Warriors outlast the Clippers in a heart-pounding thriller 129-127

Photo credit: @warriors

By Jerry Feitelberg

The Warriors had their hands full as the Los Angeles Clippers made 13-of-16 3-point shots in the first half and 18-for-23 in the game. The 13 3s in the first half were a franchise (and NBA) record for the Clippers. The Clippers were raining down 3s on the Warriors, and the team had to find a way to play defense. The Warriors were facing a club that loves to run and were able to find men open to attempt the 3-point bombs.

The Clippers this year bear no resemblance to the Clipper teams of the past five years. All-Stars Chris Paul, Blake Griffin, and DeAndre Jordan are playing elsewhere. The Clipper offense now features Danilo Gallinari, Tobias Harris, Montrezl Harrell, and Lou Williams. Williams’ eyes light up when he plays the Warriors. The last time he played at Oracle Arena, he torched the Warriors for 51 points. The last time the Warriors played the Clippers in LA, they lost 121-116 in overtime. The Warriors wanted to even the score Sunday night. The Warriors did just that as they won a thriller 129-127.

The first half was a fast-paced affair. As mentioned earlier, the Clippers were raining down threes. The connected at a record pace as they made an NBA 13-in-16 attempts. The Warriors attempted 16 3s, but connected on five. What kept the Warriors in the first half was their ability to go to the free throw line. The Warriors did not miss a free throw, and they outscored the Clips 24-10 from the charity stripe. The game was tied at 48 when the Clips went on a 9-2 run to take a 7-point lead. The Clips increased the lead to 11 71-60. The Warriors went on a 7-0 run to finish the first half trailing 71-67.

The scoring leaders for LA were Gallinari with 14. He was 2-for-2 from three-point range. Tobias Harris knocked down 19, and he was 5-for-5 in 3-point attempts. Lou Williams, coming off the bench tallied 11, and he made one 3-pointer. The Clippers shot 52.2% from the floor and an astounding 81.2% from 3-point land.

Steph Curry led the Warriors with 22. Kevin Durant had 14, Draymond Green had 11 and Klay Thompson added 7.

In the third quarter, as they have done so many times, the Warriors got their offense going, and their defense shut down the Clipper offense as they outscored them 36-23 to finish the third quarter leading 103-94.

The Clippers started the fourth quarter on an 8-0 to cut the deficit to 1. The fans were squirming in their seats as the Clippers appeared to have found the key to success.  The Warriors were able to match the Clippers until LA made a bucket to grab the lead 117-116. Durant hit a shot to put the Warriors ahead 118-117. Curry made a 3 and was fouled. He made the free throw to complete a 4-point play. Durant followed with a 3, and the Warriors led 125-117 with time running down. However, the Clippers would not capitulate. They came back to tie the game at 127. The clock was running out, and the Warriors had the ball for the last shot. The Warriors brought the ball down for the final shot. Curry drove down the lane and mad the layup with just 0.5 seconds left in the game. The Clipper called a timeout so that they could take the ball in the forecourt. They needed someone to make a catch and shoot. They tried, but their attempt failed, and the Warriors finished with the win 129-127.

Game Notes and Stats: Steph Curry led the team with 40 points. Kevin Durant had another double-double with 35 points, 12 rebounds, and five assists. Draymond Green finished with 14. Klay Thompson, mired in a mini-slump, added 14. Kevon Looney tallied 10 coming off the bench. Jonas Jerebko started in place of Looney and scored 7 points.

The Clippers were led by Tobias Harris’ 32 points and 9 boards. He made six 3s in seven attempts. Danilo Gallinari put in 25 and had 11 rebounds. He hit five 3s in five attempts. Lou Williams had 25, Avery Bradley had 12, Montrezl Harrel had 13, and Patrick Beverley added 10.

The Warriors shot 45.2% from the floor and made 14 threes in 40 attempts. The Warriors, on defense, made 9 steals and blocked 8 shots. They committed 7 turnovers compared to the Clippers’ 15. The Clippers shot 53.7% from the floor and made 18 3s in 23 attempts good for an amazing 78.3%

The Warriors improved to 23-11, and the Clippers fell to 19-14.

Up Next: The Warriors meet the Lakers on Christmas Day at 5:00 pm. It will be the first meeting of the season for the Warriors and the rebuilt Lakers.

The Lakers’ all-star forward, LeBron James, has had this date circled on the calendar ever since he signed with the after the end of last season.

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