Round 1, Game #4 | April 27, 2014
Oracle Arena | Oakland, CA
OAKLAND – The Clippers made a statement of unity before Game 4. The Warriors made a statement shortly thereafter on the court.
Outfitted in black socks and black tape or wristbands on their arms, the Clippers met at midcourt prior to the game, removed their team-issued warmup tops and instead wore shooting shirts turned inside out to reveal a blank red chest.
It was a sign of solidarity amid controversy; a move of protest and emphasis.
The gesture, however, did not carry over into Sunday afternoon’s game at Oracle Arena. The Warriors sprinted ahead with a barrage of 3-pointers in the first quarter and kept the Clippers at a comfortable distance for the duration.
The 118-97 loss for the Clippers evened the best-of-seven first-round playoff series at two games apiece and sent things back to Los Angeles with a new aura of uncertainty surrounding what has already been a bitterly contested week and a half.
Prior to the game, Clippers head coach Doc Rivers said he had no idea how his team would react from a mental standpoint.
“From a coaching standpoint, you’re concerned,” Rivers said. “They’ve been pulled in a million directions over the last 24 hours.”
It took nearly the entire first quarter for the Clippers to pull themselves out of a defensive malaise. The Warriors scored 25 of the game’s first 35 points and nailed seven of their 14 3-pointers in the opening period. The Clippers, led by Jamal Crawford’s 26 points off the bench, played virtually even with Golden State the rest of the way, but the opening 6:36 burned them.
Stephen Curry scored 17 of his game-high 33 points in the first and finished with seven rebounds and seven assists. It was the All-Star’s first true breakout game of the series after Chris Paul and the Clippers had kept him under constant defensive pressure in the previous three meetings. Paul had 16 points, six assists and five rebounds. Blake Griffin scored 21 points with six rebounds.
Paul, Griffin and Crawford were removed from the game with 2:45 left after the Warriors regained a 17-point lead just minutes after J.J. Redick missed a 3-pointer that could have cut the Clippers’ deficit to seven. Redick finished 12 points and made three of his six 3-pointers.
The Clippers, though, were outdone by 19 turnovers that led to 26 Warriors points. They shot just 42.7 percent from the field and allowed 15 Warriors’ 3-pointers and 32 assists. They were outshot by nearly 15 percent overall and head home with echoes of the taunting “Warr-iors” chant and yellow confetti trailing them off the Oracle Arena floor.
The series, which has had its share of topsy-turvy swaps of momentum has seemingly shifted back in favor of the Warriors. The Clippers left to regroup Tuesday night’s pivotal Game 5.
Klay Thompson fouled out in the fourth quarter… Andre Iguodala had 22 points and nine assists… The Clippers failed to win three games in a row in the postseason. They have never won more than two straight in franchise history… Matt Barnes had 10 points and five rebounds… Griffin has 88 points in the last three games… The Warriors outrebounded the Clippers, 34-32… Turkoglu received a Flagrant-foul penalty-1 in the fourth quarter…
More to come on Clippers.com, including postgame reaction, quotes and video coverage.
Q. Doc, the Warriors got off really fast in the first quarter. Was it that they were playing great or was it just that your team was dealing with other things?
COACH RIVERS: I think they were playing great. I think you always gotta leave it at that. Once the game starts, there's no excuses not to play and to play like we played.
That's my fault. It really is. I gotta do a better job. Whatever the distractions, whatever, I gotta do a better job. I didn't do my job tonight. I take that personally.
Q. You talked all week about reminding your team they're playing the Golden State Warriors. Did you simply feel they were playing the Golden State Warriors today?
COACH RIVERS: I don't know. I just know it's my job as a coach to get them ready, and I just didn't feel like I did the right stuff. I have to go watch the game again.
But it's my job. Players want to play right. They want to do right. And, you know, I thought I did the right stuff to get them ready, and I really didn't.
And so I have to do a better job.
Q. Not to belabor this point, but you had several points in foul trouble. Do you think the emotions of everything maybe contributed to that?
