GAMEDAY REPORT: CLIPPERS VS. WARRIORS - 12/25/13
Game #30 | December 25, 2013
Oracle Arena | Oakland, CA
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