Round 1, Game #7 | May 3, 2014
Staples Center | Los Angeles, CA

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COMPLETE GAME INFORMATION | GAME NOTES
 

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LOS ANGELES – In a game full of twists and turns that essentially summed up the entire dramatic series between the Clippers and Warriors, the final 2:20 of Game 7 was perhaps the Clippers’ finest moment of the season.

Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan scored on four straight possessions, including an alley-oop to Griffin from J.J. Redick, a follow dunk by Jordan and reverse layup by Griffin where he flipped in a layup with his back to the basket and finished it off with a summersault landing.

The plays helped finish off a 126-121 series-clinching victory over the sixth seeded Warriors Saturday at Staples Center, sending the Clippers to the Western Conference Semifinals for the second time in three years.

“I just wanted us to win the game,” said Clippers head coach Doc Rivers, who vigorously pumped his fist and yelled towards the crowd in the waning seconds. “Not because of all of this stuff, but this team just needed this win… I thought our guys fought. The adversity, they went through it. It drained them and they found enough energy to find a way to win the game.

“For me, my excitement wasn’t for me, at all. It was for everybody. I wanted the fans to get excited. It was almost like they were still sitting there in shock. And I wanted everybody to exhale for a second because all we have is a second.”

The Clippers will face the Oklahoma City Thunder at Chesapeake Energy Arena on Monday.

Griffin scored 24 points with five rebounds and six assists. Jordan had 15 points and 18 rebounds. Chris Paul, who along with Griffin and Jordan won the second Game 7 as a member of the Clippers, had 22 points, 14 assists and four steals. And Jamal Crawford had 22 points off the bench.

The Clippers trailed by as many as 12 points early in the second quarter, but used a dominant third quarter and timely baskets down the stretch, including a jumper by J.J. Redick, who had 20 points, and another alley-oop from Griffin to Jordan, ultimately won the game, and the series.

“I thought we just came out and dug in and believed,” Griffin said. “We just kind of kept pushing and kept fighting.”

The Warriors went 14-for-25 from 3-point range and would not go quietly. Draymond Green connected on a 3-pointer after Stephen Curry, who had 33 points, made three free throws after Paul fouled him a shot from beyond the arc. Curry hit another 3-pointer with eight seconds left.

Jordan’s alley-oop came in the middle of the six Golden State points and Redick and Darren Collison converted two free throws each to effectively ice it.

The game turned into a classic in the second half. Each team withstood punches and counterpunches, runs and droughts. There were moments of unbridled passion such as Jordan, jersey untucked, screaming at full throat after swatting away a runner by Jordan Crawford. There were jump balls and big baskets answered by more big baskets.

Redick and Matt Barnes hit back-to-back jumpers from nearly identical spots on the left wing to give the Clippers a 75-72 lead with 5:25 left in the third. Redick’s shot was the first time L.A. pulled ahead and Barnes’ jumper a possession later came after the Clippers forced the sixth Warriors miss in seven possessions.

In the face of a relentless and boisterous crowd, the Warriors shot 58.5 percent in the first half, including going 9-for-13 (69.2 percent) from 3-point range. Green, starting for the fourth consecutive game, had 13 of his 24 points in the half, including going 5-for-5 from the field. He would foul out with 12.1 seconds left in the game.  

It was the kind of hot-shooting performance from Golden State that the Clippers had avoided throughout the series. Aside from a breakthrough shooting night from Stephen Curry in Game 4, when he made seven 3-pointers and scored a game-high 33 points, the Warriors were held in check from the field.

But it changed Saturday night. Curry, Green, Andre Iguodala and Klay Thompson each made at least two shots from beyond the arc in the first 24 minutes. And seemingly each time the Clippers made a push to get back in the game, the Warriors scored to keep them at a distance.

Paul made a jumper to make it 23-21 in the first quarter and Golden State put together a 13-1 run in response. The Clippers, thanks to 13 second-quarter points from Crawford and a fade-away jumper by Paul tied it at 49. But, again, the Warriors closed the quarter scoring 15 of the final 22 points, including a 4-point play by Curry with 10.9 seconds left, and led, 64-56, at halftime.