COACH RIVERS: Listen, it could have. I mean, I'm not going to deny that we had other stuff. Listen, I just believe when the game starts, the game starts and nobody cares anymore. Golden State surely didn't care. It's like when a player plays with an injury. They don't care they're injured, they're going to come out and try to attack you. If we were injured physically or mentally the other team didn't care, and they really shouldn't care because it's a competition. And we didn't handle the competition right tonight.
Q. This was all obviously unchartered territory. I don't know if yesterday and the night before when it started to come out if you thought it would take days
COACH RIVERS: Didn't know.
Q. You've played eight games against each other. You've each won four. Granted, you have the physical advantage, perhaps, and you have the home court advantage going home. But how tough is it? You played in enough of these things, coached enough. How tough is it to finish off a series like this?
COACH RIVERS: We knew this was going to be a hard series. We knew it before the series started. The teams are evenly matched. We have some physical, they have some skill. Their shooting is the best we've seen maybe ever or in years and you have to deal with it. And the games we've done a good job of controlling it, we've won. The games that we didn't, they've won. So we have home court, but I don't know if home court even matters in this series. I think the team that plays the best, trusts the best, has the best focus, all the little things, will win this series. I think focus is a big thing in this series. And we didn't have it tonight.
Q. (Off microphone) played pretty well in the first three games. Why wasn't he able to get off tonight?
COACH RIVERS: I don't know yet. Watch the tape. Mark must have done a wonderful job getting him free. Which I think they did a lot of things. And then we must have done some bad things defensively. I know with our switches, we didn't communicate much at all defensively. We broke a lot of our coverages today and some of the things they did they made some changes and they were better.
Q. Coach, what strategic problems does their small starting lineup present for you that a normal lineup wouldn't?
COACH RIVERS: I don't know if it does. It's not like they've not played that lineup most of the series anyway. So it's the same lineup they've been playing. They just started it today. I just thought they were tougher than us today. I thought they were the more physical team. I thought they were tougher. I would have voted all five of their starters on the All Defensive team if I could vote today. Really they were up in us. They pushed us around. They pushed us, grabbed us, held us, knocked us down, got every offensive rebound, got all the 50/50 balls. I just thought they were the tougher team and it wasn't even close. Should have been a first round knockout.
Q. I know as a professional you put blinders on and tunnel vision, but have you been able to do that considering everything that's happened? There's a bigger issue than basketball going on.
COACH RIVERS: It is. At least I'm trying. I can tell you that. I thought I had. I clearly did not. And like I said, I take that personal. Listen, I know what's going on. I get it. But we still have a job to do, and we didn't do our jobs tonight. And so I think it starts at the top and it starts with me.
Q. Before the game you said this was an individual thing and your job was to see which guys
COACH RIVERS: There's too many of them.
Q. ...weren't functioning. Was DeAndre Jordan in that category?
COACH RIVERS: I don't know. I think we all I just didn't like our spirit tonight. I liked it today. I liked it before the game. I was just wrong on it. And I understand it. I can't blame them for that. But that's where I keep saying that's my job. I have to find a way.
Q. Doc, you've coached in Boston, which like being in the fishbowl or being under the microscope. Does it make it a little easier being in LA with all the stuff that's been going on also lately to be calm, because you seem I know beneath the surface there's a lot going on, but you seem pretty calm and pretty focused.
COACH RIVERS: I don't know. I'm sure I'm old. Hell, you're around a lot and you've seen a lot. I just know at the end of the day I've got a job to get our team right no matter what's circling. So I think that's important for our guys. They have to see that. And I told them that after the game: I gotta do a better job. I said, You guys were great. We'll figure it out.
Q. What can you do differently? In your mind what do you feel you could do differently?
COACH RIVERS: I don't know yet. I need to watch the game again, and I just need to self evaluate and see what we can do as a staff. Like I said before the game is they're getting pulled in so many directions, so we have to figure out how to pull them in one direction. And then we'll be back in the series.
Q. Chris, I guess that first basketball question is you guys came out with your do's on and you took them off and you had your shirts inside out, your hat on, black wristbands. What was the reason behind that?
CHRIS PAUL: It was just talked about as a team. At the end of the day it had nothing to do with the game.
Q. Chris, you played in this league for a while. You played some physical, tough games. Is this series as intense as any you've been involved with, and you figure it might go the full seven?
