Clippers hold off Warriors to take 2-1 series lead
Oakland, CA (SportsNetwork.com) - After dismantling the Golden State Warriors to even up their quarterfinal series, the Los Angeles Clippers survived a scare on Thursday and took a 2-1 series lead in the process.
Los Angeles nearly blew a double-digit fourth-quarter lead before locking down on defense in the final possession to take Game 3, 98-96, at Oracle Arena.
Blake Griffin scored 32 points, while Chris Paul and DeAndre Jordan each contributed double-doubles in the win.
Paul had 15 points with 10 assists and Jordan registered 14 points with 22 rebounds.
"I just sat up here and saw that (Jordan) had 22 rebounds, it doesn't surprise me. He's been that way for us," Paul said of Jordan. "He covers up for us so many times when guys get by us he's just there for us."
With the Warriors trailing by four in the final minute, Stephen Curry dished to a wide-open Harrison Barnes, who missed a 3-pointer, but David Lee swatted the ball out to Curry to give the Warriors another chance.
Curry passed it back to Lee at the elbow, then Lee dropped it back off to Curry, who made a deep trey that cut the deficit to one with 11 seconds left.
Paul, who missed two crucial free throws in Game 1, split a pair to increase the lead to two with 8.6 seconds on the clock.
Curry handled the final possession for the Warriors, and instead of playing for the tie, the Golden State sharp-shooter attempted a go-ahead 3-pointer. He took it right to Paul in the closing seconds, but Paul stood strong on defense and forced an off-balanced shot from Curry, who came up with nothing but air as the Clippers held on.
"Obviously we're down two so you could go for the dagger 3 or try to get to the basket," Curry said of the final play. "I thought I had room to get the stepback and obviously a 50-50 call, thought it should go my way, but obviously it didn't. Definitely a frustrating way to end the game."
Klay Thompson paced Golden State with 26 points, while Curry deposited a 16- point, 15-assist double-double. Draymond Green netted 13 points with 11 rebounds in the setback.
Game 4 is set for Sunday at Golden State.
The Clippers led 46-43 at the half and Andre Iguodala split a pair of free throws out of the locker room to cut the deficit to two. Griffin proceeded to score 10 straight points to give the Clippers a 56-44 advantage.
Curry countered with a three-point play to slow the surge, but the Clippers scored the game's next nine points, culminating in Jordan's putback layup that pushed LA's lead to a game-high 18 points.
Later in the third, Green scored the final six points of a 10-0 spurt for the Warriors that cut the deficit to eight, but the Clippers extended the spread to 75-64 entering the final quarter.
LA maintained its distance from Golden State for the opening minutes of the fourth before Curry and Thompson knocked down 3s around a Griffin slam that trimmed the deficit to three, 87-84, with under five minutes left.
The Clippers led by eight with under two minutes left, but Thompson knocked down a jumper and added a layup before Curry's 3-pointer with 49 seconds left brought the Warriors within 96-93.
Early on, Los Angeles led 24-21 after 12 minutes and held a 46-43 edge at halftime following a tight-contested second stanza.
The Clippers entered the game with a 2-15 mark over their last 17 games at Oracle Arena, and had lost the last five meetings there ... Griffin, who was 13-of-14 from the free throw line in the first two games, finished 2-for-9 from the stripe on Thursday ... The Clippers' J.J. Redick and Jamal Crawford scored 14 and 13 points, respectively, in the win ... Golden State was 6-of-31 from beyond the arc ... The Clippers scored 25 points off 17 Golden State turnovers ... The Warriors had a 54-40 edge in points in the paint.
04/25 03:26:15 ET