THE MATCHUPS

A closer look at the Warriors' first-round Western Conference playoff series against the Los Angeles Clippers.

THE PLAYMAKERS

Clippers: Chris Paul.

Paul, the Clippers' All-Star point guard, can do a little bit of everything. He averaged 19.1 points per game and led the NBA with 10.7 assists per game. After missing a month because of a shoulder injury, he is back on track.

Warriors: Stephen Curry.

Curry makes the Warriors go with not only his ability to hit 3-point shots from all over the court but also his willingness to feed his teammates. He'll command most of the attention and still find a way to get the job done. He averaged 24 points and 8.5 assists per game.

Advantage: Even.

Despite what Paul has over Curry in playoff experience, Curry got enough of a taste last season to be comfortable under the microscope. The battle between two friends should be a dandy, with Paul looking to make sure Curry doesn't get his shot going or get easy baskets in transition.

THE MUSCLE

Clippers: Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan.

Griffin is garnering Most Valuable Player consideration for the season he had as a dominant presence on the block. He averaged 24.1 points per game. Jordan led the NBA in rebounding at 13.6 and also has been one of the league's top defenders.

Warriors: David Lee and Jermaine O'Neal.

With Andrew Bogut injured, O'Neal will start at center as the Warriors hope the 35-year-old has enough left in the tank for what could be his final playoff run. O'Neal will have help, as Lee and Draymond Green will have to help stop Griffin and Jordan.

Advantage: Clippers.

Bogut isn't expected to play in the series, taking away the player who could go body-to-body with Griffin and Jordan. Lee will need to step up defensively for the Warriors to have a chance in the series, with O'Neal giving what he has left.

THE SIXTH MEN

Clippers: Jamal Crawford.

Crawford averaged 18.6 points per game and will be in contention for Sixth Man of the Year, an award he won in 2010 while playing for Atlanta. He has suffered from hamstring and Achilles injuries that have limited his action this season.

Warriors: Draymond Green.

Green can enter the game and guard multiple positions, and he's expected to play a large role in helping to stop Griffin. He came up big in the postseason last year, and this season has seen his shot heat up. He shot 50 percent from 3-point range in April.

Advantage: Even.

Crawford is not 100 percent healthy, but he could get hot. He led the Clippers in made 3-pointers. Green could have a significant impact in the series if he can help provide defense at power forward and center.

THE SHARPSHOOTERS

Clippers: J.J. Redick.

Redick is dangerous from beyond the arc, shooting 39.5 percent from long distance. He has battled a back injury and is day-to-day. The Clippers combine Redick with Crawford to fill the minutes at shooting guard.

Warriors: Klay Thompson.

Thompson had a stellar regular season, as coach Mark Jackson called him the best two-way shooting guard in the world. Thompson expanded his game, attacking the basket and still remaining deadly from 3-point range.

Advantage: Warriors.

Thompson pairs with Curry as a top perimeter duo, and his value can also be seen on defense, where he will be asked at times to guard Paul and help shut down the NBA's highest-scoring offense.

THE X-FACTORS

Clippers: Matt Barnes.

Barnes, the former Warrior, provides another physical presence for the Clippers in a series that is expected to be rough for both sides. Having played in playoff games at Oracle Arena, Barnes can tell his teammates what that experience is like.

Warriors: Andre Iguodala.

Iguodala is not 100 percent, having dealt with a knee issue, but he becomes Golden State's top defender after Bogut went down. The Warriors could put him on Paul at times and have him help on Griffin. He'll have his hands full either way.

Advantage: Even.

Not much separated these teams, but when Bogut went down, Iguodala's defensive importance became even more obvious. The Warriors can't get pushed around by Barnes and Jordan if they hope to win the series.

-- DIAMOND LEUNG