CHRIS PAUL: I don't know. I don't know. I played in a few. But this one's pretty physical. It's just you gotta try and figure it out early how they're going to officiate it, how they're going to call it, and go from there.
Q. Chris, why do you think the Warriors, especially Steph Curry, were able to get off to a quick start?
CHRIS PAUL: It's all on me. It's all on me. I let him get loose early. I gotta be better. I gotta be better defensively. I gotta be better offensively, gotta make sure I'm getting the ball to the right people. But it started off early, getting off his body. I gotta make him a little more uncomfortable. This was on me. Defense was horrible tonight.
Q. Chris, do you have any expectation for what kind of a home court you're going to have? There's a lot of stuff happening. But just on the court, do you have an expectation for what kind of home court you'll be on?
CHRIS PAUL: I would be lying if I said I wasn't nervous about what it is going to be like. Because our fans have been amazing all season long, and obviously I hope that it will be the same. You just never know. They've been amazing, and we wouldn't be where we are without them. But it's tough.
Q. Chris, Doc said that he takes all of the blame for the result tonight and for anything that might have distracted on you or turned up the way it ended up. What's your response to that?
CHRIS PAUL: At the end of the day, Doc can't score a basket and he can't stop Steph Curry, Klay Thompson, anybody like that. I don't think anything had to do with the outcome of the game, but they beat us, they came out hungry. We were focused. We were ready to play.
And they just beat us in all aspects of it. And like I said, it started with me early in the game, letting them get loose and letting them get going. And I just gotta be point guard and direct the game.
Q. Chris, I know the last thing you're going to do is make excuses, but at the same time you've been fighting through a hamstring, the other night you had a 100 degree temperature. Has this particular series been challenging because of that? It's kind of frustrating to have that happen.
CHRIS PAUL: It's all good. It's basketball. At the end of the day you're going to win; you're going to lose. We prefer to win. Nobody going to feel sorry for you. And I gotta do my part. It's tough getting in foul trouble and stuff like that. But I gotta be better.
Q. Chris, you've been on Curry all series. Did you expect him to have a breakout game eventually because he's that good of a player?
CHRIS PAUL: Yeah, like I said, good offense is going to beat great defense any day. I think tonight I got off his body. They ran a couple good plays, a lot of screens being set. Some of them moving, you know what I mean? But he's a great shooter. And I think he made a couple when I was on him, but most of it was him running or offensive rebounds in transition. By any means necessary, it don't matter, that's my matchup and I gotta do better.
Q. Chris, regarding the situation with Mr. Sterling, in terms of the conversations that you've had with Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson, just talk about his role and what you hope to get out of him in terms of this situation.
CHRIS PAUL: Mayor Johnson is going to be unbelievable. We've talked probably not as often as you guys think. But what they're doing is giving me an opportunity to stay locked in with my team and what we're in the playoffs trying to do. For us, it's all about winning basketball games, nothing else.
Q. Chris, is it harder to give your all to a team in a situation with such an ugly reminder of who owns the team?
CHRIS PAUL: No, no, because, I mean, it's about those guys in the locker room, our guys, our teammates. We prepare. We've been through training camp and stuff like that, and this is what we love to do.
Q. Chris, I was asking Steph and Andre Iguodala how they dealt with distractions. You have a lot more on your shoulders not only because you're part of this team but you're also a player rep. How did you deal with it? How did you steel yourself away and just get in that zone and think about today?
CHRIS PAUL: This is what we do. This is what we do.
Q. Blake, how much, if any, did the Warriors going small in their starting lineup affect the result tonight?
BLAKE GRIFFIN: I thought it was just kind of the attitude. I thought they came out with the right attitude, and I thought we didn't. I thought from the beginning they played with patience, they played with force. They did the things that we wanted to do. So I wouldn't say that it was all that. But obviously they found something that worked for them.
Q. Blake, you don't want to think this way as an athlete, I know, but a team as you know, good offense beats good defense in the NBA, and a team such as the Warriors, you kept them down pretty much throughout the series. Did you expect in the back of your mind? I know you don't want to think this way, that it's going to be sooner or later they're going to have a quarter like they had in the first quarter?
