Gameday: Warriors vs. Clippers - 5/1/14
(Series Tied 3-3)
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.
On the game's similarities to Game 1 in terms of fouling and if that suits the Warriors:
"Well, that's who we are, and we've proven that when we play our brand of basketball. We're awfully tough to beat. When we don't, then it makes it interesting. But I know there are people that want to speed up the process. This is who we are. Part of the process is going through things, learning how to be consistent. I'm proud of my guys. It's been an incredible, incredible ride. Now against a three‑seed with two of the top 10 players in the world and a future Hall of Fame coach, we are going to Game 7 in spite of all the sideline music, and I like my chances because I've got a group of guys that want to do whatever it takes to win. You look at Jermaine go down. Mo Speights' ready. Hilton Armstrong, ready. Jordan Crawford, ready. Draymond Green, a gamer. I thought David responded. I'm proud of these guys. It wasn't our best night. We missed 14 free throws. We shoot 38% from the field. Klay gets 9 points, and we win a ballgame. I look forward to Game 7."
On if the fatigue level towards the end of the game:
"Yes, and they made shots. They made tough shots and you're thinking oh, my goodness, you know. Can we get out of here and make sure there is a Game 7? But that is the way we want to leave ballgames where we're on fumes. It's a shame that we leave ballgames with something left in the tank. And I thought tonight everybody that stepped on the floor was engaged. They were involved. We made mistakes, but they battled. They battled."
On his young team's growth since last year:
"I can think of folks saying why are we playing small? Why is Draymond Green in the game? It's because of moments like this. We didn't play for last year or the year before. We played for the future, and he's ready because of those moments. Those guys just competed. I'm excited to see this young basketball team experience a Game 7 on the road. They haven't experienced it as players. It's new to Klay Thompson. It's new to Stephen Curry. It's new to Draymond Green. It's new to all my guys, other than the veterans that have been around and been on other teams. It's new to me. It's going to be a lot of fun because a lot of folks didn't think we'd be here."
On updates on Jermaine O'Neal:
"Sprained right knee. We'll see how he feels moving forward. As far as the play, I didn't get another look at it, so I'm not sure. I'm sure the league, which does an outstanding job of monitoring plays like that, will take a look at it and make decisions."
On the competitiveness between the two teams:
"We're getting after it, both teams. I think ‑‑ I'm not sure that both teams love each other, but I'm pretty positive that both teams have tremendous respect for each other. I can only speak for my team, and I know how Doc feels about me. And he knows how I feel about him. But I think we've got great respect for them, and that's a team that's going to have to be dealt with, not just now, but for a long time to come. We'd like to think the same way about ourselves. But I think it's important to realize that people have been begging to call this a rivalry. It's series like this, moments like this, games like this that put you in position to really call it that way. It's been a great series."
On how he decided to keep David Lee in when both he and Draymond Green got their fifth fouls:
"Well, I'm fighting for my life. My guys are fighting for their basketball lives this year. One thing I told the guys this morning, this group will never be together again, our group. So we've got to do whatever it takes to find a way to prolong this thing, to find a way to advance. Don't rob ourselves. With the foul trouble, I rolled the dice. I looked at it like I had options. Those guys gave me what they had, and then it was time for ‑‑ I thought Harrison gave us great minutes battling bigger guys and being on the boards and made some shots. I can't say enough how proud I am of these guys."
On why he thinks this group will never be together again:
"It's a fact. This team won't be the same team next year. Meaning there will be a draft choice. There will be a guy that signs somewhere else. We'll add coaches. Something is going to take place where this group will not be together. Said the same thing last year and it's clear. It's not guessing anybody's next location. It's just a fact of the league. What I want to do is maximize this group's potential and all that we've put into the tank."
On preparing for Game 7:
"We're going against two of the top 10 players in the world. I'm going against a future Hall of Fame coach. They are the No. 3 seed against a We Are One crowded house. We are an excellent road team. We're excited. We earned this platform. We're going to embrace it, and we're looking forward to it. There is no time ‑‑ one thing I realize, I once played for an incredible coach, I'm not going to say his name, gave the most incredible pre‑game speeches. We had a Game 7 once on the road, and he gave one. My only thought during that time was as a player, we didn't need it that day. I don't have to tell my guys anything in Game 7. They knew exactly what we've got to do."
On his message to the team going into the game:
"You know, this is what it's all about. If we take care of business playing where we're supposed to play, we'll be looking forward to a Game 7. It was just about fighting and being the most aggressive team tonight, and that's what we did. Obviously it was tough to see J.O. go down, but guys stepped up. This guy right here, Andre made huge plays, everybody had to step up and do whatever it took to get this win. So we got it done."
On his aggressiveness to get his own shot vs. act as a playmaker:
"I just knew I came out aggressive in the first quarter, but you want to try to be assertive and be the one throwing the punches out there with what you're doing on the floor and not being passive. Whether that's giving up a lot of shots or just trying to pick and choose where you're going to be able to get your looks and get other guys open. The biggest thing Draymond just mentioned was we only had eight turnovers, which is about as many as I had myself in the whole of Game 5. So we'll take that and try to carry that over to Game 7."
On if it's a decision to take more shots or if it's what the defense gives up:
"I try not to force things, and tonight I was able to get downhill a lot more. It seemed they were trying to trap, and I had a better first step getting around. Obviously my guys have set great screens all series, and if they're going to continue to try to be aggressive and trap, I'll try to do a better job of making that right pass out of it."
