Stephen Curry scored nine of his 15 points in the final 10 minutes and Klay Thompson came up with an enormous block of a Chris Paul driving shot with one second left as the Golden State Warriors escaped with a 105-103 win over the Los Angeles Clippers at Oracle Arena on Christmas night.
It was a typical Warriors-Clippers game, as in … it was chippy as hell. Draymond Green got ejected for a flagrant 2 foul for flailing at Blake Griffin after the third quarter horn and Griffin wound up being ejected after picking up his second technical foul 1:17 into the fourth quarter after he and Andrew Bogut got tangled up under the basket.
Griffin got his first technical reacting to Green’s foul.
There was also a bit of a dust-up after the final horn. Bogut came down with Jamal Crawford’s missed 3-pointer at the buzzer. Paul ripped the ball out of Bogut’s hands, Bogut slapped it away from Paul and former Warrior Matt Barnes came in with a shove of Bogut from behind. Stephen Jackson entered the fray from the Clippers bench, but order was restored without further incident.
So, yeah, these teams don’t like each other. How much do they not like each other? The Clippers reportedly turned down an invitation from the Warriors to attend pregame chapel. On Christmas.
The Clippers took an early 13-point lead, 28-15, as the Warriors were ice cold in the early going, hitting just 9-of-28 from the floor in the first quarter. But Barnes fouled Toney Douglas on a 3-pointer from 27 feet out with 1.2 seconds left in the period. Douglas missed the foul shot, but pulled the Warriors back under double digits by quarter’s end, 30-22.
Golden State ended the first half with a 14-6 spurt to close to within two at 53-51 at the break, but didn’t take its first lead until Bogut sank a runner early in the third quarter.
The Warriors led by as many as six in the third before the Clippers charged back to take a 78-75 lead at the end of the quarter.
The game ended with a flurry of activity, even though no actual points were scored in the final 1:09 and the game’s last field goal was scored with 1:21 remaining. Harrison Barnes made a pair of free throws with 1:09 left to put the Warriors up 105-103.
Paul missed a short jumper with 41.9 seconds left and the Warriors had a chance to milk some clock. Barnes, inexplicably, settled for an 18 foot jumper with six seconds still left on the shot clock and missed everything, turning the ball back over to L.A.
Paul missed a driving layup and Thompson—a 78 percent foul shooter this season and an 83 percent shooter for his career—gave the ball up to Andre Iguodala, who is making just 60 percent from the line this season. Iguodala looked annoyed with Thompson and then clanked both free throws, keeping the Clippers in the game with 9.3 seconds left.
Paul drove the lane, but had his shot blocked from behind by Thompson with one second left. Crawford’s last-gasp 3-pointer slid harmlessly off the front of the rim and the Warriors had the win, their third in a row, while snapping the Clippers’ five-game winning streak.
Lee and Thompson led the Warriors with 23 points each, with Lee adding 13 rebounds and Thompson recording two blocked shots. Curry had 15 points and 11 assists, Barnes scored 14 off the bench and Bogut notched 10 points and 14 boards.
Paul led the Clippers with 26 points and 11 assists, Griffin had 20 points and 14 rebounds before he was ejected, Crawford tossed in 19 points, DeAndre Jordan scored 13 points to go with 13 rebounds and six blocked shots and Collison had 11 off the bench.
These two teams will tee it up at least twice more this season, the next one being Jan. 30 in Oakland. The final regular-season meeting is March 12 in Los Angeles.
The Warriors are back in action Friday when they host the Phoenix Suns at Oracle Arena. Tip is set for 7:30 p.m. Pacific. Phoenix won the first meeting between the teams 106-102 on Dec. 15.
Topics: Golden State Warriors