“They played lights out [in the first half],” Crawford said of the Warriors. “They were playing the best they’ve played all series and we were only down eight, so that was encouraging. But we knew we had to do it with defense to come back.”

The Clippers, as they have so much through adversity and large deficits, overcame it all: the hot start by Golden State, the late baskets by Curry and Green and a week of turmoil. They held the Warriors to 39.5 percent shooting in the second half and came back from a double-digit deficit for the 13th time in 2013-14.

And as Collison knocked down the first of two free throws with 2.0 seconds to go, Rivers pumped his fist and yelled toward the crowd and Crawford high-fived the entire first row of fans near the Clippers’ bench. Game 7 was over. It was time to start anew in Oklahoma City.

NOTES

Crawford recorded his 43rd career 4-point play in the second quarter. He’s had three in the Playoffs… Hedo Turkoglu (back) did not play… The Clippers had six players in double-figures… They won a Game 7 for the second time in franchise history. They are 2-1 in Game 7s all-time… Since 1986, there have been 10 occurrences of a player scoring 22 points or more with at least four steals and 14 assists in a postseason game. Paul has done so twice, including Saturday… Matt Barnes had 13 points… Jordan set the franchise record for rebounds in a series, surpassing Bob McAdoo’s record of 94. Jordan had 106 rebounds in seven games against the Warriors…

QUOTES

CLIPPERS HEAD COACH DOC RIVERS

RE: Emotions upon winning Game 7

“I just thought this team really needed the game. I mean honestly, I just wanted us to win the game. Not because of not winning last year, I just thought with all the stuff, this team just needed this win. I mean we grinded—they [Golden State Warriors] played great. Mark Jackson is a terrific coach, and I want to start with that. They had injuries; he got his guys to compete. I thought they were very difficult out of time outs, they were very difficult to defend, they have shot makers—that‘s the one thing going in this series before all this stuff started, you knew with their shot makers this was going to be a tough series. I mean hell, I thought the game was over three times and then Stephen [Curry] comes down and makes a crazy shot, and Draymond Green I thought was phenomenal the entire series. But having said all that, I thought that our guys fought the adversity. They went through it, I thought it drained them, and they found enough energy to win the game. And for me, my excitement was not for me at all, it was for everybody. I wanted the fans to get excited. They were almost sitting there in shock, and I just wanted them to get excited, and exhale for a second, because all we have is a second. We play on Monday, so we have to get it right back.”

CLIPPERS HEAD COACH DOC RIVERS

RE: Holding the team together through a difficult time

―I needed to exhale some too, this was a hard week. It feels like two months. It‘s been hard, so it was for me too. I just needed to be able to smile, and laugh and cheer, and be proud of something. And I was very proud of my players.‖

CLIPPERS HEAD COACH DOC RIVERS

RE: Preparing for Oklahoma City Thunder

―Well, we already passed the books out, so they have all the Oklahoma books in their locker, I asked them to go home and read tonight. That‘s their homework. But what I‘ve learned—I think Matt Barnes in one word said it—after we walked in the locker room he said ‗guys, thank you for trusting each other.‘ I think you have to go through adversity to learn how to trust each other. I thought down the stretch, we went down one little stretch where we stopped moving the ball offensively, then down the stretch the ball was moving so fast they couldn‘t find the open guy and we got dunks, and layups and threes, and Chris [Paul] was on fire. We come out for the time out and run a play for J.J [Redick] and he trusts, he fires the ball, so I thought that really helped our team.‖

CLIPPERS HEAD COACH DOC RIVERS

RE: Play of J.J. Redick and Jamal Crawford

―That was the vision this summer. Me, Gary Sacks and Andy Roeser were sitting around and they asked me what we needed, and I said shooting. You need shooting down the stretch and I actually said, in a Game 7, shooting shows up. Every time I‘ve lost a series, when I sit in my office after a game, I always reach down and say we didn‘t have enough shooting. Tonight we had enough shooting. Guys were making shots, and against a team like Golden State, you needed that shooting.‖