BLAKE GRIFFIN: You know they're going to go for a run. They're going to score. That's what we've been saying this whole series is they're going to score. I mean, they're one of the best scoring teams in the NBA for a reason. They've got a lot of guys that can score. We know they're going to score points. They're going to go on a run, have a good quarter here, whatever it is. But we have to do a better job withstanding that, and we have to do a better job of messing up the rhythm of that and bothering that, which we didn't do tonight in the first quarter.
Q. Blake, how difficult was it to play this game?
BLAKE GRIFFIN: Just like every other game. It really was. That's not sugarcoating anything. Every day, like I said yesterday, there's distractions all the time. All the time there's distractions. And you just go out and play basketball. I just thought we didn't do what we were supposed to do and we didn't stick to the things that made us successful in Game 2 and 3.
Q. Blake, that being said, any way you can sum up your feelings in the last 48 hours, what you guys have been through and been asked to do and to set it aside?
BLAKE GRIFFIN: We just have to lock it in and get ready for Game 5. That's all there is to it, really. I mean, that's our feelings is we gotta correct our mistakes and get better.
Q. DeAndre didn't have one of his customary games and he was one of the first players to speak out about this matter. Do you think the surrounding events impacted what happened or was it just a random bad game?
BLAKE GRIFFIN: I really can't speak on that. I don't know. I couldn't tell you. Everybody has games that aren't as good as others. I think honestly I think we all really had one of those games tonight. So I can't really I couldn't really tell you.
Q. Could you just talk about the mental fortitude that's necessary, the focus that's necessary to have in the playoffs to win games?
BLAKE GRIFFIN: Especially on the road. I mean, your mental fortitude, like you said, has got to be strong. It's a great environment in there and it's a great place to play. Even for us, it's fun to play in an arena like this. So we just gotta do a little bit better job of really staying together. After one or two turnovers, you have to kind of look at each other and say, All right, that's enough. Really take care of the ball, do the small things, because those small things are what adds to a 3 there or a 3 there, offensive rebound, another two points, and all of a sudden you're down 11, down 15, whatever it is.
Q. Blake, you talked about the series going back. What kind of atmosphere you're expecting on Tuesday night?
BLAKE GRIFFIN: I mean, I hope the fans are great. I think our home crowd can be even better. I really do. I think that really helps us out when we have a great crowd and a rowdy crowd. Just like you see how they looked playing here. We can't lose the sight we had to come here and get one because we gave up one there. And we got that. But now we have to obviously finish it out.
Q. Blake, obviously we know what a great coach Doc Rivers is. How important is it and how much do you appreciate having a guy like him, and can you talk about how he kind of helped to keep you guys focused these last 48 hours, because I know he's an intense guy. He feels just as strongly as you do. Maybe that age. Maybe that experience. It kind of helps?
BLAKE GRIFFIN: Both. He's been through a lot as a player and a coach and, honestly, as a person. I mean, the stories he has from growing up back in the day, the things he talks to us about are big. And I think that helps. I mean, I've said this several times throughout the season, but every time Doc speaks, it's a learning experience for me. And I really believe that. You learn from people that have been in situations, and I think he does a great job of being in this situation and then taking from that situation what you need to and really learning from that. And that's a special thing. So we just gotta trust him. We gotta trust each other, trust him, trust our coaching staff, and go from there.
Q. Blake, at what one point does it click over, you touched on this, that this trip basketball wise was a success and that you got the game you needed? When does that start coming up between you guys as players?
BLAKE GRIFFIN: I think guys know it. But the sting of that loss is still there. And I think it should be there. I don't think we should just be like, Hey, it's all right; we got a win, it's fine. I think we should let this sink in. But at the same time it's a three game series now. We have home court advantage, and we just gotta get it done.
Q. Stephen, you got off really well in the first quarter. I don't think you've shot so explosively in this series yet. What was different?
STEPHEN CURRY: We tried to come out with a sense of urgency. That's been a big problem in the first three games, as a team we haven't started games off well and they've gotten, I think, a double digit lead each first quarter. So we moved the ball well, gotta set screens, but we executed at a higher pace. And we do that, it's tough to guard. Obviously you've gotta make shots and try to get momentum on your side.
