This season, the Warriors and Clippers have faced off 10 times. Each team won five and lost five. Tomorrow, they'll play one last game.
Last night, at Roaracle Arena, the Golden State Warriors bricked their way to a 100-99 victory over the L.A. Clippers. It was a win that fell well short of beautiful. Comely, no. Homely, yes. It was at times frantic, with defensive rebound after defensive rebound, creating exciting, uninterrupted flows of spectacular ineptness. At other times, the referees' whistles ground the play to a halt, sucking the life out of the players and the hometown crowd. By the time the final buzzer blew, 52 personal fouls were committed, two Clippers and one Warrior had fouled out, Jermaine O'Neal's knee bent like a flamingo's, and Steph Curry missed two free-throws in the final half-second to secure the win. It was a great game.
The differences between last night's game and Game 5 were readily apparent. First, Steph shot the ball...a lot. He didn't make many of them, mind you, but those he did make, he did early on, scoring 14 points in the 1st quarter. Steph ended up taking 24 shots, hitting nine of them, and going 2-for-8 on 3-pointers. Not his best numbers, but by taking advantage of Chris Paul's bad hamstring, Steph was able to find the space he needed to be a constant threat and a source of worry for the Clips. Also, Steph committed only two turnovers, thank God.
Everybody Loves Draymond. That's how Warriors fans are feeling, especially after last night. 14 points, 14 rebounds, five steals, four assists, 5-of-6 on free-throws. That's a baller game. Iggy also threw it down, as he is wont to do. In one two-and-a-half minute sequence in the latter part of the 4th quarter, Iggy made a jumper for two, got a rebound, got a second rebound, got a third rebound, and then drained a three while drawing Blake Griffin's sixth foul. That was money.
And finally, in the final half-second of the game, the feeling in-between the dread after watching Steph miss his first free-throw and the realization that Steph was going to intentionally clank his second shot off the rim to restart the 0.4 seconds left on the game-clock and guaranteeing the win felt so sneaky and so, so satisfying.
The Warriors now travel to Los Angeles to play Game 7 tomorrow night. Ah, Game 7 — never has there been a happier pairing of word and number. 6-pack, maybe. Hey, why not both?
Warriors in seven remains on schedule.
Game 1: Warriors won, 109-105
Game 2: Clippers won, 138-98
Game 3: Clippers won, 98-96
Game 4: Warriors won, 118-97
Game 5: Clippers won, 113-103
Game 6: Warriors won, 100-99
Game 7: Saturday, May 3 at L.A., 7:30 PM (Warriors win series)