Why not play another?
Steph Curry capped off his game-high 24 points with an intentionally missed free throw that rocketed off the backboard as time expired and the Warriors hung on Thursday night against the Clippers to force Game 7 on Saturday at Staples Center.
Draymond Green added 14 points and 14 rebounds while playing most of the game in foul trouble, yet never fouled out. Andre Igoudala chipped in a quiet 15 points, but basically sealed the victory when Blake Griffin fouled him shooting a 3-pointer with 2:31 remaining. The foul was Griffin’s sixth, and Iggy made the 3-pointer, but missed the free throw to make it a 4-point play.
While the Warriors couldn’t have come close to winning without Curry, Igoudala, and Green, the most important minutes of the night for the Warriors came from backup big man Marreese Speights. After Jermaine O’Neal sprained his knee in the second quarter in a collision with “Big Baby” Davis, Speights stepped in and scored 12 points on 4-of-7 shooting in just 12 minutes of action. That’s the efficiency and bench play Mark Jackson is looking for heading into Game 7.
Overall, Game 6 was probably the worst game of the series, in terms of the quality of play. Both teams shot less than 40 percent from the field, 39-percent for the Warriors and a lousy 37-percent from the Clippers. The two teams also combined for 52 fouls in 48 minutes, and led to early exits for David Lee, Griffin, and J.J. Redick.
I have to admit, I’m surprised the Clippers didn’t put Golden State away tonight. With the momentum coming off the emotional win in Game 5, I thought L.A. would ride that wave into the second round. Instead, the Clippers looked emotionally and physically drained.
Matt Barnes led the way for the Clippers with 18 points and 11 rebounds. Jamal Crawford added 19 points and partnered with Redick, 15 points, to do damage from 3-point range. However, it was the players who didn’t perform for the Clippers that everyone’s talking about.
Chris Paul finished with nine points, eight assists, and looked out of rhythm almost the entire game. His hamstring remains to bother Paul and could be the reason for his up and down play this series. Griffin scored 17 points on 8-of-24 shooting and only shot two free throws. The hero of Game 5, DeAndre Jordan, struggled from the free throw line again, going just 3-of-9 from the stripe, and only contributed nine points on the game. Jordan did snag 17 rebounds and blocked four shots, so he wasn’t entirely absent like in Game 4.
Paul, Griffin, and Jordan are basically the big 3 for this Clippers team. If they want to win Game 7, they’ll need more than 35 points between the three of them.
Looking ahead to Game 7, the Warriors have their hands full without Jermaine O’Neal, who most likely will miss the game though it hasn’t been confirmed yet, and, obviously, Andrew Bogut. The small lineup of Barnes and Green worked in Game 6, but with another day to prepare and watch film, you have to assume Doc and Co. will find some way to exploit the smaller lineups. Plus, with the way fouls have been called this series, we might be seeing a lot more of Hilton Armstrong if Lee, Green, Barnes, and Speights can’t stay on the court, which is basically 75-25 those guys will get in foul trouble because it’s happened almost every game this series.
For the Clippers, it’s a matter of taking care of business at home. Everyone knew Golden State would punch back because that’s what they do. It’s been a draining series for the Clippers with the “Sterling Circus,” but I think that fuels them even more to win in Game 7. Then again, I thought that’s why they would win tonight. So, I really have no idea!
All I know is, Saturday, with three Game 7’s, is going to be crazy.