Clippers hold off Warriors 98-96 to take 2-1 series lead

first_img Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Error OAKLAND — The Clippers were not supposed to play as well Thursday as they did in a 40-point rout of Golden State on Monday in the second game of their best-of-seven Western Conference playoff series.They also entered the lion’s den that is Oracle Arena knowing full well that the fans there would be as wild and crazy as any home fans they might face. That’s not to mention the Clippers knew they had to win a game on the road after losing homecourt advantage by falling in Game 1 at home.No problem.After withstanding a furious rally by the Warriors that saw them erase all but one point off an 18-point deficit, the Clippers came away with a 98-96 victory over Golden State before a wild crowd of 19,596. The Warriors had one more chance, but Steph Curry missed badly on a 3-point attempt that would have won the game.DeAndre Jordan had 14 points and 22 rebounds for the Clippers, tying a franchise record for rebounds in a playoff game. He also blocked five shots.“DeAndre really protected the basket tonight,” Clippers coach Doc Rivers said.Paul scored 15 points and doled out 10 assists.Thompson led the Warriors with 26 points, Curry had 16 and Draymond Green had 13 points, 11 rebounds and one flagrant 1 foul to match the one taken by the Clippers’ Matt Barnes.“That’s not physical play,” Rivers said, when asked about the physical nature of the game. “That’s something else, and I don’t like either one of them (flagrant fouls).”The Clippers may have homecourt back, but that doesn’t mean Rivers is stoked about it.“No, we have to play better,” he said. “And I told our guys that after the game.”Rivers did not like the very idea that his team had to stave off the Warriors after they had been so dominant the first half of the third quarter before Golden State slowly but surely began to eat away at the Clippers’ lead.“I didn’t think we closed it out well,” Rivers said.Rivers liked the defense Paul played on Curry on the last shot, saying he didn’t think there was any foul.“I think it was a great play,” Rivers said. “I think Steph jumped out to try to draw the foul, but the ref’s not going to bail him out on that play.”With the momentum definitely back in the Clippers’ favor, Warriors coach Mark Jackson said he knows exactly what his team must do now.“Our job is to take care of business Sunday because we have proven we can go over there and win,” he said. The Clippers shot 46.5 percent from the field, 28.6 percent (8 of 28) from 3-point range. The Warriors shot 41.6 percent, just 19.4 percent from beyond the 3-point line.Contributing nicely for the Clippers was Jamal Crawford with 13 points; he made 3 of 6 shots from 3-point range. Warriors fans were going bananas throughout. Jackson talked about that pre-game.“These are the best fans, no secret about that,” he said. “Playoff basketball here is incredible. They’re passionate, energetic and enthusiastic. For the guys that haven’t been in a Warriors uniform prior to this year, it will be brand-new to them, and for the Clippers.“This will be different than it was in L.A., with all due respect. That being said, they (fans) will not score a basket, they won’t get a defensive stop and they won’t get a rebound. But this place will be off the charts as far as the energy in the building.”center_img The Clippers lead the series 2-1 and the teams play again Sunday afternoon.L.A. led 68-50 when J.J. Redick (14 points) buried a 3-pointer with 5:30 to play in the third quarter. When Klay Thompson banked in a six-footer with 4:22 to play, Golden State was within 87-86.But Blake Griffin, who led the Clippers with 32 points and eight rebounds, began a 7-0 Clippers run with a fallaway 17-footer. Chris Paul came back with a 12-footer and then Paul made a 3-pointer, after which he pounded his chest, for a 94-86 lead with 2:40 to play.Leading 94-88, Draymond Green was whistled for a foul on Paul, who stepped to the line and made both free throws for a 96-88 Clippers lead with 1:38 to play, seemingly sealing Golden State’s fate.Not that the Warriors threw in the towel. They again pulled within a point before Paul made one of two free throws for a 98-96 lead with 8.6 seconds left. last_img

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