Warriors beat Clippers to take 3-1 series lead

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LOS ANGELES — Kevin Durant scored 33 points, Klay Thompson added 32 and the Golden State Warriors beat the Los Angeles Clippers 113-105 Sunday to take a commanding 3-1 lead in their first-round playoff series.

Stephen Curry was in foul trouble for the second straight game and finished with 12 points. Andrew Bogut fouled out with 5:50 remaining in the game with eight points and 10 rebounds.

The Warriors were 17 of 19 from the free throw line. They controlled the boards, 49-33, led by Curry and Bogut with 10 rebounds apiece.

Coming off a 27-point loss in Game 3, the Clippers played tougher defensively and hung in after trailing by 11 in the second quarter.

They outscored Golden State 30-25 in the third when they rallied to take a five-point lead. But Curry scored seven of the Warriors’ final 10 points to send them into the fourth ahead 87-84.

Game 5 is Wednesday in Oakland, when the two-time defending champions could close out the series.

The Clippers narrowed it to 87-86 early in the fourth, but Thompson sank his sixth 3-pointer and the Clippers never got close the rest of the way.

Rookie Shai Gilgeous-Alexander led the Clippers with a career-high 25 points. Danilo Gallinari added 16 points but was just 5 of 20 from the floor. Patrick Beverley had 12 points and 10 rebounds.

Super subs Lou Williams and Montrezl Harrell were held to 12 and 10 points, respectively. They were limited to a combined eight points in the second half.

After a quiet 12 points in Game 3, Thompson broke out for 27 points by halftime. He hit 6-of-9 3-pointers in the game.

The Clippers opened the second on a 13-3 run to tie it 35-all, but Thompson made two free throws that put Los Angeles down 10 later in the quarter.

TIP-INS

Warriors: Their streak of having at least 30 assists in three straight playoff games, which tied a franchise record, ended. They had 27 assists.

Clippers: C JaMychal Green started in place of rookie Ivica Zubac. Green scored a career playoff-high 15 points in Game 3, but had just six points. … Retiring Hall of Fame announcer Ralph Lawler turned 81. … The anthem singer was 7-year-old Malea Emma Andrawidjaja.

UP NEXT

Game 5 is Wednesday at Oracle Arena.

Playoff Edition Three Things to Know: Ben Simmons drives right into Nets, earns 76ers win

Associated Press
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The NBA playoffs are underway and there can be a lot to unpack in a series of intense games, to help out we will give you the three things you need to know from the last 24 hours in the NBA.

1) Ben Simmons drives right to basket, into the heart of Brooklyn, leads Sixers to a road win. Jared Dudley has become enemy No. 1 in Philadelphia for saying out loud what has been in every scouting report on the 76ers all season:

Ben Simmons answered that with his best game of the playoffs Thursday night, driving to get to his right hand at the rim all night long, and the Nets could do nothing to stop him. Simmons was 9-of-10 from inside eight feet of the rim, took just one shot outside the paint all night (an 11-foot hook shot he banked in), scored 31 points and led Philadelphia to a 131-115 win in a game Joel Embiid sat out to rest his knee.

Simmons made his statement and won the argument with Dudley…

or did he?

Whatever it took to get this aggressive Simmons, this is the guy Philadelphia needed. He did have help — Tobias Harris was 6-of-6 from three and had 29 points, while J.J. Redick added 26 — but with Embiid out Simmons has to be the catalyst.

D’Angelo Russell and Caris LeVert each had 26 to lead Brooklyn.

With the win the Sixers are now up 2-1 and in control of the series, making Saturday’s Game 4 basically must-win for the Nets.

Brooklyn could use to be a little more efficient on offense — 8-of-39 from three, as they did Thursday, is not good enough — but the more significant issue is defensive. Brooklyn has to find a way to slow the Sixers, and that starts with keeping Simmons from getting the shots he wants going to his right hand. If Simmons is still attacking and getting his shots, this series will be over soon.

2) Kevin Durant reminds everyone exactly who he is, scores 38 in Warriors blowout win. Doc Rivers was prophetic before his Clippers took on the Warriors in Game 3 Thursday night. Just not in a way he wanted.

