LOS ANGELES – Score round one for the Golden State Warriors.
Guard Klay Thompson scored 22 points and forward David Lee added 20 points and 13 rebounds, and the Warriors surprised the Los Angeles Clippers with a 109-105 victory in the Western Conference quarterfinals Saturday before a sellout crowd of 19,339 at Staples Center.
“It’s a big way to start the series,” said Golden State guard Stephen Curry, who finished with 14 points, seven assists and three steals.
With the win, the Warriors grabbed a 1-0 lead in the best-of-seven series. Game 2 is Monday, also at the Staples Center, before moving to the Bay area.
“I’m sure this isn’t how they envisioned starting the series, but it’s how we envisioned starting the series,” said Curry, who had seven of Golden State’s 23 turnovers. “It’s still too early to say who has the upper hand, but obviously we have home-court (advantage) back. We still have to come out and play well (in Game 2) to back this win up.”
The Warriors prevailed despite blowing a double-digit lead in the fourth quarter. They also benefitted from the Clippers’ inability to hit crucial shots and free throws down the stretch.
“Just a bunch of small mistakes that are big mistakes toward the end,” said Clippers forward Blake Griffin, who was limited to only 19 minutes because of foul trouble and finished with 16 points and just three rebounds before fouling out with 48.3 seconds remaining.
“Those are the times that we’ve really closed out games,” Griffin added. “Then a couple of turnovers, a couple of missed shots, missed free throws, things like that. We just didn’t do it.”
The Warriors led 98-88 after a layup by Lee midway through the final period, but the Clippers used a 15-4 surge to take a 103-102 lead after a free throw by guard Darren Collison with 2:10 left.
A 3-pointer by Barnes gave Golden State the lead again, but Griffin tied it at 105 with two free throws with 1:31 remaining.
It stayed that way until forward Draymond Green hit a pair of free throws for a 107-105 Warriors’ lead with 24 seconds left.
Los Angeles point guard Chris Paul turned the ball over with 18.9 seconds remaining after being defended by Green before a free throw by Barnes gave Golden State a 108-105 advantage with 13.9 seconds left.
Paul, who led the Clippers with 28 points and added eight assists and four steals, missed two free throws with 11.9 seconds remaining, forcing the Clippers to foul Green. He missed both free throws, but in the ensuing scramble for the ball Collison stepped out of bounds with eight seconds left. A free throw by Thompson sealed it for Golden State.
“I think the biggest thing is we felt like we had nothing to lose coming into this series,” said Lee, who hit eight of his 13 shots. “It’s two very good basketball teams, and we’re a little short-handed, so our goal tonight was to come out aggressive.”
That aggressiveness allowed the Warriors to carry an 87-79 lead into the fourth quarter, and led by as many as 11 before Los Angeles rallied.
Guard J.J. Redick scored 22 points, hitting eight of 11 shots from the field, including four of five on 3-pointers. Center DeAndre Jordan had 11 points, 14 rebounds and five blocks, but committed seven turnovers.
Golden State forward Andre Iguodala also was limited by foul trouble. Iguodala, who fouled out with 3:04 left, managed just eight points and six rebounds in 20 minutes.
Clippers forward Danny Granger returned after missing nine games with a strained left hamstring, but was ineffective, scoring just three points on 1-of-6 shooting.
The Clippers missed 12 of their 35 free-throw attempts (65.7 percent) compared to 18 of 25 (72 percent) for the Warriors. Los Angeles also turned the ball over 17 times.
NOTES: Both coaches believe the animosity between their clubs is healthy. “It’s supposed to be edgy. It’s playoff basketball,” Warriors coach Mark Jackson said. … The officials apparently disagreed, calling a combined 29 fouls in the first half and 51 overall. … Clippers coach Doc Rivers said the offense of G Jamal Crawford will be a big key to his club’s success in the series. “He’s huge for us,” Rivers said. Crawford managed nine points on 2-of-11 shooting. … Jackson said if he were not coaching the Warriors, he would pick the Clippers to win the series. … Golden State C Andrew Bogut is out indefinitely with a rib fracture and Jackson said he has no idea when or if Bogut will return. … Warriors PG Stephen Curry has scored 3-point baskets in 70 consecutive games, which ranks fifth on the career list, but well back of Kyle Korver’s record of 127 in a row.
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