On emotional day, Clippers roll to Game 5 win
Updated On: Apr 30 2014 09:49:13 AM CDT
After an emotional win over the Golden State Warriors on Tuesday night, Chris Paul said the biggest assist was delivered by NBA commissioner Adam Silver earlier in the day.
"I think (Silver) put a lot guys' minds at ease," said Paul, the Los Angeles Clippers' point guard. "It's definitely been tough the last few days, but we've been getting through it."
With Paul and center DeAndre Jordan leading the way, the Clippers beat the Golden State Warriors 113-103 before a sellout crowd of 19,657 at Staples Center in Game 5 of a Western Conference quarterfinal series.
With the win that came hours after Silver handed a lifetime ban to Clippers owner Donald Sterling due to racist comments, Los Angeles took a 3-2 lead in the best-of-seven series. The Clippers can advance with a victory in Game 6 on Thursday at Oracle Arena in Oakland, Calif.
Jordan finished with a playoff-high 25 points, 18 rebounds and four blocks, while Paul added 20 points, seven assists, six rebounds and five steals. Jordan hit eight of 10 field goals and nine of 17 free throws. Paul shot just 6-for-17 from the floor.
"We can say it wasn't a distraction," said Jordan, referring to Sterling's comments, which were made public two days before the Clippers lost Sunday at Golden State. "It was definitely a distraction. It showed in our play (in Game 4). We weren't urgent at all. We were going through the emotions out there a little bit.
"Tonight, we got back to focusing on our opponent, which is the Warriors right now."
The crowd provided a raucous atmosphere from start to finish, and the Clippers answered by dictating for much of the contest.
"They were awesome," Clippers coach Doc Rivers said of the fans. "I mean, that's as good as I've ever seen them. They're unbelievable."
Clippers forward Blake Griffin, who was plagued by foul trouble, had an uneven outing, finishing with 18 points and seven rebounds. Guard Jamal Crawford came off the bench to score 19 points, while reserve guard Darren Collison added 15 points.
Guard Klay Thompson led the Warriors with 21 points, and forwards David Lee and Andre Iguodala scored 18 apiece. Guard Stephen Curry scored 17 points, but he committed eight turnovers. Forward Draymond Green finished with 10 points and 11 rebounds, and Lee pulled down 10 boards.
"They made their free throws and they made tough shots," said Thompson, who shot 9-for-17 from the floor, including 3-for-7 from behind the 3-point arc. "Blake Griffin was hitting fadeaways and DeAndre Jordan was hitting at the line. Give them credit."
Thompson also said the Warriors were hurt by a lack of defense.
"It wasn't our offense. We scored 100 points," Thompson said. "It was definitely our defense."
Los Angeles took a 77-72 lead into the fourth quarter, then increased the margin to 95-85 after Paul canned three free throws with 5:46 remaining. After a 3-pointer by Iguodala, Warriors coach Mark Jackson ordered his players to intentionally foul Jordan, but the Clippers big man converted three of four, forcing Jackson to abandon the strategy.
Two free throws by Collison gave the Clippers a 103-92 lead with 2:56 remaining. Golden State closed the gap to six three times in the final minute, but Los Angeles sealed the win at the foul line.
"Too many times tonight we didn't meet force with force," Jackson said.
Rivers said he was pleased how his team rose above the distractions.
"I thought they were great," Rivers said. "I was really proud of them. I thought they were tired a lot tonight. I thought you could see that, like Blake and DeAndre. I thought you could see them getting tired from all the emotional baggage over the last four days. I just thought they showed great mental toughness tonight and really wanted to win the game."
Los Angeles forward Hedo Turkoglu suffered a lower back contusion after a fall in the third quarter. He did not return.
NOTES: If necessary, Game 7 would be played Saturday at Staples Center.
... A moment of silence was held before the game for former NBA coach and broadcaster Dr. Jack Ramsay, who died from cancer Monday at the age of 89. ... Golden State coach Mark Jackson went with the same smaller lineup that helped the Warriors prevail in Game 4, with F David Lee at center along with F Andre Iguodala, F Draymond Green, G Klay Thompson and G Stephen Curry. ... The Clippers improved to 2-8 in Game 5s. However, they are 2-1 when playing Game 5 at home. ... Los Angeles went 25-0 when leading at halftime at home during the regular season, and the Clippers are 2-0 in the postseason when holding a halftime edge at Staples Center.
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