CLIPPERS HEAD COACH DOC RIVERS

RE: Play of DeAndre Jordan

―DeAndre [Jordan] was great on the boards, he was great defensively. I thought he had the block of the game. I don‘t know how he blocked that shot—I think it was with his left hand. I thought that was the single biggest play of the game. You‘re talking about a guy who bought into this role from day one. Why he did that I don‘t know, but he did it. We had one talk and that was it, and he bought in immediately. Maybe it was just perfect timing for me, but I got a good one with him.‖

CLIPPERS FORWARD BLAKE GRIFFIN

RE: Transitioning into second half

―I thought we just did a good job on defense, we started getting stops [and] we started making the transitions that we wanted to. You know, all season long whenever we get stops, it leads to easy buckets and then once we get some easy buckets, then more shots start to fall. So it‘s all about defense for us, it really is.‖

CLIPPERS FORWARD BLAKE GRIFFIN

RE: DocRivers reaction after game

―It meant a lot because I think [Doc Rivers] of all people has probably been through the most, I mean, just because he really had to deal with it the first couple days, we weren‘t really. We, as a team decided not to really speak on it; he was the guy that everybody was kind of looking to and he‘s our leader of our team. Emotionally, I can‘t imagine what he was going through. You can tell, he really had a sense of relief once this was over, you know, we kind of got through [this] physically tough and mentally tough series.‖

CLIPPERS FORWARD BLAKE GRIFFIN

RE: Lessons from this series and preparing for OKC

―They scored the ball so well and they have so many guys that can shoot the ball. We really had to be aware of where the guys are at all times, their rotations. They are swinging it from [Stephen] Curry to Klay [Thompson] to somebody else that can shoot; they just space the floor. They run their offense while they know what makes them successful and they did a good job all series with the exception of a couple games I think. So, I think defensively, it prepared us to really be on our rotations and understand that nothing is going to be perfect but we just have got to work it out.‖

CLIPPERS GUARD CHRIS PAUL

RE: Overall thoughts on the last two weeks

―I‘m just happy we pulled it out. It‘s going to sound crazy, but it was all about tonight. Everything else was in the past. We didn‘t dwell on all that stuff, and not to diminish how serious everything‘s been in the past week or so, it was all about basketball tonight.‖

CLIPPERS GUARD CHRIS PAUL

RE: Team adversity over the last two weeks

―For us it was basketball. Had we lost this game, it‘s wasn‘t like they were going to let us go to the next round because of what we‘ve been through. I think it just showed our will, our fight, and more so than getting through all that it was getting through tonight. The first half, we gave up 64 points I think in the first half, we just showed a lot of fight and a lot of will to come back and win this.‖

CLIPPERS GUARD CHRIS PAUL

RE: Things learned from this series

―I think one of the things that we learned is that the series isn‘t won or lost in the first game. We lost Game 1 here at home, we knew we had to go there and get one and we did that. We just showed a lot of fight. There are ups and downs throughout the entire series, this was a slugfest, it was a dogfight. It was a good team we beat over there, Steph[en] Curry was amazing all series long, and it just feels good to get that one under our belt.‖

CLIPPERS GUARD CHRIS PAUL

RE: Quick turnaround into the next series

―We have the best training staff in the league. I believe that, I‘m not just saying that. Jasen Powell and all the other guys, we have the best training staff in the league. We‘ll fly to Oklahoma tomorrow, maybe Blake [Griffin] will have us at his house or something like that, and we‘ll be ready to play on Monday.‖

CLIPPERS GUARD J.J. REDICK

RE: Overall thoughts on the series

―We got back in the game with our defense. We were able to get multiple stops in a row, and then as the game wore down, I think both teams really executed well and made tough shots, made great shots, made good shots. It was just a great playoff basketball game. It was a pleasure to be a part of this series. This is what you dream about, playing a tough team, going seven games and pulling it out. It was fun.‖

CLIPPERS GUARD J.J. REDICK

RE: Difference in the game

―We woke up in the second half. That was the most intense I‘ve seen us maybe all season. Obviously, there was reason behind that. We were fighting for our proverbial lives. So, I‘m just really proud to be part of this team. Whether it was in the huddle or on the court, everybody was engaged, everybody was part of it, and everybody was a part of something really special.‖

