The Los Angeles Clippers aren’t done yet.
Down 3-1 in their opening round playoff series, many had already written the Clippers off heading into Game 5 at Oracle Arena on Wednesday night.
Yet they never wavered.
After retaking the lead early in the second quarter, the Clippers fended off multiple runs from the Golden State Warriors to pick up a 129-121 win on Wednesday night — keeping their postseason alive and sending the series back to Los Angeles.
“It’s a little mix of arrogance and just hard work,” Clippers guard Lou Williams said on TNT after the win. “You know, we have a lot of young guys, we have a lot of veterans, guys that want to prove their names. We were wrote off early on in the year, people saying we weren’t a good team.
“You know, we take all of those things. We digested it and we try to make as much as we can out of it. It’s shown in this series.”
Clippers take off just before halftime
The Warriors took an early lead in the game in the opening minutes and held a four-point lead after the first quarter behind eight 3-pointers — including one from Alfonzo McKinnie at the buzzer.
The Clippers took off in the second quarter, though, mounting a 13-4 run over a four minute span just before halftime to take an eight-point lead. Los Angeles shot an impressive 56 percent from the field in the first half, too, and held the Warriors scoreless for more than three minutes during that run.
Just three minutes into the third quarter, the Clippers had built up a 15-point lead — the largest they’ve held throughout the entire series — behind two huge 3-pointers from Patrick Beverley and JaMychal Green, effectively silencing Oracle Arena. Despite a push from the Warriors, in which they cut the game to just three points, the Clippers used a 7-0 run to close out the third quarter to keep a double-digit lead.
A late Warriors push came up just short
The Warriors, as many expected, finally surged back into the game by the 3:20 mark of the fourth quarter after a huge 12-2 run and a defensive stand that left the Clippers scoreless for more than three minutes.
At that point, it seemed as if Golden State was finally going to surge ahead and end the series.
The Clippers, though, held on. Los Angeles allowed just three points in the final 2:40 of the game and pushed through to grab the eight-point win.
Clippers bench made the difference
While the Clippers starting lineup had an impressive night — Danilo Gallinari put up 26 points and seven rebounds, Beverley finished with 17 points and Green added 15 — it was the Clippers bench that dominated.
Williams led the Clippers with 33 points and 10 assists from the bench, shooting 12-of-19 from the field. Forward Montrezl Harrell added 24 points off the bench, too, and came up with a massive block late in the fourth quarter.
In total, the Clippers bench accounted for 59 total points. The Warriors, on the other hand, only had 17.
“I just loved how we played, I really did,” Clippers coach Doc Rivers said. “All we talked about is being us. We really felt, and I told our guys, they’ve been them in the series. We have yet to put a game where we are us through the game. I thought tonight was more like us throughout ... That was us. That was our team today.”
Kevin Durant led the Warriors with 45 points, shooting 14-of-26 from the field. Stephen Curry added 24 points, and Klay Thompson finished with 22 points. They were the only three Warriors to score in double figures.
Game 6 is scheduled for Friday night in Los Angeles, where the Warriors will have yet another chance to close out the opening-round series — which would set them up with a second-round playoff series against the Houston Rockets, who closed out their series with the Utah Jazz on Wednesday night.
“We just didn’t have it, for whatever reason,” Warriors coach Steve Kerr said. “We’re coming off two days rest, so there’s no reason to be tired. I didn’t like the sense of urgency, or the lack thereof ... It’s hard to stop a team once they get loose. So while I liked our energy in the second half, it was a little late, and I didn’t particularly like our execution. We played harder, but we didn’t play smarter.
“That’s what we’ve got to do, and I’m very confident that we’ll do that on Friday.”
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