OAKLAND -- Warriors coach Mark Jackson said Friday that Jermaine O'Neal will start Game 1 at center Saturday night against the Los Angeles Clippers. Now all that's left to determine is if Jackson will hold to it.

Jackson created a minor stir in the playoffs last year when he made a last-minute switch of his starting lineup against the Denver Nuggets, prompting the subsequently deposed George Karl to call Jackson's lineup tactics "bush" and "high-schoolish."

But Jackson at least had a rational explanation for his decision to go with O'Neal against the Clippers.

"He's a veteran, he puts pressure on your defense because of his ability to post up," the coach said. "I also like the fact that he has a lot of miles, and rather than having him sit there and go into a game where everyone else is in rhythm and loose, right now my thought process is to have him start the game and impact the game immediately."

At Clippers practice in Playa Vista, forward Blake Griffin was asked if he had any lingering issues with O'Neal after the two had a verbal confrontation in a hallway outside the Clippers locker room the last time the two teams played, March 12 at Staples Center.

"I don't have Jermaine's number," Griffin said. "I don't really talk to him. So I don't know if there's a lingering issue or not."

  • Warriors backup point guard Steve Blake has a unique perspective on the Stephen Curry-Chris Paul marquee matchup, having played against both of them a number of times while with the Los Angeles Lakers. He doesn't know how you pick a winner.

    "A lot is going to be made of them as individuals, but it's the team game that's going to be the deciding factor," Blake said. "Those guys are both so good. They're amazing at using their teammates and creating shots for them as well as themselves. They're just two of the best in the game right now. I don't see there being any letdown. I think the matchup is going to be everything it's hyped up to be."

    Curry was named the NBA's Western Conference player of the month, averaging 26.4 points and 9.9 assists in eight games in April.

    "It's going to be incredible," the Clippers' Matt Barnes said of the matchup. "Probably the two top point guards in the NBA. Steph hands down is probably the best shooter in the league. Chris is the best all-around point guard, so it's going to be fun."

  • Clippers coach Doc Rivers responded Friday to comments on the radio that Warriors guard Klay Thompson made about Griffin flopping.

    "That's Klay's opinion," Rivers said. "I don't really care, honestly. I just keep looking at what Blake's done, so if he's flopping, keep doing it because those numbers look awful good to me. So flop on. That's the way I look at it. Whatever he's done this year, I want him to keep doing exactly that.

    "I think what's happening is Blake's kicking a lot of people's butts, and they need something to say about him."

  • Jackson is already playing the underdog card to the hilt, saying if he were still a broadcaster, he would be anointing the Clippers as the favorites.

    "The data says we are the underdogs," Jackson said. "The data says Doc Rivers is the better coach. The data says they're the better basketball team. That's OK. That doesn't mean it's going to happen."

    For more on the Warriors, see the Inside the Warriors blog at ibabuzz.com/warriors.