Game #30 | December 25, 2013
Oracle Arena | Oakland, CA

  • 105

  • 103


26 14 11 6 2














OAKLAND – Manufactured or not, it looked a lot like a rivalry.

After two days of both teams denying the Clippers and Warriors have any extra disdain for one another, a heated Christmas Day finale that roared late into Wednesday night likely proved otherwise.

Playing without Blake Griffin, who was ejected following two controversial technical fouls, for the final 10:43, Chris Paul and the Clippers had five chances to tie or take the lead in the waning seconds, but could not convert.

The Warriors won, 105-103, coming back from a 13-point first-half deficit at Oracle Arena and snapping the Clippers’ five-game winning streak.

Griffin had 20 points, 14 rebounds and five assists in 32 minutes before being ejected. Paul finished with 26 points and 11 assists. And DeAndre Jordan had 13 points, 13 rebounds and six blocked shots.

The Clippers (20-10), without Griffin, did not go quietly.

Paul missed a layup, absorbing contact from Harrison Barnes in traffic, that rolled off the rim. The shot could have pulled the Clippers even with 9.3 seconds to go.

“I’ve got to finish that,” Paul said. ”Who cares whether [my defender] fouled me or not, that’s a layup, I’ve got to make that. That’s probably the most frustrating part about the entire game.”

But after Andre Iguodala missed a pair of free throws on the other end the Clippers had one more opportunity.

Paul’s driving layup was knocked out of bounds, though, and Jamal Crawford, who had 19 points, missed a desperation 3-pointer for the win at the buzzer that appeared on line but fell a few inches short of the rim from the right wing.  

It was a wild finish to a night that will likely be remembered for Griffin’s two technical fouls in less than two minutes than any 16-6 offensive rebounding advantage by the Warriors, big shots by Stephen Curry who was locked up for most of the night by Paul and Darren Collison, or career-best 13th double-double for Jordan.

For all of the offensive fireworks in the Clippers’ 126-115 victory over the Warriors on Halloween, including Paul and Curry’s duel and Griffin’s three consecutive alley-oops, Wednesday was more of a grappling match.

It all boiled over in the fourth quarter when Golden State was assessed flagrant fouls within 1:17 of each other against Griffin. Draymond Green elbowed Griffin in the face and was ejected for a Flagrant Foul 2 and three possessions later Andrew Bogut and Griffin became tangled up on a rebound and Bogut earned a Flagrant Foul 1. However, Griffin was whistled for technical fouls in both incidents, leading to his ejection with 10:43 to play. 

It did not sit well with Clippers head coach Doc Rivers.

I thought we were kicking their butt and they went to something else,” Rivers said, suggesting the Warriors tried to bait Griffin into getting ejected. “That’s fine. We have to have better composure and just keep playing, there’s no doubt about that. But I thought the basketball part of it, we were showing them pretty well. All the other stuff worked in their favor. It was a smart thing for them to do.”

In the first half, the Clippers effectively kept the crowd that was vociferously chanting ‘Let’s go Warriors” minutes before tipoff out of the game. They opened up an 8-0 lead before Golden State scored on a Bogut dunk out of a timeout. They led by as many as 13 and outshot the Warriors by 10.2 percent in the half.

But they held a tenuous, 53-51, lead after Golden State scored 14 of the last 20 points of the second quarter and a pair of 3-pointers by Iguodala and Curry, who did not score for nearly 21 minutes, briefly woke the crowd up.

And the Clippers could only extinguish them for so long. Golden State began the second half on an 11-4 run and down 62-57 the Clippers appeared in trouble. But they leaned on their stars to quell the Warriors’ momentum. Jordan, Griffin and Paul scored curtailed the run, prevented Golden State from racing away from them and helped the Clippers to a 77-74 at the end of the third.

It appeared the Clippers had the game back under control until Griffin was thrown out. Still, they withstood another push by the Warriors, using an undersized backcourt of Paul, Collison and Crawford. A long 3-pointer by Crawford over Iguodala tied it at 94 with 5:02 to go and Paul and Curry swapped baskets over the next couple of minutes and a pair of free throws by Harrison Barnes broke a 103 all tie at the 1:09 mark. Neither team would score again.

