Rapid Reaction: Warriors 106, Clippers 99
January, 21, 2013
By Arash Markazi | ESPNLosAngeles.com
This was a game Golden State Warriors coach Mark Jackson circled on the team’s schedule immediately after his team lost to the Los Angeles Clippers 115-89 on Jan. 5.
The Clippers went up by as many as 39 points in the second half of that game, highlighted by three consecutive lob dunks by DeAndre Jordan, which prompted Jackson to call a timeout and glare at the Clippers' bench for a good 20 seconds.
“What you’ve got to do as a player or coach -- soak it in and remember it. Mark it down with permanent ink,” Jackson said. “Nothing upset me. They earned the right to celebrate with the way they played. It was just a good, old-fashioned, heavyweight championship stare down, that’s all.”
Jackson made sure his team remembered that moment. Despite being down by seven points in the fourth quarter against the Clippers on Monday in Oakland, it was the Warriors who stormed back and won by seven, 106-99. It was just the second time this season the Clippers lost a game when leading in the fourth quarter.
The Warriors, who have taken three of four games against the Clippers to win the season series in the Pacific Division, are also the only team in the NBA to defeat the Clippers more than once this season.
Here are three takeaways from the game:
Chris Paul said he felt fine after coming back from a bruised right knee cap that caused him to miss three games last week. Paul, however, was clearly not all the way back on Monday. He looked like he was laboring early in the game and was really limping in the second half, especially after banging knees with Jarrett Jack. He looked like he was playing on one leg at times and finished with just four points on 1-for-7 shooting, missing all three of his 3-point attempts. He added nine assists and two rebounds with two turnovers in 33 minutes. Paul didn’t want to make any excuses after the game, but he was clearly not himself and will likely be a game-time decision for Tuesday’s game against the Oklahoma City Thunder.
“Obviously, Chris is trying to fight through it right now,” Clippers coach Vinny Del Negro said in a news conference following the game. “We fought, but we didn’t execute defensively.”
It’s no secret that the Clippers aren’t the best free throw shooting team in the league and don’t guard beyond the arc particularly well. Both areas of concern were exposed Monday against Golden State. The Clippers hit just 12 of 22 free throws, while allowing Golden State to hit 12 of 22 3-pointers. The Clippers shot 30 3-pointers, but only made 11. Shooting 30 3-pointers isn’t normally part of the Clippers’ game plan, but whenever they play Golden State they suddenly get lulled into playing the Warriors' style of basketball. After the Clippers went up by seven in the fourth quarter, they didn’t slow the pace. Instead, they continued to shoot from the outside, and within a few minutes, the Warriors were up by seven points, and the game was soon over.
“They like to get up and down,” Clippers guard Jamal Crawford said. “That’s their pace. They play a lot of guards out there, and that’s when they’re at their best -- playing free flowing and shooting 3s -- and that’s what they did tonight. We need to slow it down and pick them apart there. That’s where we have an advantage. If they double-team, we can make them pay outside but go inside for sure. ”
The Clippers are at their best when they get contributions from at least five players, and preferably more. Those are the games after which Del Negro will pick up the final box score and circle the names of Lamar Odom, Matt Barnes, Eric Bledsoe, Ronny Turiaf, DeAndre Jordan, then go down the list. That wasn’t the case Monday, as the majority of the Clippers' offense came from Blake Griffin, Caron Butler and Crawford. No other Clippers player was in double figures. Jordan didn’t even attempt a shot, and Turiaf only attempted and missed one, which highlighted their inability to play inside-out –- a tactic Del Negro had hoped to do more of coming into the game.