Golden State fans will want to focus on the last shot — you’re not going to get many calls in that spot but Chris Paul did seem to clip Stephen Curry on the elbow on a final three (or at the very least didn’t give him room to come down). There was no call and the Clippers won 98-96.
But that’s not why the Warriors lost Game 3, that’s not why they trail 2-1 in this series.
The Warriors lost because they were 6-of-31 from three.
The Warriors lost because Blake Griffin led a 19-4 charge in the third quarter to destroy the Warriors — the Clippers were up by 18 at that point (Griffin had 32 on the night). The Warriors had to expend a lot of energy just to get back.
The Warriors did make a run late in the fourth quarter, then the Clippers responded with another 7-0 run, this one led by Chris Paul. The Warriors had to fight back on that one as well in the final seconds. And they couldn’t.
The Clippers won the match ups again and with that take a 2-1 lead in a series that started to show some of the feistiness we had all expected. Matt Barnes should get out his checkbook now for the fine that is coming thanks to his WWE body slam of Andre Iguodala. Green had his own flagrant on Griffin.
The Warriors fought back in this one, they just couldn’t get all the way back.
During the season Golden State lived by the three on offense — only the Rockets made more threes. The Warriors count on the three ball. However, during the regular season the Clippers held opponents to shooting 33.2 percent from three, the lowest percentage in the league. That strategy is working as evidenced by the 6-for-31 shooting in Game 3 by Golden State.
The Clippers continued with their “we’re not going to let Stephen Curry beat us” strategy, trapping and trying to force the ball out of his hands. Curry ended up with just 16 points — although he nailed a couple of late threes — but he did have 15 assist. Klay Thompson benefitted with 26 points on the night to lead Golden State.
DeAndre Jordan had 14 points and more importantly 22 rebounds, a Clippers franchise record. Jamal Crawford had 15 points off the bench, Chris Paul had 15 points and 10 assists, plus he sparked a fourth quarter 7-0 run.
The Clippers can expect to see more small ball lineups as Mark Jackson needs to find a way to get his shooters better looks. Then they need to knock them down.
Golden State needs the Splash Brothers back in full force for Game 4. If not, that could be the last game at Oracle this season