CLIPPERS GUARD JAMAL CRAWFORD

RE: Overall thoughts on tonight’s game

―You have to really tip your hat to Golden State. They pushed us to the limit, and those guys would just not go away. I think we played each other 11 times, and I think it was 6-5. If we played again, who knows what happens. I think nobody else could have executed like they did with their coaching staff leading those guys except for Mark Jackson. He really gave those guys confidence and believed in them. Other than that, it was just a gallon of emotions. It was a hard fought game. I know [Floyd] Mayweather fought tonight. I‘m glad he won, but it really felt like a heavyweight fight in STAPLES. It was two teams that really did not want to lose.‖

CLIPPERS GUARD JAMAL CRAWFORD

RE: Team’s trust in each other

―We had to lean on each other. We had to believe what Doc [Rivers] was saying. We had to believe in the next guy. You can only go so far individually, and we really leaned on each other tonight, and we did a heck of a job.‖

CLIPPERS GUARD DARREN COLLISON

RE: Overall thoughts on tonight’s game

―There was a lot of emotion going through that game. I thought both teams left it all on the court. Golden State, give them credit. That‘s a hot shooting team, and they‘re a tough first round matchup because they can get hot like they did tonight. It‘s tough to overcome that. So, more credit to us because we stuck with it and we were able to pull out the victory.‖

CLIPPERS GUARD DARREN COLLISON

RE: Free throws at the end of the game

―I was like, ‗We just need one to put them away. We just need one free throw to put them away.‘ I made that first one, and it felt so good. It was the best free throw of my life. With that team, if you miss those last two free throws, with the way they‘re shooting, they might tie the game. Steph[en Curry] had made a tough three-point shot the play before, but I just needed one free throw to put them away,‖

CLIPPERS FORWARD MATT BARNES

RE: Doc Rivers’ celebration

―It was good. He [Doc Rivers] has personally been through a lot. He‘s had to be the shield for the whole organization, covering our butts, covering everyone else‘s butts. So, I‘m sure it‘s a huge relief off his back, but we‘re right back at it tomorrow.‖

CLIPPERS FORWARD MATT BARNES

RE: Upcoming matchup with Oklahoma City

―It‘s tough to win [in Oklahoma City]. These playoffs aren‘t going to be easy, but we‘ve won there this season, and we‘re looking to go up there and get one.‖

CLIPPERS CENTER DEANDRE JORDAN

RE: Overall thoughts on the series

―Yeah, it‘s been a crazy ride for us, but I commend our guys for sticking with it. It‘s been a rollercoaster, but at the end of the day, we came out and we had a job to do, and we did it.‖

CLIPPERS CENTER DEANDRE JORDAN

RE: Block of Stephen Curry at the end of the fourth quarter

―I didn‘t [know Stephen Curry was going to go up with his left hand]. I went up with my right hand, and I didn‘t see the ball there; so, I just tried to get it, or make it tough for him to make that shot. I ended up getting the block, and we went down, and scored; but, that wasn‘t the only play. We got stops when we needed to, and executed on the other end.‖

WARRIORS HEAD COACH MARK JACKSON

RE: Overall thoughts on losing the series

―It‘s disappointing. There‘s a difference with being disappointed and being a disappointment. This team, we are disappointed with the way it ended. We battled; we fought. Truthfully, we had every single excuse tailor-made for us. We‘re missing our starting center and our backup center. We just battled against a team that I‘ve got a lot of respect for. They‘re extremely well-coached and I think we‘ll see each other down the road again. I‘m extremely proud of my guys, I‘m grateful to this organization, to this management team – I think it‘s been an outstanding year for us.‖

WARRIORS HEAD COACH MARK JACKSON

RE: Future with the team

―I don‘t pay attention to it. There‘s never been discussions as far as my ownership group and my management team. So I don‘t pay attention to it. I work every single day with a passion and a commitment, like it‘s my last. I‘m trying to be a blessing to people, I‘m trying to impact people, and that‘s the way I live my life. That‘s the way I coach. I don‘t get caught up in it. I‘m totally confident and have total faith that no matter what, I‘m going to fine, and that‘s even if I‘m a full-time pastor. It‘s going to work out.‖

