Gameday: Warriors vs. Clippers - 4/27/14
(Series Tied 2-2)
Stephen Curry set the tone early and the Warriors maintained a double-digit lead for the vast majority of the game, winning Game 4 118-97 in front of a raucous crowd at Oracle Arena on Sunday. Stephen Curry made five 3-pointers in the first quarter and Andre Iguodala had 16 of his 22 points in the second half. Curry finished with 33 points, seven assists and seven rebounds and Klay Thompson, David Lee and Harrison Barnes each added 15 points. The Warriors shot 55.4 percent for the game and made 15 3-pointers (10 by the Splash Brothers) and out-rebounded the Clippers 34-32. The Dubs also turned 19 Clippers turnovers into 26 points and out-scored Los Angeles in the paint 40-28 and 27-8 on the fast break. Now tied 2-2, the series resumes in Los Angeles on Tuesday before coming back to Oracle Arena for Game 6 on Thursday. GAME 6 PRE-SALE INFORMATION
On how they got Stephen Curry good looks early:
"We made plays, set great screens. There were times we got them off the basketball. We got stops, which is huge. There's no secret we're at our best when we're pushing the basketball off missed shots, turnovers. I thought our energy was spectacular. 39 points in that first quarter was huge. But we played with a sense of urgency, and I think our superstar basketball player was special."
On if Stephen Curry had a different mindset coming into tonight's game:
"I'm sure he wanted to take over every game. The difference is that they trapped him. They got the ball out of his hands and he made the right plays. Tonight with Draymond in the lineup, it makes it much tough ter to do, a price to pay. He sets great screens, and not only that, he's a live threat at the 3‑point line. We have to make a conscious of getting back to him. 32 assists for us is a tremendous sign of taking care of the basketball, being patient, being unselfish, and I thought Steph just made great decisions."
On if he'll stick with today's starting lineup:
"That's going to be our lineup. So, yes, I think it gives us a great chance. Draymond did a great job of ‑‑ Blake Griffin playing at an extremely high level, but he made him work. And I give a lot of credit to Jermaine O'Neal. I was thinking about making the switch, and Jermaine came up to me and said, Coach, what do you think about starting somebody else and bringing me off the bench? And not enough credit is given to my guys or to a guy like him, who is a total team player, who, when the lights are the brightest and it's the back nine of his career, took a back seat and was thinking how could we figure this out, how can we make an adjustment, and made the suggestion. And then even the last ‑‑ trying to get another guy in the game, he comes in and says, Let me go get Harrison or somebody else so that these guys can get a round of applause. Just unselfish true professional that I don't take for granted and I appreciate."
On if he thought this game was affected by the controversy:
"No. No, I think certainly I believe everybody was affected by what took place. I don't believe it was just the Clippers. I don't think there was anything said directly towards the Clippers and their players. I think it was insulting to all of us. So I wouldn't minimize ‑‑ we got blown out in Game 2 with no controversy. We own that. At the end of the day we played extremely well today and we won the ballgame. I think both teams were somewhat bothered by what has taken place the last 24 hours. But my guys just played with great energy, great effort, and now we go to LA."
On how he determined his rotation tonight:
"It will be a flow thing. I thought my guys played great. I thought they had fresh bodies. And every time I asked them, they felt like they were good. So it didn't look like they had been worn out where I needed to get other guys in. So I think it worked out perfectly this afternoon, and we'll see how it goes going forward. I've got total confidence in my guys on the bench and what they bring to the table. But this game was a big‑time victory for the guys. Look at Hilton. He's a guy that came in, gave us great minutes. And there's subtle things. He comes up to me before we leave the court and said, Thank you for believing in me, thank you for trusting me. It goes a long way man. It goes a long way."
On Andre Iguodala's performance:
"He was spectacular. I thought this was some of his best work in a Warrior uniform. Scoring the basketball, attacking, rebounding the basketball, facilitating, making plays, defending at a high level. He said to me at the end of Game 3, We're going to get Game 4. It was a throwaway line. I'm sitting there, we just lost a big game. But he was sincere. And he came out with the right mindset, another guy. I'm at the gym tonight, he's probably going to show up and get shots and work on his game."
