The Golden State Warriors lost a chance to close out their first-round playoff series with a disappointing 129-121 loss on Wednesday night to the visiting Los Angeles Clippers.
After the game, Kevin Durant told reporters:
"When we get a nice lead, we just tend to relax a little bit. I said it before. Teams are looking for something just to get them back into the game, you know what I'm saying? If we foul a 3-point shooter or turn the rock over or we shoot a few bad shots in a row, teams get going. They'll build some confidence. Because they're already playing loose, with nothing to lose, those shots, they don't have no pressure from the start to the finish, especially as an 8-seed. So they're coming out with some confidence already. And we kind of kept the door open with our intensity to start the game." -courtesy of ESPN.com
The Warriors' offense came out firing on all cylinders early, yet, the defensive end of the floor was severely lacking. LA eventually opened up a lead, about midway through the second quarter, after the two teams exchanged leads for most of the early portion of the game. From there, the Dubs would be forced into relatively rare territory, forced to play catch-up throughout the rest of the contest.
Eventually, late in the fourth quarter, the Warriors rallied and actually took a one-point lead (118-117) with 2;40 remaining in regulation. However, that would be the last time that Golden State led, as the Clippers closed the quarter and the game on a 12-3 run to put a stamp on another rare road victory, at Oracle Arena, and extend the series to a Game 6 back in southern California.
On the night, the Dubs allowed the Clippers to shoot a mind-boggling 54.1% from the floor, which is drastically up from their playoff average field goal percentage-against (45.8%). The Warriors were also out-rebounded by LA 53-43, which allowed for the Clips to get out in transition and put increased pressure on a Golden State defense that didn't quite seem up to the task.
Coach Steve Kerr will look to rally the troops to a series-clinching victory, down in LA at the Staples Center, in Friday night's Game 6. Doing so won't be easy, though, as the Clippers will be looking to keep the momentum on their side and force a deciding Game 7.