WARRIORS GUARD STEPHEN CURRY

RE: Categorizing this season as a success or a failure

―It‘s hard to put it into black-and-white terms. Obviously making the playoffs is a checkpoint in what we were trying to do this year, and looking at the matchup we felt like we had a chance to win this series, if we played like we were supposed to. It comes down to the last two minutes of a seven-game series, so it‘s hard to say it‘s a failure of a season. Obviously we had our eyes set on bigger goals, but we fought and we left it all on the floor. I don‘t feel like we had any regrets as to how the series unfolded. A couple of plays here and there down the stretch of this game and we could be in a different situation. So we‘ll be alright.‖

WARRIORS GUARD STEPHEN CURRY

RE: How this playoff exit compares to last season

―It‘s tough. The more seasons I have underneath my belt, the more playoff experience, it hurts even more, because you‘ve tasted it before. You‘ve tasted a little bit of success and you want more. So it definitely stings a little more. Last year we were kind of on a joyride. Obviously we‘re disappointed with the way it ended, but this year, it stings. Seven games, that‘s a lot of fighting on the court, and we left it all out there.‖

WARRIORS FORWARD DAVID LEE

RE: Mark Jackson’s postgame talk

―He‘s proud of everybody, he‘s happy with the season that we‘ve had, that only one team ends the season happy, and that‘s the team that wins the whole thing. There are a lot of very good basketball teams that have gone home yesterday and today, and unfortunately we‘re one of those teams. But we can build on this and come back even better next year.‖

WARRIORS FORWARD DAVID LEE

RE: His performance this series

―It was a different kind of season for me in what I was asked to do. The fact that we didn‘t win this series, even though it went seven games, I would of course like to think I could have done better. It was a different sort of series. Played a lot out of pick-and-roll instead of isos. Weren‘t a lot of post-ups with a guy like DeAndre [Jordan] guarding me at the five – a lot of pick-and-roll play. Defensively, my main job was to keep him off the glass. So I did the best I could in that category and like I said, it was a different kind of matchup and I just tried to do my best.‖

WARRIORS CENTER JERMAINE O’NEAL

RE: Tonight’s game potentially being his last

―Now it really is going to depend on my wife and my kids, especially my little boy. Being a kid that was raised without his father, I know how hard these last few years have been for my son. I‘m going to sit down and have another conversation with a seven-year-old, an eight-year-old, again, and see where the blessings are for me. But I can say this: I appreciate what my teammates have done for me this year,

injecting life back into my soul. I appreciate what our organization has done for me. I appreciate what the fanbase have done for me, giving me love for basketball again. I appreciate what Coach [Mark] Jackson has done for me. I appreciate what the owners have done for me. I wish we could repay everybody by winning it all, but this year it wasn‘t in the cards.‖

WARRIORS CENTER JERMAINE O’NEAL

RE: Mark Jackson’s future with the team

 

―Here‘s my feeling about the ownership group: we have one of the best in the business that truthfully cares about the player and also the person. We have one of the best coaches in the business, without a doubt. But sometimes the business changes a little bit. You can‘t really control as players what happens. We saw it last year, with two coaches getting fired after winning fifty-plus games, record-breaking seasons. Whatever they decide to do, I‘m sure they‘re going to make the best decision for themselves. As far as the ownership, I know they‘re going to continue to be great owners, premiere franchise owners. Whether Mark [Jackson] is here or somewhere else, he‘s going to be a fantastic coach. So I think either way no matter what happens, both guys are going to come out on top.

VIDEO

PREVIEW

Ben Haber | Follow @HaberBen


There’s no sugar coating it: the entire season for the Clippers and Warriors comes down to Game 7 of their first round playoff encounter Saturday at Staples Center.

