Everyone knew that this series was going to be a knockdown, drag-out fight. Game one did not disappoint as the Warriors took the first game of the series with a complete team effort over the Clippers, 109-105.
Both teams played with passion and drive; and it was just a few bounces that went in the Warriors favor that helped them in the win.
The Warriors had five players in double figures with Klay Thompson leading the way with 22 points and seven rebounds. The Clippers made a concerted defensive effort to shut down all-star Stephen Curry, as he only was able to add 14 points to the offense.
The game started in favor of the home team as the Clippers ran out to a 12-1 advantage. Coach Jackson called a necessary timeout, reminded his players that this is a marathon – not a sprint – and helped guide the Warriors back into the contest. The Warriors fought back to within two, until Clippers Guard Jamal Crawford hit a half court three to end the first quarter.
The Warriors were able to keep the momentum going in the second quarter and were able to get all-star Blake Griffin in foul trouble. Griffin was only able to play four minutes in the first half and collected three fouls. Warriors erased that early deficit and, with two late free throws by Harrison Barnes, made it a 52-52 tie at the midway point.
Golden State came out on fire in the second half and extended the lead to 11 points midway through the third period. The Warriors found their offensive stroke and shot 14-20 from the field in that quarter.
The Clippers came out with a purpose in the fourth behind the hot shooting of all-star Chris Paul and were able to tie up with just a few minutes remaining.
Both teams were scrapping for every loose ball and rebound in the fourth quarter and, due to this aggressiveness, Andre Iguodala and Griffin both fouled out from the game. This was a turning point as the Warriors were able to overcome the loss of Iguodala, while the Clippers just did not have that inside presence with Griffin. The Clippers seemed to fall apart and turned the ball over on three consecutive possessions towards the end of the game. Golden State capitalized on the turnovers and were able to hit a few free throws at the end to escape the Staples Center with the victory.
After the game, Curry remarked, “This was a big way to start the series. We’ve been resilient all year, and we are not going to quit.”
Paul dropped 28 points and eight assists to lead the Clippers, and JJ Reddick had 22 points on 8-11 shooting from the floor.
Game two will be on Monday night at 7:30 from the Staples Center airing on Comcast Bay Area and TNT.
Notes: Warriors center Andrew Bogut did not make the trip down to LA due to severe pains in his rib area…Draymond Green missed time in the first half due to deep bruise in his right leg….Jackson was a Clipper from 1992-94 and led the team to the playoffs in 1993.