Photo credit: @warriors
By: Ana Kieu
The Golden State Warriors held a 3-1 series lead over the Los Angeles Clippers in the first round of the 2019 NBA playoffs. It was clear the Warriors didn’t want to blow a 3-1 lead like they did to the Cleveland Cavaliers in 2016.
Philadelphia 76ers star Joel Embiid recently joked about the Warriors blowing a 3-1 lead in a postgame press conference. Warriors big man Andrew Bogut, who was part of the Warrior squad who lost to the Cavs in 2016, responded to Embiid’s joke in his column for Yahoo Sports Australia.
“Joel Embiid saying the 76ers don’t want to do what we did in the 2016 Finals is just Joel being Joel — he’s a bit of a larrikin,” Bogut wrote. “But they have to get to a Finals series first before they can even think about doing that.”
“It’s been a funny talking point for a lot of people in the league. But we haven’t taken any notice of it and it’s not something that’s been mentioned in the locker room.”
Sure, Philadelphia eliminated the Brooklyn Nets 3-1, but the Sixers are a long ways away from the Larry O’Brien NBA Championship trophy. We’ll see how things go in the City of Brotherly Love.
In the meantime, Golden State was more than ready to go for Game 5 at Oracle Arena on Wednesday night. Before the game, Draymond Green said: “We just got to come out with the mindset that it’s 48 minutes. Stay the course, no matter what.”
The Warriors’ starting five featured Stephen Curry, Kevin Durant, Klay Thompson, Draymond Green and Andrew Bogut. According to the San Francisco Chronicle, Bogut is open to another Australia-NBA season. Bogut has a verbal agreement to play for the 2019-20 Sydney Kings, and if given the opportunity to return to the NBA, he’d do so after honoring his commitment.
The first quarter remained in close scores, but the Warriors had something to smile about. Kevin Durant poured in the points, recorded his 3,776th career playoff point and passed John Havlicek for 12th on the NBA Playoffs’ all-time career scoring list.
Kevin Durant had back-to-back buckets along with 12 points in the first quarter. But Durant’s performance wasn’t the only highlight in the first quarter. Steph Curry found Andre Iguodala, who passed the ball to Alfonzo McKinnie, who hit a 3-pointer at the buzzer beater to extend the Warriors’ lead to 41-37 to wrap up the first quarter.
Patrick Beverley led the Clippers in points, rebounds and assists in the first. Beverley, Danilo Gallinari, Lou Williams and Montrezl Harrell kept things up in the second quarter to give the Warriors fits. The Warriors trailed 71-63 at the end of the first half.
Kevin Durant continued to hammer it home in the third quarter. Also, Steph Curry hit a 3 to cut the deficit to 87-78 with 6:25 left in the third quarter. But the Clippers built up a 10-point lead and wrapped up the third quarter with a 104-94 lead, so the Warriors had some work to do in the fourth quarter.
The Warriors were off to a good start to open the fourth quarter.
Check out the Warriors’ 4-point play:
The Warriors were down by 6 with 5:58 left in the fourth quarter. However, Steph Curry helped the Warriors out of the flop with a 2-point bucket to cut the deficit to 114-110 with 5:55 left in the fourth quarter.
Kevin Durant knocked down a few jumpers. The Warriors tied the game 116-116 with 3:03 left in the fourth quarter. But the Clippers weren’t ready to back down just yet. Golden State got their first lead of the game since the first half, but LA regained the lead 125-118 with 1:29 left in the fourth quarter.
Steph Curry hit a 3 to cut the deficit to 125-121 with 20.6 seconds, but Danilo Gallinari made a pair of free throws to cap off the scoring. The Warriors (3-2) lost to the Clippers (2-3) by a final score of 129-121.
Despite the Warriors’ loss, Steph Curry became the only player in NBA history knock down 400 career playoff 3s.
Check out the Warriors’ final stats:
Game 6 will be played at the Staples Center on Friday, April 26. The time has yet to be determined. The game will be broadcast on ESPN, NSBA and FSPT.