The Golden State Warriors were able to pick up a much needed victory Sunday afternoon over the Los Angeles Clippers to tie the series up at two games apiece. It has been a rough 24-hour period for the Clippers, whose owner Donald Sterling has allegedly said some disgusting, vial and racist comments that have brought unwanted attention to the team. They looked visibly rattled when the game started, not coming out as focused as they had previously in the series, and the Warriors took advantage blowing the Clippers out at 118-97.
Warriors head coach Mark Jackson made a lineup change to start the game, and it impacted the game right from the onset. He decided to bench Jermaine O’Neal in favor of Draymond Green, and it paid off right away. The Warriors’ small ball lineup spread the court, causing match up problems for the Clippers all over the court. With the smaller, quicker lineup the Clippers struggled to keep up with the fast-paced Warriors, and it resulted in a big early hole.
Led by Stephen Curry, the Warriors blew the doors off the Clippers to start the game. They opened up as big as a 20-point lead in the first quarter, paced by 17 from Curry, taking advantage of a Clippers team whose heads understandably were not as into the game as they could have been. Curry knocked down his first five three-point attempts, as the crowd got into a frenzy and showed why Oracle Arena gives the Warriors quite possibly the best home court advantage in the NBA.
The aerial assault from the Warriors would continue throughout the entirety of the game, as Curry finished with a game-high 33 points on 10-20 from the field, including 7-14 from the three-point line.
Curry was not alone, as his Warrior teammates joined in on the barrage of three-pointers that rained down on the Clippers defense. As a team, they knocked down 15-32 from beyond the arc, as Klay Thompson, Andre Iguodala and Harrison Barnes all delivered multiple three-point makes.
The continued onslaught from the perimeter was able to keep the Clippers at bay, as the closest they got after the first quarter was 10 points with a little less than six minutes remaining in the game. The Warriors put an end to that Clippers threat quickly though, ending the game shortly after on an 18-7 run.
The Clippers just were unable to get going at any point in the game as much as the Warriors did, as the early deficit they found themselves in was too deep a hole to climb out of.
Game 5 Tuesday will be held in Los Angeles, and leading up to it all anyone will be talking about is what will come of the Sterling situation. It is necessary, and for the best, that there is a resolution to this situation as soon as possible. It obviously affected the Clippers tonight, and going back home for Tuesday’s game the questions and black cloud will hover over them even more. It would go a long way for the Clippers to come together and get a victory in Game 5 to not only take back control of the series, but also some of the Sterling noise.