NBA -- Warriors outlast Clippers, 106-99
By Chad Caņares
Tue, 22 Jan 2013
OAKLAND -- In a 19,596 jam packed Oracle Arena in Oakland, California, the atmosphere was electric as the warriors and its fans braced to defend their home court against budding rivals the Los Angeles Clippers.
The visiting Clippers went straight to work banking on the offense of power forward Blake Griffin and guard Caron Buttler racing to an 11 to 5 lead before the Warriors got things going with Klay Thompson and Stephen Curry answering with an 8 to 2 run to tie the game at 13 at the 5:34 mark of the 1st quarter.
With Jamal Crawford's back to back baskets at the final minutes of the quarter, LA extended their lead but an ill advised foul by Chris Paul on Jarrett Jack with .04 seconds left put jack on the line to tie the game at 33 all. A desperation heave from mid court by Odom of LA found the top of the backboard to end the quarter.
The 2nd quarter started with the Warrior's Jefferson firing a missed jumper but Green was there for the follow livening up the already loud crowd in attendance. After several plays by the Warriors and turn overs by the Clippers, the ball found its way to Jamal Crawford for a left elbow three that was blocked by Jefferson. The ball ended up with team mate Jack for a touch pass back to Jefferson for the and one fast break play. Jefferson made the free throw for a 47 to 39 lead.
The home team extended their lead to 11 via a Curry 3 off the right elbow upping their margin. With the warriors celebrating Crawford took advantage and hit a 3 of his own that started LA's slow comeback.
With Griffin and Paul carrying their team, the Clippers chipped in Golden States lead to a single point but with 4 sec in the 2nd quarter left, Deandre Jordan committed a technical foul by pushing his man to the sidelines bringing Klay Thompson to the line hitting both free throws for a Warriors 53 to 51 lead to close the 1st half of the game.
Offensive games of both teams started the second half with David Lee, Curry and Thompson pitching in for the home squad. Griffin continued to carry the Clips offense but with Harrison Barnes back to back buckets, he extends the bay city squad's lead to 7 with a 67 to 60 score.
Two made free throws by Butler off a foul and a couple of unconverted plays by the warriors cut the home teams lead to 5 but after great team defense, the ball ends up in Klay Thompson's hands for dunk that electrified the crowd. Clips answer with a jumper but David Lee delivers underneath to put his team up by 5.
Sloppy and unconverted plays by the Warriors led to a Jamal Crawford three and another bucket by the latter on the following play cuts the warriors lead to 3 with 3 minutes left in the third. After a Jack missed jumper, the Clippers strung up point courtesy of another 3 again by Crawford, back to back 2's by Butler and a bucket by Bledsoe saw the Warriors lead disappear and found themselves 7 points down at the end of the 3rd quarter.
The start of the 4th saw the crowd on its feet but Matt Barnes quickly silenced the crowd with a fast break reverse conversion. Jack attacked and pulled up cutting the lead to 5 and after a lose play by LA, an outlet saw Curry leading a fast break pulling up for a three getting the crowd jumping off their seats while cutting the Clippers lead to 82-80.
A bucket by Bledsoe off a screen extended the visiting teams lead but Curry was quick with the trigger after shaking off his defender for an open three he made to cut the lead to 2. The three seemed to fire up Curry and his team who hit another three to recapture the lead at 88-86 and the tightened home defense led to another fast break led by Curry who made an amazing bounce pass to the streaking Jack to complete the highlight reverse layup for a four point 90 to 86 lead.
After the timeout Griffin imposed himself again for back to back buckets to tie the game and with the Warriors failing to convert, the ensuing play found Crawford open for a three giving the Clips a 3 point lead. David Lee then answered back working down low but the ensuing play saw a cutting Bledsoe swoop in for two to up their lead back to 3.
With the Clippers not converting on their next plays, Chris Paul fouls jack putting him on the line sinking both free throws to close the gap to 1. With the Warriors defense stepping up, Curry again drove down the lane finding Karl Landry for an easy 2 underneath.
With 1:44 left, a jump ball ensued off a muffed LA play that was won by the home team and again Curry off the screen hit a three pointer a foot farther from the 3 point line getting the home crowd screaming at the top of their lungs and forcing LA's coaching staff to call time out.
Off the time-out, The Clippers went to Griffin but Ezeli's single coverage with the crowds chant of defense seemed to be enough to make Griffin miss giving the ball back to the Warriors. Next play saw the ball in who else but Curry's hands that drove and dished out to David Lee who made the basket taking their lead to 101-97.
The Golden State Warriors' defense again upped a notch getting the ball back. Curry then was fouled and sank both his free throws for a 103-97 lead with under 20 seconds remaining. Another defensive stop had Richard Jefferson fouled and sent to the line for a 104 to 97 lead. Crawford made LA's final bucket then Curry again was fouled for two more made free throws for a 106-99 win.
Stephen Curry led the Warriors win with 28 points 6 assists and 3 rebounds and was backed up offensively by Klay Thompson and Jarrett Jack who scored 18 points apiece with jack contributing 10 assists as well. David Lee finished with another double-double with 12 points and 11 rebounds.
With the loss, Clippers are now 32-10 but still maintains a slim lead in the division. Chris Paul who played through pain said "I was trying to get through it. I sort of take this loss and put it on me because I feel like I hurt the team being out there and trying to play through it." He added "for us t, we're trying to build up wins. I think our biggest concern is to get everyone healthy. We're trying to have Grant Hill and Chauncey Billups back. we're just trying to build."
Paul finished with 4 points and 9 assists while the Clippers was spearheaded by Blake Griffin's 26 points and 13 rebounds. Jamal Crawford had 24 on 9 of 18 shooting. Caron Butler also finished with 19 points for the grounded Lob City Squad.
Top photo: Matt Barnes warms up.
Warriors in a huddle.
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