The Pacific Division foes will battle it out one last time in hopes of advancing into the Western Conference Semifinals to face either the Oklahoma City Thunder or Memphis Grizzlies, who play their own Game 7 earlier Saturday. Through the first six contests, Los Angeles and Golden State are knotted at three wins apiece. The teams have shot an identical 45.5 percent from the field throughout the series and split their regular season series 2-2, further summarizing how evenly matched things have been.

“We’re trying to close them out, or if we lose we go home,” Clippers head coach Doc Rivers said. “Game 7’s are great because all that is at play. I think they are the best, you should really enjoy it. There’s nothing you should hold back.”

At this point of the series, Chris Paul understands there are no unknown secrets between the Clippers and Warriors.

“We know what they are going to do. They know what we are going to do,” Paul said. “It’s going to come down to who wants it more.”

NOTEWORTHY MATCHUP


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Doc Rivers vs. Mark Jackson

THREE THINGS TO WATCH ON PRIME TICKET

1. Establish Blake Griffin. Blake Griffin completely dominated Game 2 and Game 3, accumulating 67 total points. Since then, Griffin hasn’t eclipsed 21 points in any outing and particularly struggled in Game 6, going 8-for-24 from the field.

Rivers continues to put an emphasis on giving Griffin more looks and space to operate. Warriors head coach Mark Jackson decided to make Draymond Green the primary defender on Griffin over David Lee, moving him into the starting lineup permanently in Game 4 and shifting Lee to center.  The decision has worked out to date.

In addition, Golden State is bringing regular double teams to slow Griffin down.

“I think the most important thing for me, like I said, is to not go out and try to press,” Griffin said. “And like okay I got to get 30 [points], or I got to do this, or I got to do that. Just kind of let the game happen and most of the time it happens within the flow of the game.”

Griffin is notching 28.3 points per game in the Clippers three wins, and posts 18.0 in their losses.

2. Toughness. After Friday’s practice, Rivers stated toughness was a key to Game 7. Rivers acknowledged both teams could’ve played better in Game 6, but he believes the Warriors defeated the Clippers because they were tougher.

“Let’s be as tough, that doesn’t mean doing silly stuff. When there was a loose ball, I felt like Draymond Green got them all,” Rivers said.

3. Free Throw Shooting. One possession could possibly decide the outcome of Game 7. Therefore, the small details are going to be pivotal factors, headlined by free throw shooting. Of the 16 playoff teams, the Clippers rank No. 10 in hitting freebies at 73.8 percent, which is 0.08 higher than their regular season mark.

The Warriors are 15th among postseason qualifiers at the charity stripe, connecting on 70.3 percent, a 4.7-percent drop off compared to their initial 82 games. Jackson commonly has tried fouling DeAndre Jordan intentionally, yet the Clippers’ big man is drilling 51.0 percent of his free throws in the Playoffs instead of 42.8 percent in the regular season.

NOTES

The Clippers have never hosted a Game 7 during the Playoffs prior to Saturday…The Clippers are 1-2 in franchise history in Game 7’s, with the victory coming in the first round at the Memphis Grizzlies in 2012… The Warriors are 3-3 all-time in Game 7’s… After a loss, the Clippers are 21-6 on the season… Jordan has snatched 88 total rebounds in the Clippers series against the Warriors, and needs only six more rebounds to tie Bob McAdoo’s team record of 94… The Clippers had the second best home record in the NBA at 34-7 in the regular season. Counting the Playoffs they are 36-8 at home…

INJURY UPDATE

LAC: Hedo Turkoglu (back) is out.

GSW: Jermaine O’Neal (right knee sprain) is TBD, pending an MRI. Andrew Bogut (fractured rib) is out indefinitely. Festus Ezeli (recovering from right knee surgery) has not participated in 5-on-5 activity yet and likely remains out.

THE LAST WORD

DeAndre Jordan: “[This season] is about big picture and us competing for a championship, that’s what everyone is here for.”

SERIES RECAP

Game 1: Warriors 109, Clippers 105
Game 2: Clippers 138, Warriors 98
Game 3: Clippers 98, Warriors 96
Game 4: Warriors 118, Clippers 97
Game 5: Clippers 113, Warriors 103
Game 6: Warriors 100, Clippers 99
Game 7: At Staples Center, May 3, 2014