“If we get down 31 again, it’s not going to turn out well,” Rivers said.

They did and it didn’t.

Golden State went up by 31 with 7:10 in the third quarter Thursday night. That score and game time was very similar to when the Clippers came back from that record deficit to even the series on Tuesday. However, this time the Warriors did not lose focus, they did not take their foot off the gas and let the Clippers back in the game. Golden State held on to win 132-105, and it wasn’t that close.

The Warriors now lead the series 2-1, with Game 4 on Easter in Los Angeles.

Through 12 quarters of play, the Warriors have completely dominated 10 of them so far. They have been much the better side in this series.

Thursday was Kevin Durant’s turn to dominate as he finished with 38 points. The Warriors made some adjustments on how they attacked the Clippers’ “top lock” defense, leading to a lot of shots at the rim. Durant got more touches where he could isolate and shoot over the smaller Patrick Beverley, although though when Clippers switched up to a taller defender Durant torched them, too. It was just his night.

The Clippers also need to find some offensive outlets. The Warriors did a good job making life hard for Lou Williams (4-of-11 shooting) and Los Angeles struggled to get consistent buckets, shooting 37.2 percent as a team for the game, including going 7-of-32 from three.

The Warriors are in control of this series, they have been all along when they didn’t get bored. These Clippers do not quit, they will be feisty again on Sunday, but that alone will not be enough. Los Angeles needs to find some offense and a way to slow down Kevin Durant. Good luck with that.

3) Derrick White puts Spurs in control of series with Nuggets. Derrick White is a vintage Spurs story. What received zero Division I scholarship offers out of high school, so he played three years of Division II ball, but impressed enough that he transferred to Colorado for his senior season. After impressing there, the Spurs picked him 27th in the 2017 NBA draft in one of those “that could be a good fit,” picks San Antonio always seems to make.

Two years later, White “came out of nowhere” to score 36 points, be +30, outplay Kentucky product Jamal Murray, and lead the Spurs to a Game 3 win. Even Denver coach Mike Malone was impressed.

Denver’s defensive strategy the first couple of games this series was, basically, to not cover White — he was the guy they helped off of, and they dared him to shoot from the outside. On Thursday the Spurs and White attacked that strategy having him cut to the basket or, when the ball swung to him, drive into that space and get buckets. The Spurs also used White as a pick-and-roll ball handler to get the switch because Nikola Jokic isn’t quick enough to stop White in space. It all worked brilliantly.

Now the adjustments fall to Malone and the Denver staff, who already have to scheme for LaMarcus Aldridge and DeMar DeRozan and their midrange games. What it also means is Murray is going to have to step up his game and start winning the battles with White. Denver’s starters need to do better, they cannot get outplayed like they did in Game 3.

If they do, or if White goes off again, the Nuggets will be in too big a hole to climb out of it. A first round exit for the No. 2 seed would be a disappointment.

Playoff Edition Three Things to Know: Clippers comeback, Sixers third quarter make history

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The NBA playoffs are underway and there can be a lot to unpack in a series of intense games, to help out we will give you the three things you need to know from the last 24 hours in the NBA.

1) Part Clippers’ comeback, part Warriors being bored, Los Angeles comes from 31 down to win. This is the “chicken or the egg” question: Was the Clippers 31-point comeback win more about the Clippers playing better or the Warriors just getting bored, missing shots, and playing poorly?

Like nearly everything in life, it’s not black and white, one or the other, it’s a little of both.

But know this: It was the greatest comeback in NBA playoff history. Think about that for a second. Greatest. Ever.

Golden State had been in control from the opening tip and the score was 94-63 with 7:30 left in the third quarter after a Kevin Durant dunk and-1 foul. Then it started — in the final 19.5 minutes of the game Los Angeles scored 72 points on 69.2 shooting and hitting 5-of-9 threes (for comparison, Indiana scored just two more points, 74, in its entire first playoff game).

On the other end, the Warriors went ice cold, shooting 29.6 percent and going 2-of-11 from three (18.2 percent).

