NBA playoffs 2019: Who has edge in Warriors-Clippers first-round series?

Logan Murdock
NBC Sports BayArea

NBA playoffs 2019: Who has edge in Warriors-Clippers first-round series? originally appeared on nbcsportsbayarea.com

With the Oklahoma City Thunder and San Antonio Spurs closing their respective seasons with wins, the Warriors' first-round opponent is confirmed: They'll play the LA Clippers.

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These two teams have history dating back to 2014, when Golden State took the Clippers to seven games in the first-round playoff season. It was the last series of Mark Jackson's coaching career.

Now, five years later, the No. 1 seeded Warriors are overwhelming favorites, hoping to make this series short and sweet.

Here are the biggest things to watch heading into the series. 

Projected starting lineups 

Warriors
F Kevin Durant 
F Draymond Green
C DeMarcus Cousins
G Klay Thompson
G Stephen Curry




Clippers
F Danilo Gallinari 
C Ivica Zubac
G Patrick Beverly
G Landry Shamet 
G Shai Gilgeous-Alexander




While the Clippers have a promising young core of Zubac, Gilgeous-Alexander and Shamet, the Warriors have established star power.

Curry has averaged 32.8 points, 5.3 rebounds and 3.2 assists in three games against the Clippers this season. Meanwhile, Durant has poured in 27.0 points on 54 percent from the field in four games against LA this year. Add Green, Thompson and Boogie Cousins, and you can see why Golden State is the favorite to win the title. 

The Warriors are the most talented team in this series and it starts with their future-Hall of Fame core. 

Edge: Warriors

Bench

The Clippers have the best bench in the league, averaging 53 points per game (entering Wednesday). The unit is led by Lou Williams, one of the best sixth men of all time, who's averaging 20 points, 2.9 rebounds and 5.4 assists. The bench is also bolstered by Montrezl Harrell and defensive ace Patrick Beverley, who is sure to get under Curry's skin. 

Meanwhile, Golden State's bench has struggled this season, ranking near the bottom of the league in bench scoring. However, in Tuesday's win over New Orleans, the unit poured in a season-high 65 points, the team's best output in four years. 

Still, this might the only advantage the Clippers have on the champs.

Edge: Clippers

Coaching

The job Doc Rivers has done with this year's iteration of the Clippers has been remarkable. Despite no clear star player and the team trading Tobias Harris, the Clippers have reached the postseason for the first time since 2017, marking arguably Rivers' best performance as a head coach. 

[RELATED: Kerr provides positive update on Curry's foot sprain]

Meanwhile, Kerr has had a rocky year working through the ebs and flows of star player disagreements, injuries and trying to maintain focus throughout the chase for a third straight NBA title. Still, Kerr is still among the league's premier coaches, evidenced by the Warriors securing the best six-year run in NBA history. 

Edge: Draw

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