Q. Were you more urgent?
STEPHEN CURRY: I was looking for any space I could get. And like I said, I come off screens, usually they have been trying to trap, and the passes is pretty much open and into the paint, and guys were able to make plays, but tonight I was able to step into a couple of quick 3s. And once you hit a couple early, it seems like there's more space that opens up.
Q. Andre, Coach Jackson had mentioned during the week he wanted to see more out of you. Obviously averaging eight points, I know you wanted to contribute more. Was there a conscious effort on your part to go to the hoop more today? You had some good looks. Obviously had a great game.
ANDRE IGUODALA: Game 1 I felt really good. That's probably the best I felt all year. I just got fouled out. I really didn't get an opportunity to finish up on what I started. And Game 2 was Game 2. They took that game from us. And Game 3 I actually felt pretty good, too, but tonight it just came together. Like Steph said, the urgency to getting our sets and execute was at a higher level. And I think our defense led to our transition game, which is random offense, which is probably the hardest thing to guard in basketball. And things were clicking for us.
Q. Stephen, rather than late in the game as you guys were pulling away, you blocked a shot of J.J. Redick, and then it looked like you let out a really loud scream of some sort. Could you talk about how jacked up you were at that point?
STEPHEN CURRY: You're trying to close out the game, and game is like, four, five minutes left, and you understand you get a couple stops with the lead we had that we could pretty much seal the deal for tonight and tie the series.
So we've gotta be playing some great defense the whole game as a team, flying around, helping each other, talking. And when you make a play like that, I don't get too many blocks. So I was definitely happy. And I had to realize that there was still time on the shot clock and get back into the play. But just excited that our attention to detail on the defensive end allowed us to play a more complete game tonight and make it tough for them.
Q. Andre, Coach said that after Game 3 you promised him that you guys were going to take Game 4. What made you so confident?
ANDRE IGUODALA: You can kind of see that they had it all going for them. They had a really good rhythm and they were feeling really good about themselves and they were really excited after they won Game 3. Like really excited. And that kind of let me know that they just gutted it out. I mean, right there, we're not even playing our best basketball. So I think Jermaine O'Neal mentioned it to us, we found something that will work for us. And I knew we'd be ready to play. The thing I'm most happy about is that we didn't panic. You go down 2 1, kind of feels like the world's going to end from the outside looking in. And fans are kind of like panicking, we can't lose, we can't lose. But we kept our composure, did what we had to do and we got tonight's win.
Q. Andre, the Clippers have been going through a lot lately. Did any part of you feel bad for them?
ANDRE IGUODALA: Feel bad for every single player in the NBA. It's just not the Clippers. There's a partnership with all the owners, revenue sharing, so one owner represents every owner in our league. Just like when one player makes a mistake, it's a black eye for the whole body of players. So it's not just about the Clippers, it's about every single player who goes out there and gives it their all every single night for our fans. And it's a sad situation that someone feels a certain way about the majority of the players in this league.
Q. Follow up question. I'm used to seeing in an NBA game before the first tip off players knock hands and say hello. You don't seem to do that with the Clippers. Why is that? I don't mean you personally, no one.
ANDRE IGUODALA: It's the playoffs. You see each other every night. You do it the first game, and then we'll do it at the end of the series. You're familiar with them and we understand there's a respect level out on the court. Every night we're going to go at it, be competitive, and that's kind of the expectation.
Q. Steph, was there a point where you decided to look for your shot early even if they were double teaming?
STEPHEN CURRY: It's not good offense if I go out there trying to force stuff because we have so much talent on the floor that if I can be aggressive, attacking angles, drawing two guys, eventually they're going to have to make an adjustment because I trust every single guy that's out there with me to make plays. To be able to move the ball, you know, and allow guys to get to their spot to make plays, that's great offense as opposed to me just flinging up contested jump shots all day. But early in the first quarter I was able to find a way to set my man up so we could get a good screen on him and come off a lot freer than I had in the previous three games and able to step into some rhythm jump shots. And I was looking for it. But not going to force the issue to the point where I'm taking away from good offensive possessions for the rest of the team out there.
