The Clippers Survive Furious Warriors’ Comeback

Apr 24, 2014; Oakland, CA, USA; Los Angeles Clippers guard Chris Paul (3) reacts after Golden State Warriors guard Stephen Curry (30) missed a three-point shot as time expires in game three of the first round of the 2014 NBA Playoffs at Oracle Arena. The Los Angeles Clippers defeated the Golden State Warriors 98-96. Mandatory Credit: Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

What a night of basketball we had on our hands on Thursday night. In the final game of the evening, the third-seeded Los Angeles Clippers led by as many as 18 points in the third quarter before the sixth-seeded Golden State Warriors turned on the jets. However, Chris Paul made up for missing a late-game free throw with an in-your-face defensive effort on the final possession. He prevented Stephen Curry, who had made a 27-foot 3-pointer on the previous possession, from tying the game – his toe appeared to be on the line when shooting the final shot. With their first win at Oracle Arena since 2011, the Clippers own a 2-1 advantage in the series.

The main reason for the Warriors’ large deficit was that they had their worst home 3-point shooting performance since 2011. Are you seeing a trend? Well, you should because it has been a while since quite a few of these results have occurred on Golden State’s hardwood. While the Warriors were having a frustrating night from downtown, the Clippers had trouble from the free-throw line.

Los Angeles made some important shots from the floor, but did not from the charity stripe. They had the NBA’s worst postseason free-throw shooting performance in almost two years. Of course, the last team to attempt at least 15 free throws and have this poor of a percentage from the line was the Clippers in 2012. If you were wondering, the Clippers won that game by a tight margin as well.

Blake Griffin had one of his worst free-throw shooting nights of his career, but he still made 15 field goals, becoming the second player to accomplish that feat this postseason. No other Clipper made more than five shots from the field in this contest. Griffin now has put up back-to-back games of scoring more than 30 points.

In this chippy game of runs, Curry did score enough as the Warriors were surprisingly sniffing triple digits near the end of the game. Golden State had six different scorers in double digits, but Curry’s 16 points on 12 shot attempts and four free-throw attempts are not going to be the key to success even though he dished off a playoff career-high 15 assists.

 

Warriors Notes

-Curry’s game-high 15 assists were the most by a Warrior in a playoff game since Tim Hardaway’s 20 in 1991.

-Draymond Green became the first Warrior to register a double-double off the bench in the playoffs since none other than Draymond Green, who put up his last postseason double-double on May 2, 2013.

-DeAndre Jordan, who had a double-double of his own in the first half, brought down 22 rebounds in the game, the most for a player in a playoff contest since Dwight Howard in 2009.

-After having his left big toe forced back into position, Matt Barnes, who went scoreless with four steals, seemed to have numbing spray applied to the toe near the end of game. He played 29 minutes, including the final 5:07, on Thursday.

 

Top Performers

Los Angeles Clippers

Blake Griffin: 32 points, 15-25 FG, 2-9 FT

DeAndre Jordan: 14 points, 22 rebounds, 5 blocks

Chris Paul: 15 points, 10 assists, 2-7 from 3PT

 

Golden State Warriors

Stephen Curry: 16 points, 5-12 FG, 15 assists

Klay Thompson: 26 points, 10-22 FG, 2-11 from 3PT

Draymond Green: 13 points, 11 rebounds, 3 steals, 4 blocks off the bench

 

Game 4: Sunday, April 27 (Tip: 3:30 pm ET)

Tags: Blake Griffin Golden State Warriors Los Angeles Clippers Stephen Curry

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