It was a week more emotional, more intense than any in Clipper history.
Yet through it all they found a way. They found a way to score 70 points in the second half of Game 7. They found a way a way to have balance and four guys scoring more than 20 points in Game 7. They found a way to dominate up front with their big men just enough.
They found a way to win and advance.
The Clippers beat Golden State 126-121 in an all-offense Game 7, giving the Clippers the series win. Los Angeles now advances to face Oklahoma City in round two starting Tuesday night in OKC.
Golden State heads into a summer with a lot of questions, among those at the top is whether coach Mark Jackson will be retained.
Going into this series the consensus was that without Andrew Bogut the Warriors were not going to be able to slow the high-flying Clippers, they would just have to outscore them. That’s basically how Game 7 went down.
The Warriors got 33 points from Stephen Curry on 7-of-17 shooting — he got to the line 16 times and made al 16 shots. The surprise was that Draymond Green became their most reliable second scorer, putting up 24 points in another start as the Warriors went small to battle the Clippers. Green was 9-of-13 shooting on the night. The Warriors didn’t play small much during the regular season but they adapted in this series and played well.
Golden State started out hot in this one, shooting 4-of-5 from three in the first quarter and finishing the first 12 minutes on a 9-1 run to lead 32-22 after one. The Warriors did that despite having 7 turnovers (they had more turnovers than missed shots, 5), part of the 18 they had for the game.
The Golden State role players kept coming up big. There was Green, there was Marreese Speights, there was Jordan Crawford who hit ridicuouls shots and had a dozen.
All of that had the Warriors up 64-56 at the half. Golden State had a true shooting percentage of 70 for the first half.
In the third quarter the Clippers guards led the comeback — J.J. Redick had 10, Chris Paul 8 in the frame and the Clippers owned the third 31-20.
The fourth quarter was entertaining because neither side could get a stop. The Clippers would get into the lane and had several alley-oops and putback dunks as their athleticism up front overwhelmed Golden State — the Clippers had 62 points in the paint on the night (38 for the Warriors). The Warriors though would just keep making shots, making plays. The Warriors role players were better but the Clippers did get 22 points out of Joran Crawford.
It wasn’t a dominant performance, it wasn’t the kind of game where when it was over you thought, “these Clippers can beat anybody.” Then again nobody in the West has played like that in the first round, all the potential contenders had their stumbles.
No team in the league faced what the Clippers did.
And if what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger, the Clippers should be hard as diamonds going into round two.