Q. Steph and Andre, could you both talk about this a little bit. I know the last 24 hours have been major distraction. But it seems like the goal of an athlete has always been to deal with distraction and get into focus and get into zone. This is the most major distraction I could ever remember an NBA team ever having to deal with in any situation. How did you guys deal with that? And did it actually help you give you a little more motivation, or was it not a factor today at all?
STEPHEN CURRY: I think for me the way we dealt with it the last 24 hours is understanding the important thing right now, regardless of what's been said or the perception of one individual, like Andre said, the majority of the basketball players in the NBA, is it's all about what goes on in the court. We have some dedicated fans that show up every night, and to allow one comment or a lot of comments take away from that experience and that part of this time of year, it's not worth it. So we wanted to come out and focus on all the work we've put in over the summer, throughout the course of the season to get ready for this moment in the playoffs and just have fun and enjoy it, not let one person ruin it for everybody.
ANDRE IGUODALA: To me, personally, interesting I was reading a book last night called Love Does, and the specific chapter was about not giving the word Satan you don't put a capital letter on it. He says, I refuse to put the capital letter on satan and we give it too much attention. In this instance I think we have to ignorance and look at the bigger picture in who we affect, which is our fans, kids, globally, and show we can overcome something like that.
Warriors vs. Clippers: Game 7Chris Paul scores 22 points with 14 assists and DeAndre Jordan grabs 18 rebounds as the Clippers beat the Warriors 126-121 and win the series 4-3.
Play of the Day: DeAndre JordanDeAndre Jordan blocks Stephen Curry and on the other end, J.J. Redick feeds Blake Griffin for the alley-oop slam.
Paul and Griffin Postgame - 5/3/14Chris Paul and Blake Griffin address the media after the Game 7 win.
Doc Rivers Postgame - 5/3/14Doc Rivers addresses the media following the Game 7 win over the Warriors.
HerculesChris Paul misses on the jumper and DeAndre Jordan gets the putback slam.
Relentless AttackChris Paul works all around the court and finds a seam to knock down the floater.
To The TinChris Paul drives into the lane, gets to the rim and converts the layup.
Championship EffortDeAndre Jordan blocks Stephen Curry and on the other end, J.J. Redick feeds Blake Griffin for the alley-oop slam.
DJ StrikesChris Paul lobs it to DeAndre Jordan who spikes home the one-handed alley-oop slam.
Clippers BallDanny Granger gets the steal and feeds J.J. Redick for the 3-pointer.
CP3 Sticks ItWith the shotclock winding down, Chris Paul gets separation and drills the pull up jumper.
Doc Rivers Pregame - 5/3/14Doc Rivers addresses the media prior to Game 7.
JJ Redick 5/3JJ Redick talks to media as Clippers prepare for Game 7.
Jamal Crawford 5/3Jamal Crawford talks to media as the Clippers prepare for Game 7
Chris Paul 5/2Chris Paul talks to media as the Clippers anticipate Saturday's Game 7.
DeAndre Jordan 5/2DeAndre Jordan talks to media as the Clippers prepare for Game 7.
Blake Griffin 5/2Blake Griffin talks to media as Clippers prepare for Saturday's Game 7.
Doc's MessageDoc Rivers wants you to know that it's not just the team that's been affected by recent events.
LACtv Postgame: Game 6 vs WarriorsThe Clippers fall in game 6 at Oracle Arena.
Postgame: Doc Rivers | 5/1/2014Doc Rivers addresses the media after tonight's game against the Warriors.
|Chris Paul and Blake Griffin Named to 2014 All-NBA Team June 04, 2014||Chris Paul All-Defensive First Team June 02, 2014||Spirit Dance Team: Clippers vs. Thunder | Game 6 | 5/15/2014 May 16, 2014||Game Action: Clippers vs. Thunder: Game 6 | 5/15/2014 May 16, 2014|
|Clippers vs. Thunder: Game 6 | 5/15/2014 May 15, 2014||Game 5 | Clippers vs. Thunder | 5/13/2014 May 13, 2014|
The Clippers work in Oakland is just beginning as they are determined to take a commanding 3-1 series lead in Game 4 of their best-of-seven series with the Golden State Warriors on Sunday afternoon at Oracle Arena.
“We feel like this game on Sunday is maybe more important than this past game on Thursday. It’s a big game for us,” Chris Paul said. “We really need this game, especially going back home.”
