The best Christmas present of the NBA schedule on Dec. 25 was saved for last, as the Golden State Warriors and the Los Angeles Clippers gave the fans their money’s worth in a spirited, physical battle.
Golden State (17-13) edged the Clippers 105-103 at Oracle Arena in a game that had a little bit of everything: fights, ejections, technical fouls, spectacular plays, and a thrilling ending.
The two teams went back-and-forth for much of the second half, with neither side able to gain separation. With three minutes remaining in a 97-97 game, Stephen Curry, who had a quiet night, went mano-a-mano with Chris Paul. Paul made a couple of difficult shots, while Curry responded with a few buckets of his own.
Harrison Barnes’ made free throws with just over a minute left gave the Warriors a 105-103 lead, and Golden State shut down the Clippers (20-10) for the rest of the game. Paul missed two shots, including a layup that just wouldn’t fall. In the dying seconds, Paul drove to the rim looking to tie the game, but was blocked from behind by Klay Thompson. A final desperation three-point attempt by Jamal Crawford was short, and the Warriors survived.
It was a game that started off slow for the Warriors, which has become the norm this season. The Clippers led by double-digits in the second quarter, as the Warriors rested their starters. However, Golden State finished the half on a 22-12 run to close the gap to 53-51.
Tale of the Tape
- Field Goals: 42.1% (40-95)
- 3-Pointers: 41.7% (10-24)
- Rebounds: 49
- Assists: 27
- Turnovers: 13
- Field Goals: 49.4% (40-81)
- 3-Pointers: 22.2% (4-18)
- Rebounds: 38
- Assists: 22
- Turnovers: 13
No Love Lost
Given the history between these two teams — they refused to have chapel together before the game once again — it is safe to say that there was neither team was in the Christmas spirit tonight.
It started at the end of the third quarter, when Draymond Green was ejected for throwing an elbow to the head of Blake Griffin. Just about a minute later, Griffin would get tossed himself after getting tangled up with Andrew Bogut while trying to get position for a rebound. However, this ejection (it was Griffin’s second technical foul) seemed unnecessary.
Chippy play continued throughout the fourth quarter, and even when the final buzzer sounded, a scrum broke out when Bogut and Paul exchanged words near the Warriors bench. Coaches and other players mingled in to break things up, including former Warrior Stephen Jackson, who sprinted down from the other end of the court.
Perhaps these two teams should have chapel together after the game.
Curry Quiet, But Others Step Up
The Clippers tried to take away Stephen Curry from the Warriors’ offense, and it worked. Curry was relegated to a decoy/passer for much of the game. He ended up with just 15 points, but 11 assists.
However, other players stepped up. Thompson had his best game in awhile, finishing with 23 points on 10-of-22 shooting. David Lee recorded his usual double-double, and Bogut was a monster on the glass, collecting 14 boards along with 10 points. Harrison Barnes also played a key role off the bench with 14 points, playing aggressively by attacking the rim and drawing fouls. It was his free throws that ultimately decided the game.
Tweet of the Night
Stephen Jackson yelled at Warriors players as Bazemore hyped the arena with wild dancing. This game was peak absurdity.
— Ethan Strauss (@SherwoodStrauss) December 26, 2013
What’s on Tap
The Warriors will take on the Suns on Friday night at Oracle Arena in what should be another good matchup between two solid Western Conference teams.