Cassell Sparks Rally as Clippers Edge Warriors
L.A. Clippers 96, Golden State 93
OAKLAND, Calif., Jan. 23 (Ticker) -- Sam Cassell and the Los Angeles Clippers were rewarded for not giving up when a victory looked out out of reach.
Cassell scored 13 of his 24 points in the fourth quarter for the Clippers, who rallied from a 19-point deficit to stun the Golden State Warriors, 96-93, in the back end of a home-and-home series.
"We came back from the dead on this one," Los Angeles coach Mike Dunleavy said. "It was halfway in the can for us and to come back on the road like that, I told our guys, 'We'll look back on this win somewhere along the way and say that was huge.'"
"It was a huge win for us," Brand said. "Being down 19, we just kept fighting. We figured if we tightened up our defense, the same shots they were making they would miss and they did. They're in the Pacific, they're behind us, vying for a playoff spot also, and I think we'll look down the line and say this was a big win for us. To come back like this was great, a great team effort."
The Clippers trailed, 74-55, after a jumper by Jason Richardson with 3:50 left in the third quarter, but they pulled within 76-66 entering the fourth and tied the game, 87-87, on a jumper by Cuttino Mobley with 3:39 to play.
Cassell gave Los Angeles a 94-93 edge on a pair of free throws with 1:10 to go. After a fruitless possession by each team, the Warriors got the ball and called timeout with 19 seconds left.
The Warriors inbounded the ball to Davis, who milked the clock before attempting to beat Quinton Ross with a crossover move. But Davis lost control of his dribble and had to dive on the floor before calling timeout with exactly two seconds left. However, there was just one second left on the shot clock, and Troy Murphy could not corral Mike Dunleavy Jr.'s inbounds pass before the shot clock expired.
"I was supposed to go on a pick-and-roll but I got isolated and usually I can get a shot off. Tonight I wasn't able to do it," Davis said. "I was confident I could get the shot off and beat them at the end. It's something that I live for, being the hero or the goat, taking a big shot, and I was unable to get a shot off and I'm very disappointed in myself for that."
"We were down one, we wanted to go early," Golden State coach Mike Montgomery said. "Baron elected to hold and put us in an awkward situation. I thought we could get something there, get Troy coming up the middle to go and create something to the basket or get a kickout down one. But that's not what we did."
Cassell was fouled with nine-tenths of a second left and sank both free throws - though he intended to miss the second one - for a 96-93 edge, and Derek Fisher could not hold onto a desperation inbounds pass at mid-court as time elapsed.
"We were dead tonight, but we are going to play till there are four zeros on the clock and that's what we did," Cassell said. "We gave ourselves a chance to win the game. We came up with some big stops and made some big plays, that's how we won the game.
"This was a big game for us. We needed this game just as much as they needed it and we got it. This victory says a lot about our ballclub."
Jason Richardson scored 20 points and Murphy added 16 and a season-high 20 rebounds for the Warriors, who slipped to 1-7 against Pacific Division opponents.
"They've won six games against us, they got one of the playoff spots that we're fighting for and they're in the Pacific Division," Richardson said. "Of course we want to win these games. It hurts."
The Warriors did themselves no favors at the line, making just 11-of-23 attempts. The Clippers sank 28-of-36 free throws.