The Los Angeles Clippers took a huge step forward tonight on the road.
The Golden State Warriors did not want to let this game slip away, as they fought multiple times throughout the game, trimming away at Clipper leads to make a dent and steal a contest that Los Angeles had control of for most of the time. Those attempts did not work, however, as the Clippers won a close one in the NBA playoffs on Thursday night, 98-96.
Blake Griffin had a huge night for the Clippers, scoring 32 points on 15-of-25 shooting from the floor. His presence offensively in the post was what gave Los Angeles a real dominant spark on that end of the floor, and his four offensive rebounds were a testament to his hustle and determination to put the team on his back and get a victory on the road. Chris Paul did his usual thing, scoring 15 points while managing the game with 10 assists to just two turnovers.
The biggest difference maker in this game for the Clippers, however, was DeAndre Jordan.
Jordan was all over the floor, especially on the defensive end. His game-high 22 rebounds and five blocks were huge to Los Angeles. Jordan proved that more needs to be expected from him, as he has the natural athletic ability to make a contribution even when his skills do not shine through.
Golden State’s biggest flaw was shooting the ball as a team. Overall, the Warriors shot 41.6 percent from the floor and 19.4 percent from three. The Clippers did not play the most suffocating defense the world has ever seen. The Warriors simply missed a lot of shots, and for a team that lives and dies by the three, that is not going to get it done in a playoff environment. Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson shot a combined 5-of-19 from deep; their shooting will need to be improved if the Warriors are expected to turn this series around.
With Andrew Bogut out, the Warriors do not have the post presence necessary to contend with the Clippers’ dominant force in that area of the floor. If the Warriors cannot make perimeter shots at a decent clip, then they have no business being in a series like this. As long as the Clippers can play respectable enough defense and continue to pound the ball inside to take advantage in the post both offensively and defensively, then they should win this series without much more trouble from Golden State.
Winning a game on the road is always important for a team’s playoff psyche, and the Clippers sure helped theirs with this win. This team has proven they can compete at a high enough level at both ends of the floor, be it at home or away.
This series is wrapped up; the Clippers will come out on top.