POSTGAME REPORT: CLIPPERS 110, WARRIORS 114 - 11/3/12

LOS ANGELES – After twice spotting the undermanned Golden State Warriors a 14-point lead, the Clippers spent most of Saturday night trying to climb back in the game.

But a series of tough baskets by Jarrett Jack and Stephen Curry and a charging call against Chris Paul on a game-tying layup attempt proved insurmountable as the Clippers fell for the first time in the new season, 114-110.

“I thought the first quarter set the tone for the game,” Clippers head coach Vinny Del Negro said. “And then we were battling uphill for the rest of it. Our starters didn’t get off to a good start, which is their responsibility.”

Golden State (2-1), playing without center Andrew Bogut (resting surgically repaired ankle) and swingman Brandon Rush (torn ACL) got off to a 9-0 start before Caron Butler scored on feed from Blake Griffin to break the Clippers’ early scoring drought. From there, the game was marred by 10 technical fouls, including two for defensive 3-second violations, and 91 free throw attempts.


The Clippers (2-1) climbed to within four by halftime and thanks to 16 points in the third quarter from Butler, who had 20 in the game, they hung close until a 10-2 spurt by the Warriors in the first two minutes of the fourth effectively wiped out any ground L.A. made up.

Still, they drew even twice in the final two minutes and had a chance to do so again with 42.4 seconds left. But after making his first 19 free throws, Paul missed number 20, which would have tied the game. A possession later, with the Clippers down by two, Paul was whistled for the offensive foul when Curry slid under the rim as Paul banked in a tying layup.

Difference Maker: Stephen Curry. Not only did the Warriors point guard draw the game-changing charging call against Paul, but he made a runner and three of his final four free throws to help close out the game.

Turning Point: Despite a less than energetic start, the Clippers worked to get back in the game. But they never nabbed a lead. After narrowing the deficit to four on a layup by Bledsoe, the Clippers promptly allowed the Warriors to score 12 of the next 14 points. It was too large of a deficit to overcome twice.

Stat Line of the Night: Blake Griffin. He looked to be off to a monster evening after picking up three assists and four rebounds in the early part of the first quarter. But as the game wore on, Griffin’s numbers waned… a little. He finished with 19 points, 11 rebounds, four assists, three steals and went 11-of-16 from the free throw line, upping his free throw percentage to 65.4% in three games.

More Stats: 

Crawford. He continued his torrid pace off the bench, scoring a game-high tying 27 points and connecting on four 3-pointers. His biggest shot of the night came after three of his teammates touched the ball on a play in transition. Ultimately, Butler found Crawford alone in the right corner and reserve guard tied the game at 105 with 2 minutes left.

Paul. In compiling his third consecutive double-double, Paul had a game-high tying 27 points to go along with 10 assists. He made both of his 3-point attempts and set a franchise record with 19-straight made free throws and tied a franchise mark in makes.

Curry. In 43 minutes, Curry matched teammate Carl Landry with a team-high 23 points and connected on 9-of-10 free throws.

Hot: Jack. Paul’s former teammate in New Orleans scored 16 points with seven assists and six rebounds off the bench and made five of his eight shots and all six of his free throws, including four in the final 1:47 to answer Clipper baskets.

Not: The Clippers bench outside of Jamal Crawford. Matt Barnes, Lamar Odom and Eric Bledsoe combined to go 3-for-13 from the field and commit nine fouls.

Quotables:

On the Clippers’ slow start:

Crawford: "We came out flat and they came out hitting everything.”

Griffin: “We’ve got to be ready right out of the gate, no matter if it’s a back-to-back, no matter if we come off an emotional win. It has to be at a high level every night because we have that target on our back now.”

On the final play:

Paul: "I was thinking about raising up for the three, but [Lee] gave me a lane and I drove. I saw the layup. I thought it was minimal contact. I looked at the replay, [Curry] was outside the charge circle.”

On holding off the Clippers’ final push:

Curry: "Obviously, they were at home and they were going to keep pushing, but we just found a way to grind it out and make big plays in the fourth quarter and force them into tough shots.”

Notes: It was the 52nd sellout in a row for the Clippers at Staples Center… The first two quarters lasted nearly an hour and a half and featured 33 personal fouls, seven technicals, and 48 free throw attempts between the two teams… Of the eight technical fouls called on individuals, four were on Clippers (DeAndre Jordan, Paul, Griffin, and Matt Barnes)… The Warriors went 28-for-39 from the line, compared to 40-of-52 for the Clippers… Golden State out-rebounded the Clippers 48-33, owning a 16-7 edge on the offensive glass.