Los Angeles now holds a 2-1 edge and regained home-court advantage in Game 3, defeating the Warriors, 98-96. Despite the Clippers being in a favorable position, Doc Rivers won’t let his team get ahead of themselves, and expects even more.
“We got a 2-1 lead, and as far as I’m concerned, that means zero to us,” Rivers said. “We need to be better.”
THREE THINGS TO WATCH
1. Chris Paul’s defense. Yes, Chris Paul is born to assist. Yes, Paul is the ultimate leader. Yes, Paul is one of the premier closers in the NBA. What separates Paul from the other elite point guards may be his stellar defense. Paul continues to slow down Stephen Curry and bothers Klay Thompson, despite a 7-inch height disparity with the Warriors shooting guard.
“Chris Paul, and I've said it all year, he always guards the best guy. He doesn't hide,” Rivers said. “Chris Paul, he's a phenomenal defender. I think we all know that.”
As Blake Griffin evolves and becomes the focal point of the offense, Paul realized his main priority in this series was on the defensive end of the floor.
“I told the guys in the locker room I sort of feel like Tony Allen trying to be a defensive stopper. Like going into the game, that's my focus,” Paul said. “It's not how many shots I can get up, how many points I'm going to score. It's all about defense and trying to make things tough and slow them down.”
2. Potential Warriors Adjustments. Without Warriors center Andrew Bogut, who is sidelined indefinitely due to a fractured rib, Mark Jackson has resorted to small ball often. Jackson wouldn’t fully commit to the small ball strategy going forward, however he admitted he is considering doing so starting in Game 4.
“We made adjustments (in Game 3) and got some good looks off adjustments that were made,” Jackson said. “So, I think when you at the series overall, as a coach, it’s a chess match.”
Jermaine O’Neal was Golden State’s lone center to log action with a mere 16 minutes and Jackson has hinted at potentially starting Draymond Green in O’Neal’s place in Game 4. No matter the Warriors’ lineup, Rivers has usually countered by maintaining status quo, keeping Griffin and DeAndre Jordan on the court.
“I stay big most of the time to be honest,” Rivers said. “At the end of quarters I'll go small because I'm thinking we can get a match‑up on the other end if we can get a stop,” Rivers said. “But for the most part because of the ability of D.J. and Blake to be able to switch even on smalls, we stayed big 95% of the time.”
3. Blake Griffin making history. After accumulating only 19 minutes in Game 1, Griffin has made his presence felt in a gigantic way in the preceding contests. Griffin notched 67 points in Game 2 and Game 3 combined, and owns an astronomical total of 83 points in 93 minutes in the series.
“[Blake Griffin] has just been great,” Rivers said. “He’s making jump shots. The bank shot that he's added to his game facing the basket has taken him to a different level because it's very difficult now to guard him. If you get up on him, he goes around you. You back off of him, and he can use the glass.”
With 30-plus points on Sunday, Griffin could become the first Clippers player to notch 30 points or more in three consecutive playoff games since Elton Brand in 2006. He’s had a career-high 35 points in Game 2 and followed that up with 32 points in Game 3.
The Clippers are 5-3 in their last eight Game 4’s since relocating to Los Angeles… Jordan’s 22 rebounds in Game 3 were the most in a postseason outing since Dwight Howard’s 22 on May 14, 2009… The Clippers have connected on 30 3-pointers through three games, which is the most in the 2014 Playoffs… If the Clippers win Game 4, they will enter the record books again as the sole team in franchise history with three straight playoff victories…
GSW: Andrew Bogut (fractured rib) is sidelined indefinitely. Festus Ezeli (recovering from right knee surgery) won’t play.
THE LAST WORD
Doc Rivers: “They (Warriors) are going to come out desperate and so are we. And if we do that, it will be a hell of a game.”
Game 1: Warriors 109, Clippers 105
Game 2: Clippers 138, Warriors 98
Game 3: Clippers 98, Warriors 96
Game 4: At Oracle Arena, Apr. 27, 2014
Game 5: At Staples Center, Apr. 29, 2014
Game 6: At Oracle Arena, May 1, 2014*
Game 7: At Staples Center, May 3, 2014*