On how Draymond Green did defensively, especially guarding Blake Griffin:
"Oh, he's going against a guy that is playing incredible basketball, has been a handful for us to match up against, making all sorts of shots at the rim, jump shots, post moves. I thought Draymond did a great job of battling him, making him work. And against a great player is what you want to do is make them work. They're going to still be able to score the basketball. But one thing I know is Draymond's not going to quit. He's going to fight. And he gave us a spark."
On David Lee:
"Yes, he was much more aggressive. I thought it was off of the unselfish play of other guys. Put them in pick and rolls. We moved the basketball, great ball movement and man movement. And he was a live weapon where he was able to use his angles. And I thought he played outstanding. And I thought he did a great job defensively also at times. Because now he's gotta be that weak‑side guy. But he had a big night. And we need him to have big nights against this team, because their bigs have to work."
On the competitiveness between the two teams:
"But it's playoff basketball. At the end of the day obviously both teams have feelings towards each other and we compete at a high level. But to the core I believe that both teams respect one another. We knew going in it's going to be a physical series. We knew going in it would be a great battle. But we've got great respect for them. And obviously Doc is a tremendous coach. So it's not going to get to that. It's not going to get to that."
On what was different about this first quarter:
We tried to come out with a sense of urgency. That's been a big problem in the first three games, as a team we haven't started games off well and they've gotten, I think, a double‑digit lead each first quarter. So we moved the ball well, gotta set screens, but we executed at a higher pace. And we do that, it's tough to guard. Obviously you've gotta make shots and try to get momentum on your side.
On if he was more urgent this game:
"I was looking for any space I could get. And like I said, I come off screens, usually they have been trying to trap, and the passes is pretty much open and into the paint, and guys were able to make plays, but tonight I was able to step into a couple of quick 3s. And once you hit a couple early, it seems like there's more space that opens up."
On his late-game block on J.J. Redick:
"You're trying to close out the game, and game is like, four, five minutes left, and you understand you get a couple stops with the lead we had that we could pretty much seal the deal for tonight and tie the series. So we've gotta be playing some great defense the whole game as a team, flying around, helping each other, talking. And when you make a play like that, I don't get too many blocks. So I was definitely happy. And I had to realize that there was still time on the shot clock and get back into the play. But just excited that our attention to detail on the defensive end allowed us to play a more complete game tonight and make it tough for them."
On if he was looking for his shot early to avoid being double-teamed:
"It's not good offense if I go out there trying to force stuff because we have so much talent on the floor that if I can be aggressive, attacking angles, drawing two guys, eventually they're going to have to make an adjustment because I trust every single guy that's out there with me to make plays. To be able to move the ball, you know, and allow guys to get to their spot to make plays, that's great offense as opposed to me just flinging up contested jump shots all day. But early in the first quarter I was able to find a way to set my man up so we could get a good screen on him and come off a lot freer than I had in the previous three games and able to step into some rhythm jump shots. And I was looking for it. But not going to force the issue to the point where I'm taking away from good offensive possessions for the rest of the team out there."
On his confidence coming into the game:
"You can kind of see that they had it all going for them. They had a really good rhythm and they were feeling really good about themselves and they were really excited after they won Game 3. Like really excited. And that kind of let me know that they just gutted it out. I mean, right there, we're not even playing our best basketball. So I think Jermaine O'Neal mentioned it to us, we found something that will work for us. And I knew we'd be ready to play. The thing I'm most happy about is that we didn't panic. You go down 2‑1, kind of feels like the world's going to end from the outside looking in. And fans are kind of like panicking, we can't lose, we can't lose. But we kept our composure, did what we had to do and we got tonight's win."
On the controversy and how it is affecting the players:
"Feel bad for every single player in the NBA. It's just not the Clippers. There's a partnership with all the owners, revenue sharing, so one owner represents every owner in our league. Just like when one player makes a mistake, it's a black eye for the whole body of players. So it's not just about the Clippers, it's about every single player who goes out there and gives it their all every single night for our fans. And it's a sad situation that someone feels a certain way about the majority of the players in this league."
