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(LAC Wins Series 4-3)
It had all the drama and excitement you’d want from a Game 7, but the Warriors came up just short in Saturday’s 126-121 loss to the Clippers in Los Angeles. The Warriors led for the majority of the game, but the Clippers made more plays down the stretch of a back-and-forth fourth quarter that featured six lead changes. Stephen Curry went 16-for-16 on free throws and had a game-high 33 points and nine assists, while Draymond Green came through with 24 points, including 5-for-8 on 3-pointers. Klay Thompson, Andre Iguodala, David Lee, Jordan Crawford and Marreese Speights each scored in double figures for the Dubs, who led by as many as 12 points. The Clippers got back into the game with a 31-20 third quarter and then scored on their final nine possessions to seize control of the game and advance to the Western Conference Semifinals. The Game 7 defeat ends a great run for the Dubs, who will surely be back and ready to go for the 2014-15 season this fall.
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.”
On his future with the Warriors:
“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 be fine, and that's even if I'm a full-time pastor. It's going to work out.”
On if this season was a success or 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.”
On comparing this playoff exit with last season's series loss to the Spurs:
“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.”
On Coach Jackson's postgame speech to the team:
“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.”
On his performance this season:
“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.”
On this potentially being the last game of his career:
“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.”
On 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.”
ALL COMES DOWN TO THIS
To anybody who has watched the Warriors and Clippers go head-to-head over the last two seasons, the fact that this first round series is going to a decisive Game 7 shouldn’t be that big of a surprise. Saturday’s win-or-go-home matchup between division rivals will mark the end of a seven-game slugfest, and whoever is left standing will go on to play the winner of another Game 7 matchup, that one between the Grizzlies and Thunder. The stakes are obviously high for both teams, and the Warriors will look to finish the series how they started it, by grinding out a win on the road. Tipoff is set for 7:30 p.m. and fans will be able to watch on CSN Bay Area and TNT, or listen to Tim Roye and Tom Tolbert with the call on KNBR 1050.
LAST TIME OUT
The Warriors stared elimination in the face and scratched, clawed and escaped with a 100-99 win over the Clippers on Thursday night in front of another wild crowd at Oracle Arena. It wasn’t pretty, but the Dubs were the aggressors throughout the night, and they were rewarded with a trip to Los Angeles on Saturday for a series deciding Game 7. Stephen Curry led the way with 24 points and nine assists and Draymond Green had a huge night, finishing with 14 points, 14 rebounds, five steals, four assists and some incredible defense on Blake Griffin. Andre Iguodala had 11 of his 15 points in the second half, including a clutch 3-pointer that fouled Griffin out of the game and put the Dubs up seven with 2:31 left in the game. It turns out the Dubs needed every bit of that seven-point advantage, as the Clippers cut the deficit down to one in the final seconds. The Warriors didn’t secure the win until Green, with 0.4 seconds on the clock, tipped a missed free throw away from the Clippers and the final buzzer sounded, making the Dubs' Game 6 win official. GAME RECAP
WHAT TO EXPECT IN GAME 7
The Warriors and Clippers have faced each other 10 times between the regular season and playoffs this season, and each team has won five of those matchups. The season series, in addition to this playoff series, will be determined by Saturday’s matchup, and in a best-of-one series, anything can happen. Whether it’s a reserve player stepping up for a player in foul trouble or a four-minute hot streak that results in multiple 3-pointers, anything can be the difference maker when it comes down to a single game. By now, each team knows the other’s strategy and offensive and defensive sets. There might be a new wrinkle thrown in the mix for Game 7 here and there, but there probably won’t be any huge surprises. Rather, for the Warriors, it will be all about approaching the game with the same intensity and ferociousness in which they met Game 6, and if they do that, they’ll certainly give themselves a chance to win the game.
One player who has signified this Warriors’ resilient spirit is Draymond Green. He’s not as big as Blake Griffin, not as fast, but he’s as strong as a bull and his toughness is certainly one of the reasons that the Warriors have a chance to win this playoff series on Saturday. Green now has three double-doubles in this series, and on Thursday he became first Warrior to record a point/rebound double-double while swiping five steals in the playoffs since Clifford Ray did so on May 12, 1976 vs. Phoenix (15 points, 16 rebounds, five steals). The second-year forward out of Michigan State has proved to be one of the most important players for the Warriors in this series, and fans let him know that with MVP chants as Green knocked down a pair of clutch free throws late in the fourth quarter on Thursday. It will be imperative that he avoid foul trouble in Saturday’s Game 7. Green is the Dubs’ best shot at defending Griffin, who will surely be looking to bounce back after Draymond and company held him to 8-for-24 shooting. If the Warriors can frustrate Griffin into another inefficient game, and surely Green will be involved with that, then the Dubs can find themselves playing again early next week against the Thunder or Grizzlies.
ALL EYES ON PAUL
One of the reasons that made this series so interesting from the outset was the point guard matchup. Chris Paul has long been recognized as one of the best, if not the best, point guard in the world, and Stephen Curry may be starting to crowd in on Paul’s spotlight. Although Paul has hit some big shots and has played some quality defense on Curry, he hasn’t been the Clippers’ most effective player in this series, and part of that probably has to do with the fact that he’s not 100 percent. There’s an issue with his right hamstring, he now has a left thumb injury and there is also the flat out fatigue from chasing Curry around the court for the last six games. But all of that doesn’t really matter and Paul will be the last one to make any excuses. The Clippers, playing their most important game of the season, need their leader and how much he can give will certainly impact who wins and who goes home on Saturday.
GSW: Jermaine O'Neal (right knee bone bruise) is questionable. Andrew Bogut (rib fracture) and Nemanja Nedovic (strained right calf) are out indefinitely and Festus Ezeli (recovery from right knee surgery) is out.
LAC: Hedo Turkoglu (Hairline Fracture of Transverse Process in Lower Back) is doubtful.
LAC: Hedo Turkoglu (Hairline Fracture of Transverse Process in Lower Back) is doubtful.