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It wasn’t pretty but Warriors will gladly take win, force Game 7 with Clippers

May 2, 2014, 3:02 AM EDT

Andre Iguodala Andre Iguodala

That was playoff basketball.

Two teams with high-flying explosive offenses get sucked into grinding it out, with neither team shooting better than 40 percent for the game. Guys fouled out (or in the case of Jermaine O’Neal got injured) and other guys stepped up (hello Marreese Speights). Stars struggled, role players found a way (Matt Barnes).

In the fourth quarter the Warriors had a little more — they shot 52 percent overall for the final 12 minutes, they had balance while the Clippers leaned on Jamal Crawford to create and score (he had 11 in the quarter) and with that the Warriors won 100-99.

That sets up a Game 7 showdown Saturday night in Los Angeles.

This game started out looking like Game 5, the Clippers were led defensively by DeAndre Jordan who was blocking shots, the Clippers getting points in transition and they raced out to a 16-7 lead early. The Warriors opened the game shooting 2-of-9 from the floor.

Then, in what would be a pattern for the rest of the night, the team that was behind made a run of their own and kept it close. In this case it was a more active Warriors defense (they aggressively doubled Blake Griffin when he caught the ball), it worked to the point that by a few minutes into the second quarter the Warriors were on top.

Then the Clippers made a run. And so it went all night.

It was not a good night for the stars of either side. Blake Griffin was 8-of-24 shooting for 17 points. Chris Paul was 3-of-10. Likely Sixth Man of the Year Jamal Crawford was 5-of-13. Stephen Curry was 9-of-24 for 24 points. Klay Thompson 3-of-11.

Combine that with foul trouble — Griffin, Redick and David Lee all fouled out, plenty of others were in foul trouble — and you ended up with the kind of game where twice in a row in the fourth quarter Golden State’s offense was a Jordan Crawford isolation.

Where Golden State earned the win was the effort plays. For example, the Warriors had 14 offensive rebounds in the first half — they didn’t shoot well but they got a second shot opportunity on 40 percent of their misses that half. After the game Clippers coach Doc Rivers talked about the Warriors winning the 50/50 balls all night.

Doc also wasn’t getting enough out of Jordan and Blake to punish Golden State for going small, so he went small to match, employing a lot of three-guard lineups.

It almost worked. But in the end the Warriors hit a few more key threes while the Clippers struggled to get into an offensive set that got them good looks. Throw in an Andre Iguodala four-point play in the fourth and you get a one-point Warriors win.

The Clippers will play better at home Sunday night, they should be the favorites. However, any team with Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson can simply have nights where they go into video game mode and can’t miss, nights where they will win no matter what. Do that and Doc Rivers will have a lot of basketball questions to answer.

  1. Foul Dwimmerlaik - May 2, 2014 at 3:18 AM

    Great series.

    And great playoff first round for the league. Despite the absence of my favorite team in the playoffs, I’m not totally disappointed as I am happy with what I see. Almost all of the lower seeds are giving their opponents a run for their money (with the Raptors successful with a seeding upset).

    Both Warriors and the Clippers are worthy for the next round… however there can only be one worthier at the expense of the other. Either way, the story line of the winning team would be sweeter.

    Goodluck to both teams in Game 7. I’m hoping for a dogfight, I don’t like blowouts.

    • loungefly74 - May 2, 2014 at 8:13 AM

      great stuff, Foul. I feel the same. pulling for GS. NorCal needs some love.

      • asimonetti88 - May 2, 2014 at 10:56 AM

        Same here, they’ve got a very entertaining team and they’re long due for a deep playoff run. I can barely remember the last time they went far into the playoffs. I feel like the Run TMC teams made the second round a couple times, but I think before that it must have been the Rick Barry San Francisco Warriors teams that actually did some damage in the playoffs.

      • paleihe - May 2, 2014 at 11:26 AM

        In 2007, Warriors beat the Mavs in the 1st round.

        That’s the season Dirk won MVP, Dallas was 1st in the Western Conf, and still lost…in six (I believe).

  2. jburk003 - May 2, 2014 at 10:56 AM

    Wow. Surprised Golden State won considering how many times the refs screwed them.

    Anyone with the IQ knows the NBA is going to rig this series to allow the Clippers to advance.

    That screams NBA ratings, and has the storybook-fairytale sequence the media goes crazy for: an NBA team pursuing a championship after losing te team owner….

    I’ve never seen so many questionable calls go against one team like they did against te warriors last night.

    • tardyman - May 2, 2014 at 11:04 AM

      Not 100% sure about the rigged idea, but the officiating sure is questionable…

      Whether it’s Blake Griffin sitting on Stephen Curry after lay-ups or Glen Davis tackling Jermaine O’neal’s knees (which looked somewhat intentional), many dirty plays that the Clippers are committing are going uncalled.

  3. mbuda732 - May 2, 2014 at 11:35 AM

    Playoffs have been great and I agree with all the prior commenters. After watching the Hawks play the Pacers this series, I can safely say the Knicks would not have put up as good of a fight as the Hawks have. I really hope the Raptors stick it to Brooklyn for tanking to face them. Kyle Lowry is going to get PAID this offseason. Even though my team is not in the playoffs these are phenomenal games and something the NBA can be proud of, despite the stain Sterling has put on the playoffs.

  4. reastnt - May 2, 2014 at 12:30 PM

    Definitely not a pretty game last night, but a good game. As a Clippers fan, I was perplexed by Griffin’s apparent lack of interest or intensity during much of the game. And Chris Paul has not played very well (for him) in this series, which I expect is due to being very far from 100% physically. I think a healthy (physically and emotionally) Clippers beats a healthy Warriors, but I’m worried about game 7.

    In either case, I’ll root for the winner the rest of the way. The Warriors are impressive and fun to watch.

  5. ocgunslinger - May 2, 2014 at 5:39 PM

    Being a long time Laker fan (over 50 years) I don’t have a dog in the hunt but I have been very impressed with both the Trail Blazers and the Warriors. I wish them both well and hope the next trophy is hosted by one or the other.

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