Warriors beat Clippers 109-105 in playoff opener
LOS ANGELES (AP) — Klay Thompson scored 22 points, David Lee added 20 and the Golden State Warriors got Blake Griffin and Chris Paul in foul trouble to beat the Los Angeles Clippers 109-105 on Saturday in their playoff opener.
Stephen Curry added 14 points for the Warriors, who trailed by 11 points to start the game before rallying in the third when Griffin and Paul were on the bench together.
Paul led the Clippers with 28 points, and J.J. Redick added 22 points in 30 minutes. Griffin finished with 16 points, fouling out with 48 seconds left and the game tied at 105. DeAndre Jordan had 11 points and 14 rebounds.
Foul trouble plagued both teams, but losing Griffin and Paul for stretches cost the Clippers at both ends. For the Warriors, Andre Iguodala fouled out with 3:04 left in the game and Lee played with four fouls.
Paul returned early in the fourth with the Clippers trailing by 11. His fast-break layup trimmed Golden State’s lead to 98-92. Griffin came back at that point, hitting a hook shot and then feeding Paul for a 3-pointer that cut their deficit to 100-97 with 3½ minutes left.
Jordan then stepped to the line, having made just 1 of 6 free throws in the game. He hit both and the Clippers got within one. Paul tied it at 102 on a 3-pointer.
Darren Collison made one of two free throws, giving the Clippers their first lead since early in the third at 103-102. Harrison Barnes hit a 3 for the Warriors before Griffin made two free throws for the 18th and final tie of the game, 105-all with 1½ minutes left.
The Clippers’ defense forced the Warriors into turning the ball over on a shot-clock violation. Griffin fouled out and then Thompson turned the ball over. Paul got it and fed Collison, who lost it near the baseline with 37 seconds left and the referees awarded possession to the Warriors, which was confirmed by a video review.
Collison got called for a loose-ball foul and Draymond Green made the go-ahead free throws for a 107-105 lead. Paul was trying to dribble around two defenders and wanted a foul. The referees initially ruled the ball belonged to the Clippers, but it was overturned on review, giving Golden State possession with 18 seconds left.
Down 108-105, Paul got fouled and missed both. His fifth foul put Green on the line, and he missed both. Collison got possession, but turned the ball over when he stepped out of bounds, one of 17 turnovers by the Clippers.
The first half was bogged down by 29 fouls, including 15 on the Warriors.
Griffin was limited to four minutes in the first half. He got his first two fouls 36 seconds apart early in the opening quarter and his third at 11:21 of the second.
Already playing without injured center Andrew Bogut, Iguodala had four fouls and Lee three in the first half.
A three-minute stretch of the third produced a torrent of offense, with each team answering the other’s baskets. Redick and Thompson dueled from 3-point range and then Redick and Curry exchanged short jumpers with neither team leading by more than three.
The Warriors began pulling away over the final five minutes, when Paul got two fouls within a span of 1:10 and went to the bench with four. Griffin got two more in the final 2:16 and sat down with five. The Warriors took advantage of their absences to go on a 14-6 run that generated their largest lead to that point, 87-79. Lee scored eight points and O’Neal had four.
The teams split their four games in the regular season, a series that included nine technical fouls, two ejections, one flagrant foul and a post-game confrontation between Griffin and O’Neal. But the pushing, shoving and bodies hitting the floor in Game 1 was the result of hard, physical play and not any bad blood.
NOTES: Green bruised his right leg in the first half. … Clippers F Danny Granger played for the first time since March 27, when he went out with a strained left hamstring. … Warriors coach Mark Jackson said Bogut is in “serious pain” from a broken rib and remains out indefinitely. … Jackson played for the Clippers from 1992-94, helping them to a playoff appearance in 1993.
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