Warriors’ coach Steve Kerr seems to get the chicken/egg credit/blame thing right to me: It starts with his team, but don’t take anything away from the Clippers. When most teams would have rolled over, they kept fighting through adversity.

“When I say we stopped playing, we stopped playing, like defense, offense, execution-wise we were not as engaged as we needed to be,” Warriors coach Steve Kerr said after the game. “We got exactly what we deserved. The Clippers were great. They executed, they were hungry, they stayed connected. They were together.”

NBA Twitter blamed the Warriors — and had a moment of schadenfreude watching Golden State come apart.

Lou Williams was spectacular for the Clippers with 36 points and 11 assists on the night, once he got rolling it didn’t matter if the Warriors defended him well he just hit leaners going left, every contested shot seemed to fall. Williams got help from Montrezl Harrell, who had another big game in this series with 25, while Danilo Gallinari added 24.

Kerr took some criticism for his rotations through the end of the fourth. However, this is less about who was on the floor, and more about how the players on the floor took care of business. The players stopped caring.

The Warriors are still the better team and while the series is 1-1 heading to Los Angeles we know how this will all end. The Warriors won’t be bored enough to let this happen again… probably. These Warriors do have their issues.

And now they are down a man.

2) DeMarcus Cousins leaves the game with a leg injury and he appears done for the playoffs. DeMarcus Cousins finally make the playoffs. He had a bit of a rough outing defensively in his first game, but Cousins finally was playing games after mid-April as the starting center on the team favorited to go get a ring.

Three minutes into the second quarter of his second playoff game, Cousins made a hustle play trying to chase down a loose ball, took an awkward step, and went to the ground.

That is the same leg in which he had the torn Achilles, which had sidelined him at the end of last season and most of this one.

Multiple reports now say it looks like a torn quad muscle (it’s actually better for Cousins if it’s the muscle and not the quad tendon in terms of recovery). An MRI will come Tuesday, but the Warriors are not optimistic, reports Monte Poole of NBC Sports Bay Area.

He didn’t return, and league sources confirmed to NBC Sports Bay Area that there’s fear that Cousins might have torn his left quad. One source said the center’s prospects are “not good at all.”

“There’s a pretty significant quad injury,” Warriors coach Steve Kerr said after the loss. “We’ll get an MRI tomorrow. But he’s going to be out for, I’ll just say a while.”

Not only does this mean the Warriors go to center by committee with Andrew Bogut and Kevon Looney the rest of the way, but also it could be a blow to Cousins’ free agent opportunities this summer (depending on what the MRI finds).

3) Philadelphia makes history with 51-point third quarter to even series with Brooklyn. Two days before, fans in Philadelphia were booing the Sixers and streaming out of the stadium early in disgust at their team’s poor play. And those fans were right.

Two nights later, this was the reaction inside the Wells Fargo Center.

The Sixers — and Ben Simmons in particular — attacked the basket from the start, used their superior athleticism, and were aggressive… and that still wasn’t enough because the Brooklyn bench was dynamic and the team was raining threes. It was a one-point game at halftime.

Then the Sixers came out in the third quarter and dropped 51. That ties the record for most points ever scored in a playoff game quarter. It was 28 more than the Nets scored in the frame, and the game was essentially over.

After three quarters the Sixers had scored 116 points and a 155 offensive net rating (points scored per 100 possessions). By early in the fourth it was garbage time.

Simmons had a triple-double of with 18 points, 12 assists, and 10 rebounds.

Joel Embiid added 23 points and 10 rebounds and was a +26 on the night. However, all most people were talking about was his elbow to the head of Jarrett Allen that earned him a Flagrant 1 (it could have been a Flagrant 2 and an ejection).

Embiid took this foul very seriously…

The series now shifts to Brooklyn and the Sixers are far from in the clear in this series. They have some real challenges, especially if they can’t stop the Nets bench, or offense in general.

Clippers come from 31 down in second half to get historic comeback win, even series

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At the 7:31 mark of the third quarter, Kevin Durant scored an and-1 on a driving dunk off an assist from Klay Thompson. After KD hit the free throw, it was 94-63. The game was over…

Except nobody told the Clippers.

