FINAL | January 21, 2013 | Oracle Arena, Oakland, CA  

Clippers

33

19

28

19

99

LOGO

33

20

20

33

106

 

ERIC PATTEN 

OAKLAND–It is a well-known adage that the NBA is a game of runs and on Monday afternoon the Golden State Warriors had one extra run in them to rally past the Clippers, 106-99, at Oracle Arena on Martin Luther King Day.  

The victory gave the Warriors (25-15) a 3-1 advantage in the season series with the Clippers (32-10) and prevented their Pacific Division foe from overtaking the Oklahoma City Thunder (32-9) for the best record in the NBA. The Clippers play the Thunder at Staples Center Tuesday.

The Clippers vaulted themselves to a seven-point lead entering the fourth quarter with a 15-2 run, but Stephen Curry’s three 3-pointers in the first six minutes of the quarter quickly erased it. Curry then connected on another 3-pointer to give the Warriors a 99-95 lead with 1:26 remaining as part of a 12-4 run by the Warriors to close the game.

“[Curry’s] a really good player,” Clippers head coach Vinny Del Negro said. “And that’s what they do. He’s having a very good year and he’s finally healthy a little bit and that’s what he’s capable of doing. He’s going to make shots. I mean, he’s one of the best shooters in the league.”

The stretch from Golden State to open the fourth resembled a run early in the second quarter when they took a 10-point lead in large part by dictating the pace.

“We have to do a better job of controlling the pace of the game,” Lamar Odom said. “We were up seven. I thought we were in a good position to win the basketball game and they came back and couldn’t close them out.”

Still, the Clippers, playing with superstar Chris Paul, who missed three games last week, clearly hobbled by a bruised right kneecap, strung together a run of their own, pulling within one at halftime.

Paul came up limping twice in the game, once after falling awkwardly in the first quarter and again after colliding with Jarrett Jack on a jump shot attempt.

“I was trying to get through it and I sort of take this loss on me because I sort of felt like I hurt the team trying to play through it,” said Paul, who scored a season-low four points on 1-of-7 shooting. “I’m just made because I feel like I let a game get away. I didn’t feel like I could do what I wanted to do.”

Paul said he is unsure where things stand as far as availability against Oklahoma City. “We’re going to evaluate it here in a little bit.”

Difference Maker: Curry scored 16 of his game-high 28 points in the fourth quarter and seemingly connected on a big shot whenever the Warriors most needed it. He closed the game out with four free throws after knocking down his dagger 3-pointer around a screen from the right wing to make it 99-95. During his prolific stretch in the opening minutes of the fourth, a 3-pointer cut the Clippers’ lead to 82-80 and led to a timeout by Del Negro. As the teams retook the floor, chants of “Beat L-A” rained down from the Oracle Arena patrons.

Curry finished 9-of-14 from the field and 6-for-8 from long distance, adding six assists. He also played through foul trouble. Early in the third he was whistled for his fourth foul, but Warriors head coach Mark Jackson elected to keep Curry in the game. He would not pick up another one.  

Moment of Truth: Curry’s 3-pointer with 1:26 left effectively won the game for Golden State, but that was preceded by consecutive empty possessions from the Clippers. A pass from Blake Griffin was tipped by Carl Landry off Matt Barnes for the team’s 14th turnover and Jamal Crawford missed a wild floater on the next possession. Barnes tied up Landry as the two battled for the rebound on Crawford’s errant 10-footer. But Landry won the jump ball and 15 seconds later Curry made his game-altering 3-pointer.

Stat Line of the Night: Griffin. With Paul clearly not himself, Griffin had one of his finest all-around games of the season. He scored a team-high 26 points, bouncing back from a paltry shooting night on Saturday to go 11-for-18 (4-for-6 from the line), grabbed 13 rebounds, dished eight assists, blocked two shots and nabbed three steals in 41 minutes.

More Stats: 

Crawford. At a few points it seemed like the Clippers would overcome Paul’s four-point night and Crawford was a major part of that. He put together a personal run of eight-straight points in the first quarter, capped by a 3-pointer that appeared to have been attempted from outside of Alameda County. He finished with 24 points on 9-for-18 shooting, including season highs in 3-pointer makes (six) and attempts (11).

Caron Butler. He made a 3-pointer in each of the first three periods, going 3-for-7 overall, and scored 19 points with five rebounds, three assists, two steals and a block in 25:37.

Jack. In 33:02, Jack gave Golden State 18 points and 10 assists. Teamed with Curry and second-year guard Klay Thompson, it gives the Warriors an additional ball-handling and scoring threat.

“The luxury of having Jack in the game at the same time is when Klay and Stephen are coming off those screen—it’s pick your poison,”  Jackson said. “Those guys make plays and make plays off of it.”

Hot: Golden State from three. They boast two of the best shot-makers from 3-point range in the league with Curry and Thompson and proved it Monday. The backcourt duo went 9-for-18 from distance.

Not: Odom. He went 2-for-9 from the field, missing all but a put-back tip in and a dunk off a feed from Paul in the final minute. Odom said it was frustrating not being able to convert.

“When [the Warriors] were going on that run, [I missed] some plays that I usually finish,” Odom said. “I’m not doing a good job at the free throw line. All I can do is keep plugging away and stay at it, stay at it, stay at it and I’ll make those plays.”

Despite his struggles from the floor, Odom managed eight rebounds and four assists off the bench.

Quotables:

On the Warriors-Clippers matchup:

Odom: “They chin-checked us but hopefully we’ll get a chance to play them down the road.”

Thompson: “This is a testament unto how much we have grown as a team because they’re one of the better teams in the NBA, their record proves it. Them, the Lakers and Kings are our California rivals, so we love winning against them.”

On expending energy during 15-2 run:

Crawford: “It was tough. We used a lot of energy to get back. Sometimes it’s like that, especially against a team like this. They have a lot of confidence, especially in this building.”

On playing on Martin Luther King Day:

Del Negro: "What Dr. King represented is of value to everybody and it should be respected. It's great to have a day like this where we honor him"

Notes: Grant Hill (healthy scratch) did not play as the Clippers look towards Tuesday’s matchup with the Thunder at Staples Center… The Clippers assisted on 32 of their 38 made field goals… It was the third game in a row the Clippers failed to score 100 points. They had scored 100 or more in 26 of their first 39 games… Jack addressed the Oracle Arena crowd prior to tipoff, praising the life and influence of Dr. King…

 

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