Golden State Warriors
Los Angeles Clippers
MVP: Andrew Bogut. The 10 points and 14 rebounds (6 offensive) are nice, but Bogut’s impact — predictably– went well beyond the box score. The Aussie goaded Blake Griffin into his second technical and an ejection in the third quarter, and set a physical, aggressive tone for a Warriors team that drastically needed a statement win.
Defining Moment: Fourth quarter, time winding down and his team down by two points, Chris Paul drove the lane and had his shot blocked by Klay Thompson. The Clippers inbounded the ball with one second remaining and found an open Jamal Crawford behind a double-screen, but his high-arching, desperation jumper came up just a few inches short.
That was … a rivalry. This game will be remembered for its dramatic finish, but was highlighted most by all-encompassing tension from the opening tip. After two ejections, two technical fouls, two flagrant fouls and the ring of the final buzzer, the Warriors and Clippers weren’t done: they had to be separated while leaving the floor.
– Jack Winter
Are We Sure This Isn’t a Rivalry?
H/t SI.com’s The Point Forward blog.
Tweet(s) of the Night
Later tonight, expect Blake Griffin to get arrested for sitting in a parked car while another driver repeatedly rams into it.
— Bill Simmons (@BillSimmons) December 26, 2013
Griffin called Golden State tactics "cowardly basketball."
— Dan Woike (@DanWoikeSports) December 26, 2013
"We were kicking their butt, and they went to something else." – Doc Rivers on game
— Dan Woike (@DanWoikeSports) December 26, 2013
Defensive Rating Update
Despite giving up 105 points and marginally decreasing their defensive rating from 100.2 to 100.3, the Clippers remain seventh in the rankings.
The Depth Charge
|Byron Mullens, C||DNP COACH’S DECISION|
|Ryan Hollins, C||8||0-0||0-0||1-2||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||1||+7||1|
|Antawn Jamison, PF||5||1-2||0-1||2-2||0||2||2||0||0||0||0||0||+1||4|
ClipperBlog Live’s Best Moment
No ClipperBlog Live tonight. Cheer up, though. We’ll be holding a CBL during the Portland game tomorrow.
Check Your Messages
Must Be the Egg Nog
Let’s talk about sound judgment or lack thereof. With a foul to give and approximately three seconds left in the first quarter, Matt Barnes fouled Toney Douglas while the guard was starting his shooting motion. Douglas banked in the 3 and would’ve had a four-point play had he not missed the accompanying free throw. In the post-quarter interview with ESPN, Doc Rivers took the blame for failing to communicate better, but Barnes should know that if a player isn’t facing away from the basket and time is winding down, it’s not wise to foul.
But Golden State made a glaring mental mistake, as well. In the closing seconds, instead of holding the ball, Klay Thompson passed to Andre Iguodala, a 60-percent free-throw shooter, as the Clippers desperately tried to foul. After the boneheaded move, Iggy unsurprisingly missed both freebies, allowing the Clippers to potentially tie the game with a two-point basket. In games as incredibly competitive as this one, a single mistake can easily cost one’s team the game. Golden State didn’t pay for Thompson’s error in judgment, but the Clippers may have paid for Barnes’ early lapse.
- Aaron Fischman
Chris Paul Does It All (Again)
Before the shenanigans, it looked like the Clippers might simply outshoot the Warriors – L.A. built a 13-point lead in the first quarter, made Stephen Curry less splashy, and sucked the electricity out of Oracle Arena. By the half, though, the lead dropped to two; and with eight minutes left in the third quarter, Golden State led by five, the arena was buzzing, and it looked like L.A. was headed for a dispiriting loss on the front-end of a tough back-to-back. You could feel it coming in the air, as they say.
Then, like so many other times, Chris Paul happened. On successive plays, Paul hit a contested midrange jump shot, drew a foul, interrupted a Mark Jackson story about Klay Thompson’s elite defensive ability by nailing a long 3-pointer over Thompson, and hit Blake on a perfectly thrown long pass for a breakaway dunk. Then he passed to Dudley for an open three (a miss), found Blake for a clean elbow jumper, got a hockey assist to DJ via a quick pass to Matt Barnes, and wrapped up his mad little spurt by splitting a midcourt double-team and sinking a one-handed floater in the lane.
10-2 run. Los Angeles back in the game. Crowd silenced. But all for naught.
- Luke Laubhan
Curry Takes Care of Ball, Thompson Hits Shots
Coming into tonight, in losses, Curry averaged 5.7 turnovers per game with just 2.9 in wins. He turned the ball over only twice Wednesday night and guess what…the Warriors won.
Coming into tonight, Klay Thompson averaged 22.0 points per game on 50.2 percent-shooting and 52.9 percent from 3 in Golden State wins. In losses, he scored 16.4 points per game on 38.2 percent-shooting and 28.4 from deep. Against the Clippers Wednesday, although he was subpar from 3 (3-10), he did score 23 points and shot 45.5 percent from the floor. Evidently, the trend of winning when Thompson plays well continues for the Warriors.
- Aaron Fischman
When Does a Defensive Possession End?
It seems like a distant memory, but multiple times throughout the first half the Clippers had double digit leads over the Warriors. Yet they only went into halftime with a two point lead. Why? Los Angeles gave up 11 first half offensive rebounds for 12 second chance points.
By and large the Clippers played solid defense for large stretches of the game. But all too often, particularly in the first half, the guards, wings, even Blake Griffin, would leak out as the shot would go up, leaving DeAndre Jordan to compete against Andrew Bogut — and sometimes not even then as Jordan would be out of rebounding position after a help rotation or dribble penetration contest.
Doc Rivers told J.A. Adande after halftime that the Clippers couldn’t be so eager to leak into transition; this was a jumpshooting game that would yield long rebounds. And the Clippers ostensibly made some adjustments, giving up only five offensive rebounds in the second half. Hopefully, the lesson learned that a defensive possession does not end until the rebound is secured is not one that requires repeat.
- Andrew Han
There is one major flaw in issuing a technical foul when two players get tangled up: it encourages violence. Conventional wisdom says that when two physical big men lock arms for too long under the basket, such as what happened with Blake Griffin and Andrew Bogut on Wednesday night, it’s bound to escalate. The technical foul is anticipatory. It’s preventative. But there’s another side to that logic.
If Griffin already has a technical foul, like he did Wednesday, then what’s to stop him from actually fighting if he knows a mere lingering jersey grab will get him tossed? What’s to stop a player from throwing a punch or inciting an actual brawl if he knows he’ll get tossed for a simple clenched fist, but one that was only grasped around a jersey and not aimed at any person in particular?
Actual fighting is pretty much out of basketball. What was the last real brawl we saw? Carmelo Anthony punching Nate Robinson at the Garden only to run backwards in the opposite direction? That was seven years ago. It doesn’t really happen anymore. That lack of violence has to be at least moderately credited to the NBA offices cracking down on even the slightest scuffles in a post-Malice at the Palace world. But what if we’ve gone too far? What if the indiscriminate technicals start to encourage retaliation? Where do we go from there?
- Fred Katz