Rivers said despite a number of miscues, including allowing the Warriors to attempt 14 more shots, he was impressed that his team still put themselves in position to win.

“We had chances to win without one of our best players out on the floor,” Rivers said. “We had two layups.”

But they were for naught. And after Paul, Bogut and nearly every member of their respective rosters were exchanging heated words after the buzzer, the level of animosity between both squads reached a head.

Rivalry or not, it’s clear neither team likes one another much.


Curry, who had 15 points, including seven down the stretch, did not score until a 3-pointer rolled in nearly 21 minutes into the game. He opened 0-for-5… The Warriors went 10-for-24 from 3-point range… Griffin had nearly better all-around numbers than counterpart David Lee in just three quarters. Lee finished with 23 points, 13 rebounds and three assists in 39 minutes and scored nine of his points after Griffin was ejected… Collison scored in double digits for the fifth game in a row… The Clippers lost for just the fourth time to a Western Conference opponent… Griffin was ejected for the second time in his career and first time since Jan. 2011… The Clippers fell to 4-8 on Christmas Day all-time…


  Clippers guard Chris Paul on Golden State’s tactics:
“At the end of the day they were successful. They were successful in what they were trying to do. They won the game. All that “rah rah” and acting like you’re going to fight; nobody is Floyd Mayweather out here. At the end of the day it’s about basketball between the lines, and they won.”
  Clippers forward Blake Griffin on his ejection:
“I’m back here and if you look at it, I didn’t do anything and got thrown out of the game. Like I said, it all boils down to they fell for it. To me that’s cowardly, cowardly basketball.”
  Clippers forward Matt Barnes on the difference in the game:
“I think early on they beat us to 50-50 balls. We were stopping them initially, but their second chances and transition threes kind of opened up and it hurt us. I think we’ve got to do a better job of following the game plan for 48 minutes.”
  Warriors forward Draymond Green on whether or not the Clippers and Warriors are rivals:
“It depends on what you describe a rivalry as. It’s two hard-playing teams. At the end of the day, they want to win and we want to win. Both teams have something to play for. Both teams feel like they can play late in June so both teams are going to play hard. I’ve said it before; you have some key matchups in the game where guys want to go at each other. Anytime you have that, you’re going to have a tough, hardnosed game.”
Clippers head coach Doc Rivers on technical fouls assessed to Blake Griffin:
“Both techs you could make a case that Blake shouldn’t have gotten either one. But he did. I don’t know what you’re supposed to do on the second one, I didn’t see that either. It looked like the guy was grabbing his jersey and Blake was flailing around trying to get loose.”




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By: Eric Patten | Follow @EricPatten

OAKLAND – ‘Tis the season for basketball.

The Clippers and Warriors renew their budding rivalry Wednesday night in the finale of the NBA’s five-game Christmas Day special.

“Playing on Christmas is always exciting,” Chris Paul said. “When you’re a kid and you’d wake up and watch those games, you hope when you get to the NBA that someday you’ll get to play on Christmas because it means that you’re somewhat important, at least your team is.”

It is the third year in a row and fourth time in five years the Clippers (20-9) have played on Christmas. They have done so every year since Paul has been in L.A. including an opening night victory over the Warriors at Oracle Arena during the lockout shortened season.

“We played up there two years ago on Christmas, and it wasn’t quite the same but we expect it to be a little bit more alive this year,” Blake Griffin said.

The Clippers have won five games in a row, matching the Heat for the longest active winning streak in the NBA. They face a Warriors team that just got forward Andre Iguodala back from a hamstring injury. Golden State (15-13) is 3-1 since Iguodala returned on Dec. 17 and holding opponents to nearly 10 points fewer per game with him in the lineup than they did during his 12-game absence.


Jamal Crawford vs. Klay Thompson


The Clippers’ five-game winning streak has coincided with Crawford’s insertion into the starting lineup. He’s scored 100 points (20.0 per game) and has helped open up the offense.

“In a pinch, he’s proven that he can be a starter,” Rivers said. “But we knew that before, though. I mean, hell, he’s a scoring machine. With the first unit, he kind of picks his spots. I think he does a better job with that because he has more scorers on the floor with him.”

