to win a game.”
Rose who is Pierce’s ABC/ESPN colleague has a slightly different view on how the series will playout.
“I believe the Warriors will win the series, as well,” Rose said. “I think the Clippers will at least win one game just based on the fact that they’ve got Sixth Man of the Year Lou Williams, and they’ve got guys down low that just play hard like Montrezl Harrell. [Danilo] Gallinari has had a terrific season. Shai Gilgeous-Alexander seems to highlight why this is such a deep rookie class. So like Paul said, they’ve outplayed expectations. You just flip-flopped the expectations of the Laker wins versus Clipper wins headed into the season, it’s just amazing how that happened. We know who the Warriors are, though, and I’d say Warriors in five.”
Both men think the Warriors are heading deep into the NBA Playoffs. But just who can beat Golden State and what can keep them from repeating as champions?
“With the Golden State Warriors, it’s their lack of depth,” Pierce said. “If guys get into foul trouble — this is probably the least — this is the one team that has the least amount of depth that I’ve seen out of the championship run. With Houston, I think they just — they’ve had a problem in the past with James Harden just having that one horrendous game that just at crucial moments of the playoffs to where it just really hurts them. Other than that, if he can play at an MVP level, then they have all of the ingredients, also. As far as the Eastern Conference, there’s only one team I could see beating the Golden State Warriors, and that would be the Toronto Raptors.”
Golden State fans can see the team throughout the NBA Playoffs on ABC, ESPN, TNT and locally on NBC Sports Bay Area. On the radio, you will find the games on 95.7 FM The Game and also on the Warriors app that is can be downloaded at the App store or Google Play.
If you are a Warriors fan outside the Bay Area then all the games will air on ABC, ESPN, TNT or NBA TV. Check your local listings and national radio broadcasts will be on the ESPN Radio network.
Here’s the full series schedule:
Game 1 — Saturday at 5 p.m. PT in Oakland (TV: ABC)
Game 2 — Monday at 7:30 p.m. PT in Oakland (TV: NBC Sports Bay Area and TNT)
Game 3 — Thursday at 7:30 p.m. PT in Los Angeles (TV: NBC Sports Bay Area and TNT)
Game 4 — Sunday, April 21 at 12:30 p.m. PT in Los Angeles (TV: ABC)
Game 5 — Wednesday, April 24 with time TBD in Oakland (TV: TBD) **If Necessary**
Game 6 — Friday, April 26 with time TBD in Los Angeles (TV: TBD) **If Necessary**
Game 7 — Sunday, April 28 with time TBD in Oakland (TV: TBD) **If Necessary**
Streaming the games can start with NBC Sports Bay Area they start with pregame coverage begins 90 minutes before every game of the series on the MyTeams app. Also streaming the games nationally can be done on either the ESPN or the TNT app with all apps requiring a pay TV subscription.