On how the playoffs compare to the NCAA tournament where you play a new team each night:
"I think it's that much tougher. You know that team inside and out, and obviously, adjustments from game to game. It's tough to win four games against an opponent. That's why you value each opportunity you have to go at a seven‑game series and get it done. We learned a lot last year in the playoffs about what that means and how important each possession is. Those lessons are pretty evident in this series. We haven't been in a Game 7, or a lot of the guys in the locker room haven't been to Game 7. So you understand it's even more, each possession is even more precious, and we have to just fight. It's about who wants it more at this point, going out and executing and just being that team that is the most aggressive come Saturday night."
On what it's like to play in this type of series:
"You know, it's a battle. We knew that coming into this series. For the last two years, as long as I've been here, it's been a battle every time we played this team, and it's grown into a rivalry. So we knew coming in that it would be an all‑out battle. It's not going to be about who shoots the best, who can get the rebounds, who can have the least amount of turnovers. It's who is good to battle to make all they got to make those winning plays when it comes down to it. Tonight was that type of night. They shot 36%; we shot 39. Those are numbers that either team usually shoots. But at the end of the day both teams battled, and we were able to make the necessary plays to win the game."
On this team's growing identity:
"Absolutely. We knew coming into this game that we have to battle. Our backs were against the wall, so trying to force a Game 7. Everyone was ready. You had Mo Speights come off the bench, gave great minutes. Jordan Crawford came off the bench, gave great minutes. H.B. came off the bench and gave great minutes. J.O., his couple minutes, he had to keep bugging for a couple key offensive rebounds. So we knew everyone coming off the bench had to be ready for their time. It's going to take a great effort from everybody. It's not going to be the starting five or it's not going to be ‑‑ though we know Steph can win a game by himself, we know everyone has to come to help him. And Klay can shoot us to a win in the game, them two guys, but everybody has to bring what they're able to bring to the table. We were able to do that tonight, and now we have to try to take that same effort to L.A."
On getting MVP chants at the free throw line:
"That was amazing. I felt like Steph Curry up there. No, it caught me by surprise. I know we have the greatest fans in the NBA, but I don't know if I can take those chances when I have this man out there on the court. But it was great. At the end of the day I just have to continue doing what I'm doing for this team, and that is coming out and playing hard. I'm not coming out to try to be a scorer, do this, do that, if the ball comes back on the trap, I'll try to make the right play. But at the end of the day, I'll come out and bring energy to the floor, setting good screens, so we can get the best shooter in the world open and just doing my job. So it was great. I embrace my moment."
BACKS AGAINST THE WALL
The time is now for the Warriors. Facing elimination, the Warriors have two options: win and advance to a series-deciding Game 7, or lose and call it a season. With so much on the line, one would have to expect an even more charged atmosphere at Oracle Arena as the Warriors come home for a must-win Game 6 on Thursday night. Trailing 3-2 in the series, the team’s collective backs are against the wall and they’ll look to rally behind that cause in front of their passionate fans. Tickets are still available and fans unable to attend the game can catch the action on CSN Bay Area, TNT and KNBR 680. GET TICKETS | GOING TO THE GAME?
LAST TIME OUT
The Warriors played from behind for nearly the entire game and could not make enough plays down the stretch in Tuesday’s 113-103 road loss to the Clippers. Splash Brothers Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson combined for seven 3-pointers, but Stephen Curry was held to just 10 shot attempts and the Warriors fell behind 3-2 in the series. Thompson led the Warriors with 21 points and David Lee and Andre Iguodala each added 18 points, while Curry put in 17 in the Game 5 defeat. Once again, a slow start, foul trouble and turnovers proved costly for the Warriors, who trailed by 10 at the end of the first quarter. The Clippers out-scored the Warriors by 18 on free throws and turned 13 Golden State turnovers into 22 points.GAME RECAP
PUSH THE TEMPO
As was expected when matching up with a higher seed, the Clippers haven’t made life easy on the Warriors. The Clippers have a quickness and athleticism advantage over the Warriors, and that has definitely showed in the way the teams have started the games. The Dubs have been out-scored in the opening period in four of the series’ five games, the lone exception being the Warriors’ dominant Game 4 win. Playing from behind is a dangerous strategy against a Clippers team that can beat you in multiple ways, one of which is preying on opponent miscues. By making a point to push the tempo early, the Warriors can create some open looks and be less burdened with creating offense out of their half court sets. The Warriors are at their best when they get out in transition, and that was the case in the first quarter of Game 4 when they had 12 fast break points. By contrast, the team has averaged just 14 fast break points total in Games 1, 2, 3 and 5.
A CALL FOR CURRY
If the Warriors are to be more effective in the transition game, it will all have to start with Stephen Curry. He’s taken over games before, and with the season on the line, all eyes will be on him to do it again. He knows that, his teammates know that and the Clippers know that as well. Although Los Angeles has been aggressive in their defense on Curry, often sending multiple players at him, the Warriors will have to figure out a way to free him up. Whether that’s starting the offensive set further away from the basket, setting an extra screen or having him play off the ball, the Warriors need to make sure that their best offensive player gets more than 10 shots, and one way to do that is to push the pace and not let the Clippers’ defense get set.
TROUBLE WITH FOUL TROUBLE
With the Clippers’ size and athleticism on their front line, it’s not surprising that they have 35 more free throw attempts than the Warriors in the series. However, what is concerning for the Warriors is that they continue to be dealing with foul trouble. Andre Iguodala, Klay Thompson, Draymond Green and David Lee have each had to sit out valuable minutes in this series due to foul trouble, and with the bench being wildly unpredictable for the Warriors in this series, the team really can’t afford for any of the starters to be off the court for a significant portion of the game. Staying out of foul trouble against the Clippers team is easier said than done, but the Warriors might just need to concede a few easy baskets to give themselves a shot at winning the game with their best players on the floor.
GSW: 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.