Thompson comes in averaging a career-best 19.5 points per game, going 88-for-207 from 3-point range (42.5 percent). He’s made 20 more 3-pointers than Crawford, who is No. 10 in the league in makes. He’s scored 10 points or more in each of the last nine games, which started with his 30-point outburst against the Grizzlies on Dec. 7.

With Paul and Stephen Curry and Griffin and David Lee sort of cancelling each other out, it may be whoever has a bigger impact between Crawford and Thompson that decides the game.


1. Is it or isn’t it? There are a variety of takes on whether or not the Clippers and Warriors are truly rivals. Here is what players and coaches said about it in the days leading up to the game.

“We’re in the same state, so it’s a natural rivalry which is fun,” Clippers head coach Doc Rivers said. “The fact that both teams are now pretty good makes it a little more interesting.”

Still, Rivers doesn’t buy into an actual rivalry, yet.

“I think half of it is manufactured hate, or whatever you want to call it,” he said. “Neither one of us has done anything. I think Indiana and Miami have more of an actual real distaste. I think ours is growing. And I hope in the future we are two teams trying to win the West and go to the Finals, but neither one of us has the right to be angry at either one right now.”

Blake Griffin: “I don’t know why people keep saying that. I don’t dislike them more than any other team. We’re trying to beat them just like everybody else. I honestly think that’s something people make up themselves.”

“We look at it as another game on our schedule.”

Willie Green: “Well, I know it‘s highly anticipated. It‘s becoming a sort of rivalry and rightfully so. They got a good team, they play hard basketball and we play hard and they busted us up last year. So we got to go into this game, business minded and it‘s a business trip for us.‖

The Warriors, despite complaining about splitting up the times for pregame chapel and staring at the Clippers’ bench after a series of alley-oops in the last two Clippers’ home wins, seem to be taking Griffin’s stance.

“Anytime you play a team four times and they’re in your division and you both have the same goals in mind, things might get heated,” Curry, who is the only player in the league averaging at least 23 points and nine assists, told ESPN Radio on Tuesday. “It’s going to be ultra-competitive every time you step on the floor. And that’s what they NBA’s about.”

2. Testing the 3-point defense. A season after ranking near the bottom of the NBA in 3-point defense, the Clippers are first in the league, allowing opponents to shoot 32.0 percent from long distance through 29 games. They likely won’t face a bigger test than the Splash Brothers. Behind Curry and Thompson, the Warriors are second in the league in 3-point shooting (40.3 percent) and average 9.4 makes per game. Golden State went 12-for-21 against the Clippers on Oct. 31 in the Clippers’ home-opening victory, but Curry made nine of them.

3. Big logo. The Clippers and Warriors will wear short-sleeve jerseys with oversized logos on the front and names and numbers on the back as part of the NBA’s “Big Logo” Christmas. Each jersey will be accented by silver as a way to commemorate the holidays. The Clippers’ uniforms are blue and the Warriors’ are gold.


Crawford, Matt Barnes, Antawn Jamison and Stephen Jackson all played at least one season on the Warriors… Lee and Andrew Bogut have each had double-digit rebounds in the last nine games… The Clippers are 14-0 when they score at least 104 points… The Clippers are 4-7 in their previous 11 games on Christmas… The NBA’s Christmas Day games will be broadcast in 47 languages in 215 countries… The Clippers are +6.5 in net efficiency rating (fifth in the NBA)… The Clippers have lost three in a row at Oracle Arena…


Matt Barnes: “It’s going to be crazy. I know we’re going into a hostile environment, probably the most hostile environment in the league. I know they’re going to be ready. They’ve been a little up and down and we’ve been more consistent of late. But we’re both fighting for the same thing right now.”


Oct. 31, 2013 at Staples Center: Clippers 126, Warriors 115
Dec. 25, 2013 at Oracle Arena
Jan. 30, 2014 at Oracle Arena
Mar. 10, 2014 at Staples Center


Clippers Leaders:
Pts: Griffin 32
Reb: Jordan 17
Ast: Paul 13


Last Time Out




Warriors Leaders:
Pts: Lee 28
Reb: Bogut 11
Ast: Curry 7