OAKLAND – When Steve Kerr and Doc Rivers settled in for their first coaching showdown in the postseason, each coach told the truth without being under oath.
Kerr's Warriors are heavy favorites to clobber Rivers' Clippers in this first-round series and neither tried to distort the obvious.
Kerr acknowledged the Warriors are expected to win any series they're in, certainly including this one, and Rivers practically conceded the Clippers probably expected to be on vacation.
"I've had teams where you assume playoffs," Rivers said 90 minutes before Game 1. "This is a different team. One of our goals was just to get here.
"But we were really excited when we made it. But we're not done. We don't want that to be it. We want to do more. And to do that, we play one of the great teams."
The Warriors are the No. 1 seed in the Western Conference, winning 15 of 16 Game 1s under Kerr.
"I'm guessing we have been favored in all 16, so we are kind of supposed to (win)?" Kerr said.
"We started on the road last year against Houston. We're supposed to win where we've been, at home usually. It sets a good tone. But the beauty of the NBA Playoffs is it's a seven-game series."
The Warriors were 3-1 against LA in the regular season, losing only the first meeting, on Nov. 12 at Staples Center. The Clippers, however, have undergone dramatic change since then, losing two starters, Tobias Harris – their best player – and Marcin Gortat, as well as reserves Avery Bradley, Boban Marjanovic and Mike Scott.
Newcomers Wilson Chandler, Landry Shamet and Ivaca Zubac and JaMychal Green have been better than expected. LA was 30-25 prior to those trade deadline moves, 18-9 afterward.
"The trade absolutely helped our team," Rivers said. "When we did the trade, it didn't look good, obviously. But when we got in the gym and started playing, slowly, you realize we may be a better team."
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Shamet, a terrific offensive win, has given the Clippers a scorer a great catch and shoot scorer. Zubac has provided paint presence. Green is athletic and Chandler has a solid veteran.
Is that enough to make this a series? Probably not. And both coaches are willing to admit that.