Golden State’s late run seals 10-point win over Clippers
OAKLAND – The most important stretch of games for the Golden State Warriors this season is starting to produce the kind of results they’ve been looking for.
Monta Ellis scored 30 points, Stephen Curry had 23 and the Warriors pulled away late for a 122-112 victory over the Los Angeles Clippers on Friday night in their second game of a huge home stretch.
“The next week and a half will really tell our season,” Ellis said. “Being in the West, we can’t fall back two games. Two games is like four or five in the West.”
Vladimir Radmanovic hit a pair of 3-pointers during the key 10-0 run in the fourth quarter that sealed the win. He finished with 13 points and David Lee added 19 points and nine rebounds for the Warriors.
Blake Griffin had 28 points and 13 rebounds, and Eric Gordon scored 28 for a Clippers team that failed again to piece together a four-game winning streak. Los Angeles was trying to win four in a row for the first time since the beginning of the 2007-08 season after a big victory over Miami earlier this week.
“We can’t let down just because we lost this game,” Gordon said. “We have some big games coming up. This is a lesson. We just have to get back to playing basketball like we were.”
The Clippers’ neighbors to the north weren’t about to become the milestone marker.
Radmanovic broke a 106-all tie on a 3-pointer with a little more than 3 minutes remaining. He followed up with another, and Lee and Ellis hit layups to help Golden State go in front by double-digits for a much-needed win after a demoralizing, last-minute loss to Kobe Bryant and the Lakers on Wednesday night.
The game was just the second in a long stretch of home games for Golden State that includes playing 13 of 14 at Oracle Arena. The Warriors will need a strong showing during this part of their schedule – which started with the loss to the Lakers – to have any chance to jump into the playoff mix.
“We got to build this momentum. We got to get this thing moving,” Warriors coach Keith Smart said. “It’s like moving a rock up a mountain. We have to keep pushing that rock and take advantage of this time here, because you don’t get these opportunities that often.”
This one was just their type of game, too.
The offensive outpouring gave fans looking for fantastic finishes at the rim all they could handle. At the center of many of them, of course, was the high-flying rookie.
Griffin took off for a dunk just inside the free throw line on his first attempt only to be fouled by Andris Biedrins and miss. No matter, Griffin converted an alley-oop dunk from Baron Davis on the next possession and had a pair of other slams in the opening quarter – and many others on this night – to put the Clippers ahead 39-35 after a period in which they shot 70 percent.
The Warriors clamped down and found their rhythm with an 11-0 spurt in the second quarter capped by Radmanovic’s 3-pointer. They would go ahead by 13 points but went into halftime leading only 69-62.
Neither team could take a big lead for most of the game, which had 15 lead changes and 13 ties. The Warriors went ahead by six with more than 6 minutes remaining, then Griffin delivered perhaps his most acrobatic move of the night: a spinning reverse layup that bounced high off the glass and in – and got the foul on Lee for a three-point play.
That was about the last highlight for the Clippers.
The Warriors took control with the only way they know how: some timely shooting from beyond the arc and just enough defense – including double-teams on Griffin – to send the Clippers home with yet another missed opportunity at that elusive winning streak.
“They hit big shots down the stretch and we didn’t,” Davis said. “We just got out-executed. It’s definitely a game we can learn from, a game we felt we should have won. We just have to close out the game better.”
Notes: Griffin extended his franchise record to 24 straight games with a double-double. He also received some applause from the opposing fans for more than just his soaring dunks. He was tripped up by Lee in the first quarter, sliding with his arms out wide for several feet after the whistle.