The Los Angeles Clippers were able to force a close finish, but the Golden State Warriors held on to win a hot one at Staples Center; 97-93. For the first time all year, the Clippers are looking up at the Lakers in the standings. Facing the Boston Celtics in their next game, things are going to get more difficult before they get easier.
Coach Vinny Del Negro largely blamed the loss on the poor start, and the energy expended to close the gap. The Clippers had a phase in the game where they played quite well, but it wasn't sustainable. The Clippers had to overcome a 21 point deficit, and looked gassed once they accomplished that.
"Our starters have to do a better job with their intensity to start the game off...They had their way with us in the first quarter...we tied it up at 83, but we used so much energy."
Blake Griffin lead all scorers in this first game of a six game home stand, with 27 points and 12 rebounds. He wasn't the only Clipper to finish with a double double, Reggie Evans finished with 11 points and 12 rebounds. Chris Paul finished with 23 points and shot a high percentage from the field, but only had five assists.
Monta Ellis led the Warriors with 21 points and 11 assists. The Warriors had five players in double digit scoring, but they were aided by the Clippers' terrible shooting from the free throw line. LA shot 54% from the charity stripe, which may have been the difference once the Warriors were able to limit turnovers and slow the game down.
Turnovers were the name of the game, as the Clippers made a huge run in the second half off Warrior turnovers; but gave up 20 points off turnovers on the game. The huge hole the Clippers had to dig themselves out of was largely a result of their inability to protect the ball.
Golden State shot better than 50% from behind the three point line, which included Dorell Wright going 4-7. He finished with 20 points, making more long distance jumpers than two pointers.
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