In the latest chapter of a budding Western Conference rivalry Wednesday night, the Golden State Warriors knocked off the shorthanded L.A. Clippers 105-103. The bad blood between the clubs had been building since a few heated exchanges in their first head-t0-head matchup early in the season, and the trend continued on Christmas night with a slew of technical and flagrant fouls.
At the end of the third period, Golden State’s Draymond Green was seen throwing a forearm into the neck of Blake Griffin, resulting in a flagrant-2 on Green (ejected) and a T on Griffin. Then, with the Clippers leading 79-78 early in the fourth, Griffin and Andrew Bogut got tied-up under the basket, resulting in a technical for both players. Though Griffin was clearly not the instigator in either scuffle, he was slapped with a pair of technicals and ejected from the game.
L.A. gave it a valiant effort without their star from that point on, but came up just short. Two free throws from Harrison Barnes with just over a minute remaining proved to be the difference in the game, despite several subsequent opportunities wasted by the Clippers. They even failed to capitalize on a pair of missed free throws by Andre Iguodala down-the-stretch that kept the game within reach, but Chris Paul had a jumper rejected by Klay Thompson and Jamal Crawford missed a desperation three-pointer as time expired.
Griffin was having a huge night prior to his removal from the game, as he finished with 20 points, 14 rebounds and five assists in just 33 minutes. DeAndre Jordan added 13 points, 13 boards and six blocks, while Paul led the Clippers with 26 points and 11 assists.
The Warriors were able to triumph despite a rare poor shooting night from Steph Curry, who finished just 5-17 from the floor (though he did chip-in 11 assists and six rebounds). Klay Thompson and David Lee helped pick up the slack, each scoring 23 points and combining for 18 total rebounds.
The Clippers outshot the Warriors 49% to 42%, but Golden State held a 49-38 edge on the boards, including 16 offensive rebounds leading to 23 second-chance points. L.A. also struggled from deep, hitting just 4/18 from three.
After the game, the teams clustered near the tunnel and scuffled a bit more prior to being separated by arena security.
The Clippers fell to 20-10 on the year with the loss, still three games ahead of Golden State in the Pacific Division. The surprising Phoenix Suns are just a game-and-a-half back of Los Angeles. The season series is now tied between the teams, with two meetings remaining. They’ll face-off again in Oakland on January 30th, and in Los Angeles on March 12th.
L.A. will take on the West-leading Portland Trail Blazers Thursday night on TNT.
About the Author
Written by Taylor Smith
Taylor Smith is a writer for the Los Angeles Clippers.