When the Los Angeles Clippers and Golden State Warriors last met on Christmas the game had plenty of fireworks. Draymond Green got ejected late in the third quarter for an elbow to the throat of Blake Griffin, Andrew Bogut and Griffin a few minutes later during the fourth got tangled up with the Warriors center receiving a flagrant foul and Griffin his second technical resulting in an ejection. Fortunately tonight nothing out of the ordinary happened.
Golden State started out strong defensively, rebounding the basketball and David Lee and Bogut led the way offensively after facing little resistance from the defense of DeAndre Jordan and Griffin. Stephen Curry quietly added 10 points in the first quarter and more importantly didn’t turn the ball over.
The bench for the Warriors played their best basketball of the season in the second quarter pushing the 11 points lead up to 19 led by Harrison Barnes, Jordan Crawford and Marreese Speights. With just over five minutes remaining the Clippers caught a break when Bogut got called for his third foul on what seemed like a clean block on a layup attempt by Darren Collison. Los Angeles went on a run shortly after and even with the foul trouble it was the turnovers by Curry that hurt the most.
Barnes provided the highlight of the night with this dunk:
By halftime the Clippers got within eight thanks to Griffin who started out missing his first three shots before making his next seven and ended up with 20 points at the break. What Golden State did well defensively though is kept him out of the paint and most of his points came on jumpers and is the reason he grabbed just one rebound.
Disaster nearly struck early in the third for the Warriors as Bogut picked up his fourth foul early, yet Lee played excellent defense on Griffin forcing a number of difficult shots including two jump hook air balls. The Clippers made just one field goal on 15 attempts in the quarter and the lead ballooned up to 23. That lead did get chipped away with the reserves in early and Mark Jackson got forced to bring back his starters to end any hopes of a comeback. Andre Iguodala, Bogut and Curry did just that.
Griffin led all scorers with 27 points, Collison added 22 points and five assists and J.J. Redick chipped in with 12. Lee led the way for the Warriors with 22 points, 11 rebounds and four assists, Curry added 22 points, seven assists and four rebounds and Bogut went for 14 points, 17 rebounds and three blocks. Tonight Golden State matched a season-high with 66 points in the paint.