Saturday afternoon the Golden State Warriors beat the Los Angeles Clippers in Staples Center 109-105, and have taken a 1-0 lead in the first round playoff series.
If the Warriors wanted to have a chance in this series they needed to take at least one of the first two games in Los Angeles to steal home-court advantage, and they have done just that with the game one win.
The first half of the game was marred with foul trouble for both teams (frankly, awful officiating), Blake Griffin had three fouls before the end of the first half, and Andre Igoudala had four fouls (seriously how does that happen?) in the first half as well. There was a total of 29 fouls called in the first half, 15 of them were called on the Warriors. It had an impact later in the game as both Griffin and Igoudala fouled out playing 20 minutes each.
The start of the second half was a bit different, as the pace was back and forth and had more flow, there was one point in the third quarter were both the Clippers and the Warriors were trading baskets for a three minute stretch. Another factor was there was not as many foul calls that bogged down the first half.
Darren Collision hit 1 of 2 free throws to give the Clippers a 103-102 lead with 1:20 left in the game, then Harrison Barnes hit a big three to give the Warriors back the lead 105-103 and thanks to some missed free throws down the stretch from the Clippers (including two shocking misses from Chris Paul) the Warriors never relinquished the lead.
The Warriors had contributors from everywhere, the bench scored 32 points, including 14 from Barnes, who played more minutes because of Igoudala’s foul trouble. Jermaine O’Neal, who started in place of Andrew Bogut (who will be out for at least 6 weeks with a cracked rib), had 13 big points and played stellar defense. Klay Thompson (who I said in my last article will have a big impact in this series) scored 22 points, grabbed 7 rebounds and dished out 5 assists, on top of playing great defense on Chris Paul.
Game two Monday night is going to be a dog fight, as the Clippers look to refocus and try not to let a second loss in a row at home happen and knot up this series at one game a piece. For the Warriors it would be considered a bonus if they could somehow manage to win game two but considering they have already completed the task of at least splitting one of the two games on the road, they might come out flat and a little less motivated to start game two.
Hopefully in game two’s pace wont be slowed down by to many foul calls, as some of the fouls that were called in the first half of game one were atrocious, but regardless it was an entertaining first game and just what we had expected from these two teams. I’m still picking the Clippers to win this series in seven games and I fully expect them to win game two.