BIGGEST GAME OF THE SERIES
From here on out, every remaining game can deservingly be called the biggest game of the series for the Warriors. Down 2-1 in this best-of-seven playoff series with the Clippers, the Dubs are back at home on Sunday with a matinee matchup (12:30 p.m.) against the Pacific Division champs. A win would tie things up and essentially make this a best-of-three series. A loss would give Los Angeles a commanding 3-1 advantage with two of the next three games at home. With so much at stake on Sunday, it should make for another incredible atmosphere on Warriors Ground, and tickets are still available. GET TICKETS | GOING TO THE GAME? | WARRIORS PLAYOFF CENTRAL
LAST TIME OUT
The Warriors suffered a tough loss on Thursday night, falling to the Clippers 98-96 in Game 3. Trailing by as many as 18 in the second half, the Warriors cut the deficit to one with 11 seconds left, but Stephen Curry’s potential game-winner fell short and the Dubs fell behind 2-1 in the series. Klay Thompson scored 15 of his 26 points in the fourth quarter and Curry notched a double-double with 16 points and 15 assists. The Splash Brothers combined for the Dubs' final 18 points as the Warriors nearly came all the way back from an 11-point fourth quarter deficit. Draymond Green helped lead the comeback charge with 13 points and 11 boards and both Andre Iguodala and David Lee came within a rebound of a double-double. GAME RECAP
EVERYBODY LOVES DRAYMOND
Even though the Warriors ultimately fell short in their comeback attempt on Thursday, it’s safe to say that they wouldn’t have been in the game whatsoever if not for the spirited play of Draymond Green. A grinder in every sense of the word, Green has brought the Warriors some much-needed toughness in the absence of Andrew Bogut, who continues to be sidelined with a fractured rib. Green is the only player on the Warriors’ roster with a positive +/- rating in the series and so far he has been the most effective defender on Blake Griffin, who is averaging 27.7 points through the first three games of the series. Green is the Warriors’ fourth leading scorer in the series, and suddenly he has become a player that the team cannot afford to have in foul trouble. He picked up a double-double before fouling out in the closing minutes of Game 3, and the Warriors will certainly depend on him in all facets of Game 4 on Sunday.
STRENGTH VS. STRENGTH
Heading into the series, one of the areas to watch for was 3-point shooting. During the regular season, the Warriors were fourth in the NBA at 38 percent from downtown, while the Clippers were the NBA’s top defense against the three, limiting opponents to 33.2 percent on 3-pointers. Through the first three games of the series, good defense has beaten good offense. The Clippers have held the Warriors to 21-for-77 (27.2 percent) from distance while shooting 40 percent on their own 3-pointers. Depending on the three-ball is a dangerous strategy for most teams, but it’s not as risky when you have a pair of perimeter marksman in Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson. The Splash Brothers got it going in the fourth quarter of Game 3, and the Warriors will greatly benefit if that momentum can carry over into Sunday’s matchup.
FIGURING OUT DEANDRE
There’s no question that DeAndre Jordan has been a superior rim protector for the Clippers in this series. He has blocked five shots a game and has dominated the boards, on both the offensive and defensive glass. A player with Jordan’s size and athleticism will certainly affect shots, but the Warriors need to do a better job of drawing contact on him. By jumping into his body and absorbing the contact, the Warriors can minimize Jordan’s shot blocking ability. Furthermore, the use of a pumpfake on him can be supremely effective and possibly even help get Jordan in foul trouble. With the Clippers running out on the Warriors’ shooters, opportunities are there for the Dubs to attack the basket. They’ve displayed some nice interior passing in this series from time to time, but they need become more efficient and take better care of the ball in those situations. While the Warriors are down in the series, they’re certainly not out, but they’ll need to come out with the kind of aggression and intensity that the Clippers displayed in Game 2.
GSW: Andrew Bogut (rib fracture) and Nemanja Nedovic (strained right calf) are out indefinitely and Festus Ezeli (recovery from right knee surgery) is out.