Led by a brilliant game from Lou Williams, the Clippers outscored the Warriors 72-37 and completed the greatest comeback in NBA playoff history, eventually taking the lead on a Landry Shammet three in the final minute and going on to get a 135-131 win.

The first-round series is now tied 1-1 headed to Los Angeles for Game 3 Thursday.

If the Warriors were going to lose a game (or more) in this series, it was going to be because they got bored, didn’t respect the game or the Clippers, and it would come back to bite them because the Clippers do not quit. That is what happened in the final 19.5 minutes.

“When I say we stopped playing, we stopped playing, like defense, offense, execution-wise we were not as engaged as we needed to be,” Warriors coach Steve Kerr said after the game. “We got exactly what we deserved. The Clippers were great. They executed, they were hungry, they stayed connected. They were together.”

Lou Williams, the reigning and likely to repeat Sixth Man of the Year, was nothing short of brilliant. Hitting tough shot after tough shot going to his left, plus this was the best passing game I can remember seeing him have.

The Warriors have more bad news out of this game: DeMarcus Cousins injured his quadricep chasing down a loose ball, went straight to the locker room and did not return. Doctors fear a torn quad that would end his playoffs (and impact his free agency next summer)

It was a rough night for the Warriors. They will still win the series, but this was the first reminder (likely of several) that they just cannot coast into wins.

In addition to Williams big night, Montrezl Harrell had another big game in this series with 25, while Danilo Gallinari had 24.

Stephen Curry had 29 and Kevin Durant 21 for the Warriors.

Stephen Curry’s 38 points lead Warriors to Game 1 win over Clippers

Associated Press
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OAKLAND, Calif. — Stephen Curry scored 38 points and made eight 3-pointers to give him the most in postseason history, and the top-seeded Golden State Warriors began their quest for a three-peat by running away from the frustrated Los Angeles Clippers for a 121-104 victory in their playoff opener Saturday on a night tempers flared.

Kevin Durant and Patrick Beverley were ejected with 4:41 to go, just 19 seconds after they received double-technicals when Durant stripped Beverley and the Clippers guard fell into the scorer’s table. They both became enraged again and official Ed Malloy immediately sent them both to the locker room. Durant high-fived fans as he exited and the home crowd went into chants of “Beat L.A.!”

Curry shot 8 for 12 from deep to pass Ray Allen (385) for career postseason 3s with 386, had a postseason career-high 15 rebounds, seven assists and the 31st 30-point postseason performance of his career.

Perhaps this old, heated rivalry still has all the testiness of years past – just with new faces all around.

These teams are meeting for just the second time in the postseason after the Clippers took a seven-game, first-round series in 2014 when the California franchises had a deep dislike for each other.

Game 2 is Monday night back at Oracle Arena.

Draymond Green got Golden State going by making all five of his shots in the first quarter on the way to 17 points to go with seven assists and seven rebounds, while Durant scored 23 points as the Warriors ran their postseason winning streak to seven games.

On one of his marvelous 3s, the two-time MVP knocked one down from way back late in the third, nearly did the splits in the air and landed on his behind – still smiling all the while.

Montrezl Harrell scored 26 points and fellow reserve Lou Williams contributed 25 points and nine assists as Los Angeles returned to the playoffs after missing last season following six straight appearances.

Beverley, who missed last Sunday’s 131-104 loss at Oracle because of a right hip pointer and was booed during pregame introductions, didn’t score in the first half and wound up with three points on 1-for-7 shooting, seven assists and seven rebounds.

He and Durant received double-technicals with 5 minutes left before they got into it again.

The Clippers lost their cool on a couple of occasions, and that hurt playing in an already difficult road arena.

Danilo Gallinari‘s technical in the final minute of the second only further fueled the home crowd, and Curry capitalized as the Warriors ran to a 69-56 halftime advantage.

Los Angeles played in the final regular-season game at Oracle, then the first playoff game of the last postseason run before the Warriors move to San Francisco and new Chase Center later this year.