If I had just one word to describe this game, it would be “wow”. From ups and downs, to physical play, to unexpected shot making, this game was action-packed and one of the best of the year, and maybe of the early playoffs. Saturday afternoon, the Golden State Warriors, despite trailing 12-1, were able to fight back to a 109-105 victory over the Los Angeles Clippers. The Warriors learned their lesson.
Warriors had lost their previous three Game 1s by 4, 2 and 2
— GSWStats (@gswstats) April 19, 2014
Those players you expected to step up, stepped up. Some players that a team needed to step up, stepped up. For the Warriors, the Splash Brothers finished most of the shots in the late fourth, or were entrusted with the ball in their hands. Klay Thompson finished with 22 points on 7/20 shooting. Stephen Curry was guarded fairly well, but still managed to impact the game with 14 points, 7 assists, and 3 steals. Harrison Barnes stepped up to score 14 points and grab 8 rebounds off the bench. David Lee scored 20 points and grabbed 13 boards.
As for the Clippers, Chris Paul came through with 28 points and 8 rebounds, while JJ Redick got hot in the third quarter to tally 22 points. Jamal Crawford had a poor game, shooting 2/11 from the field, one of those shots coming from beyond half court.
A major issue in this game was foul trouble. It started with Andre Iguodala, but spread to Blake Griffin; both eventually fouled out in the fourth quarter. The Warriors lost the defensive edge, and the Clippers lost Griffin’s invaluable post game. Nevertheless, both teams continued to battle hard, and in the end, the Warriors came away with the victory.
Although down 12-1, the Warriors were not discouraged at all. Curry and Thompson got things going with a couple jump shots, and pretty soon, the offense opened up and the defense tightened down. At the end of the first quarter, the Clippers and the Warriors found themselves in a close 29-24 game.
In the second quarter, the Warriors came even more alive, outscoring their opponents by 5. The Clippers couldn’t really find an answer on offense because they weren’t able to play Griffin due to foul issues. Even without Iguodala, the Warriors managed to stuff LAC on the inside. The game was tied at 52 entering the half.
Progressively getting better, the Dubs scored 35 points in the third quarter and just piled it on. The only difference was that the Clippers were playing with Griffin, but they weren’t going to him on every play (the plays that they did go to him, he scored). The Warriors continued their run into the fourth and jumped out to take an 11-point advantage.
In the playoffs, however, no lead is safe. Los Angeles chipped away at it and eventually tied the game at 105 with 3 minutes to go. From there on, the Warriors hit 4 free throws, but also missed a lot that could have sealed the game. The final blow came when Thompson split free throws at the line, but gave the Warriors a 4-point advantage with under 10 seconds left. Paul missed a 3-pointer, and the game was over.
Now surging on confidence, the Warriors look to steal Game 2 from LAC as well. It’s not going to be an easy task, though. Crawford is not going to struggle twice in a row, and Griffin is going to be thirsty to play for revenge.