A week like no other in Clippers history gets to last a little longer after the Golden State Warriors took a 100-99 victory over the Clippers on Thursday night at Oracle Arena in Oakland, sending the series to a winner-take-all Game 7 at 7:30 p.m. Saturday at Staples Center.
The winner of Game 7 plays the winner of the Oklahoma City-Memphis series, which is also tied, 3-3. Game 1 of the next round will be early next week. If Oklahoma City wins, the series will start there. If Memphis wins, it will be at Staples Center or Oakland.
It wasn’t a pretty game with both teams playing ragged and out of sorts. But, in the end, despite a lot of advantages, the Clippers couldn’t exploit them to their benefit.
Warriors center Jermaine O’Neal left the game early in the second quarter when he collided with Glen (Big Baby) Davis and sprained his right knee. It left the Warriors short of big men. And things didn’t get any better when power forward-turned-center David Lee fouled out with 9:44 left in the fourth quarter.
But, the Clippers still couldn’t mount enough of a rally to win the game.
The Clippers did close their deficit to four points late in the fourth quarter, but a Blake Griffin foul on Andre Iguodala on a successful three-point shot made it a seven-point game with 2:31 left. Iguodala missed the free throw. It was Griffin’s sixth foul of the game, sending him to the bench. Griffin finished with 17 points.
The Clippers were able to make it a two-point game and eventually one with 1.1 seconds to play after a Matt Barnes three-pointer. But Stephen Curry was fouled with less than a second to play and missed free throws, the second on purpose so the Clippers could not get an easy rebound.
Still, in the end, the game wasn’t as close as the score.
Curry was the game’s leading scorer with 24 points. Jamal Crawford led the Clippers with 19, followed by Matt Barnes with 18.
Can the Clippers rally to close out the series or is the series headed back to Staples Center for a winner-take-all Game 7 on Saturday?
A spotty third quarter left a lot to be answered with neither team playing that well.
The Warriors were dealt some bad news when center Jermaine O’Neal did not come out for the second half after spraining his right knee in a collision with Clippers power forward Glen Davis. It left the Warriors with very few big men, an advantage the Clippers did not immediately exploit.
One Clippers big man was also missing, sort of. Blake Griffin had10 points on a dreadful 5-of-20 shooting from the field.
The third quarter started as pretty much a mess for both teams. Warriors guard Klay Thompson was trying to find his shot. Clippers point guard Chris Paul was trying to not let an injured left hand affect him. However, Paul had to alter his game when he picked up his fourth foul with 9:34 left in the quarter, sending him to the bench for several minutes.
It was as if each team was looking to make a run in the quarter but neither was playing well enough to do it.
The Warriors tied the score, 59-59, with 4:35 left in the quarter when Stephen Curry made a foul shot after Matt Barnes was assessed a technical. The Warriors took a 60-59 lead with 4:24 to play on an Andre Iguodala free throw.
The Clippers were struggling just to make any shot. Things then started to unravel in the final two minutes when they fell behind by seven. But a three-pointer by Jamal Crawford and a basket by Darren Collison closed the margin.