The difference between NBA preseason and playoff games is there’s more commercials


Had Monday’s second division round playoff match-up between the Golden State Warriors and host Los Angeles Clippers of LA at the Lakers’ downtown practice facility been a pre-season walk-through, a recap could have gone something like this:

Clippers’ Kia-jumping side show Blake Griffin can certainly sell jerseys to children who imagine he could paint himself green and make a pretty convincing Hulk for Halloween.

As is, Griffin showed he may also know how to play basketball as he spilled his water all over the listless Warrior starters for 35 points last night. The power forward from the Sooner State didn’t commit a single foul in the backroom casting couch-worthy immediate disrobing of the Northern California franchise as the Clippers sailed to a 138-98 victory.

The Warriors clearly seem to love LA like Randy Newman pretended to in ’83 as the bright lights of Tinseltown have lured the offensive-minded Northern California splash shooters into a roofied-like state of being “lost” at a bar after all your friends have ditched you and you can’t find your phone …on the court.

Similarly to the Walking Dead, whose sound stage is less than a mile from Staples Center, the Warriors meandered through the first three quarters without plot, narrative or clear mission; just enough carnage to keep an audience mildly interested. By the time it was decided and the extras were inserted midway through the third, the Warriors were en route to a 40-point loss and perhaps call for a franchise reboot prior to their home opener Wednesday night.

It will be a long season for the men in blue and gold if Steph Curry decides to score all his points in an eight-minute garbage-timeframe as he did in the third quarter last night (Curry who had 24 scored 20 in the third). Kinks, notably playing basketball at a tempo that is suitable for …the game of basketball, will have to be worked out as the Warriors never closed in on the double-digit Clippers lead spotted to them three minutes after tip.

At one point in the third, Clippers point guard Chris Paul called a time out and offered to let Warriors sort-of center veteran journeyman Jermaine O’Neal (causing most of whatever was left of TNT’s Rizzoli & Isles audience who didn’t already switch over to Dancing with the Stars for Erin Andrews sideline action to say, “so THAT’s where O’Neal ended up this year…”) shoot an uncontested three-pointer “worth 25” from the top of the key, but the refs refused. As it happens, that 25-point gap only grew, so the free shot would’ve been moot.

Showing no signs of rust from the long summer off, the Clippers surgically dismantled the Warriors’ offense and managed to force more turnovers (26) than Cedars Sinai performed tummy tucks Monday evening. On the offensive side of the ball, the ships set sail shooting 57 percent and burying 32 of 35 at the line.

The Clippers pulled all starters in the fourth. Many of whom joined the Warriors front five already Instagramming selfies from Santa Monica Boulevard before reserves could feel the ire of the Dubs’ futility.

The Warriors’ Jordan Crawford came of the bench to shove the Clippers’ Darren Collison with 42 seconds left and was called for a flagrant foul, begging the question: if a flagrant foul is committed in the basic cable forest when nobody is watching, does it actually get called?

The answer is yes.

“We were awful,” Warriors coach Mark Jackson said after the scrum-filled scrimmage. “The way we played in Hollywood today, I had an agent come up to me and say he had a script for a show called the Golden Girl Warriors and ask whether we wanted to shoot a pilot.”

(OK, so we made up the last part of the quote …the rest is true: The Warriors were awful).

Now take into consideration Monday night’s game was not, in fact, played in humid Hawaii in mid-August. It was not the neighbor kid fleecing you for double what you owe him to get your mail and water your plants as he goes backdoor all day on you in NBA Live 14. It was, in fact, a playoff game and the first notable lopsided postseason match this season.

Sadly, it may not be an aberration.

During last year’s NBA playoffs, more than a dozen games were decided by the third quarter as double-digit leads turned into sub city. Nine games featured teams wining by more than a 20-point margin, six by more than 25 and one by more than 30.

Though Monday’s Warriors/Clippers “playoff” game is the first such post-season contest in a half-decade to reach the magic 40-point spread, it is possible we will see more in that stratosphere these playoffs, and in ones to come (especially as long as the Heat and Pacers …have to play everyone else in the east.)

Sad but true, Curry post-game towed the league line saying the Warriors “came out with a sense of urgency.” To be fair, he was cut off before he could say what the sense of urgency was for.

My guess is it was something along the lines of:

• Checking out the Truffle Burger at the Umami on North Cahuenga.
• A lap dance, and stuff, for the road at Jet Strip in Inglewood.
• Hitting every stop on the Point Break Map.
• Partying like it’s an episode of Entourage Season 2 with a house specialty cocktail and smog-enhanced gaze at the sun setting over PCH from Skybar.
• TMZ Starline Tour.
• Quick grovel in the Grotto at the crumbling Mansion.
• Burrito de Lengua Con Todo from Tacos La Oaxaqueña.

All of these would have been formidable tasks for the Warrior’s star point guard to complete as the franchise was making its final spin down Sunset for the 2014 campaign.

Curry’s obligatory mouthpiece toss in the third (resulting in his first technical of the season) was perhaps just a show of frustration that he wasn’t going to have time to get his picture next to Matt Damon’s star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame before leaving town.

Try as they may to play a brand of not-quite-ready-for-regular-season basketball, the Warriors are still knotted with the Clips at one for their return to Oracle on Wednesday. Hopefully, by then, the SoCal Spring Break blues will have been vanquished and they can return to playing like their LA-based rivals, showcasing real NBA playoff basketball in three-quarter time for at least a whole half.

The fans deserve as much.