The Golden State Warriors squeaked away with a 109-105 win Saturday afternoon as they fought off the Los Angeles Clippers at Staples Center.
It was promised to be a physical series between these Pacific Division rivals, and they fulfilled that promise. The two teams combined for a total of 51 personal fouls. Andre Iguodala got into foul trouble early with four in the first half. He and Clippers’ Blake Griffin would foul out in the fourth quarter.
The game began with a disappointing start for the Warriors. They were unable to make a single basket until about five minutes into the game when Stephen Curry sunk the first one. He would end the game with 14 points and seven assists.
Facing an early 11 point deficit, the Warriors clawed their way back and eventually tied the game at the half. Prior to the halftime break, fans and coaches were nervous to see Draymond Green limping on the floor. He was pulled from the game and sent to the locker room in the middle of the second quarter. Doctors diagnosed him with a leg bruise. He would eventually come back into the game and contributed with seven points and 7 rebounds.
After the half, the Warriors exploded on offense. Every player on the floor was contributing to the hot start to the half. They opened the second half by making 11 of their first 13 field goals. They would end the quarter with an eight point lead.
In the fourth quarter, the Warriors were able to extend their lead to 11 points. Clippers’ Chris Paul was in foul trouble with five late in the game. In an attempt to foul him out, Mark Jackson gambled and kept going with an isolation-post with a bigger Klay Thompson on Paul. Often, Thompson would come up empty handed. Paul willed the Clippers back with back-to-back three pointers, tying the game at 102.
The game got down to a free throw contest, and it seemed like both teams were not prepared for this. Paul was sent to the line and missed both free throws. Draymond came up with the rebound and was sent to the line immediately. He would eventually miss both free throws as well. After going back and forth with fouling, the Warriors would eventually win, 109-105.
Tale of the Tape
• Field-goal percentage: 44.4% (40-90)
• Three-point percentage: 40.7% (11-27)
• Rebounds: 48
• Assists: 26
• Turnovers: 21
• Bench points: 32
• Field-goal percentage: 42.4% (36-85)
• Three-point percentage: 45.5% (10-22)
• Rebounds: 42
• Assists: 24
• Turnovers: 17
• Bench points: 26
For What It’s Worth
In the absence of Andrew Bogut, the big men off the bench did a great job when they were called upon. Jermaine O’Neal had some great plays down the stretch. He ended the game with 13 points. Hilton Armstrong and Marreese Speights also showed that they are capable of playing in big time moments. Barnes exhibited great outside shooting by going for 3 for 6 outside, ending with 14 points.
What’s on Tap
Game 2 will be at Staples Center. Tip off at 7:30 PST on Monday, April 21.