Jamal Crawford
Jamal Crawford #11 of the Los Angeles Clippers shoots a jump shot over Justin Holiday #7 of the Golden State Warriors in the second half during the NBA game at Staples Center on December 25, 2014 in Los Angeles, California. Jordan was called for a foul on the play. The Clippers defeated the Warriors 100-86. Photo by Victor Decolongon/Getty Images

LOS ANGELES – The finale of the NBA’s slate of Christmas Day games was a thriller in Los Angeles that featured a rematch of the first round of the NBA playoffs between the Clippers and the Golden State Warriors.

The game was a back-and-forth battle that featured two of the best teams as well as the best point guards in the NBA. Chris Paul got the better of Stephen Curry in the second half and the Clippers exacted revenge from last month’s loss 100 – 86 in front of a sold out Christmas crowd at Staples Center.

Paul had 22 points and three steals to lead the Clippers. Blake Griffin had 18 points, 15 rebounds and six assists and DeAndre Jordan had14 points, 12 rebounds and some Christmas stuffing with two blocks.

The “Splash Brothers” of Curry and Klay Thompson combined for 29 points, but went cold in the fourth quarter, as the Clippers pulled away and built a 12 point lead halfway through the fourth. The Warriors missed 13 of 15 shots during that stretch and went almost seven minutes without a basket.

“We’re not invincible,” declared Curry after the game. “We have to play the way we are supposed to play, at our highest level, in order to win games. If you don’t you’re susceptible to getting beat.”

Jamal Crawford had 12 of his game high 24 points in the fourth quarter, as he the entire Warriors bench, which also finished with 24.

“Jamal is just good,” said Clippers coach Doc Rivers. “He’s a professional scorer. What I love about him, first of all, I wasn’t that good, but he can miss give in a row and it doesn’t faze him. He knows what he can do. Once he gets one to go in, the rim seems to open up for him and get bigger. We needed every point he had tonight.”

Clipper Girls
Los Angeles Clippers dancers perform during a break in the NBA game between the Los Angeles Clippers and the Golden State Warriors at Staples Center on December 25, 2014 in Los Angeles, California. Photo by Victor Decolongon/Getty Images

“I told Sam (Cassell) ‘Tonight I’m going to be aggressive’, because I could see we were struggling,” said Crawford about coming out firing once he stepped on the floor. “They weren’t scoring a lot, but tonight I knew I was going to be more aggressive because I knew I needed to get the score up a little bit.”

The two teams who publicly declare their disdain for each other had no on the court incidents for the first time in over a year. In the first meeting of the season in Oakland, the Warriors players refused to shake Griffin’s hand and things got chippy as the Warriors routed the Clips 121-104 in that contest.

“It’s no secret that we don’t like them. And it’s no secret that they don’t like us,” said Warriors forward Draymond Green. “So I don’t know why the game was that nice. We’re trying to act like we like each other and we don’t. It was a boring game. I didn’t think we were intense, as far as our fire, but I didn’t think they were either.”

The only on the court confrontation of note occurred in third quarter when Paul and Green appeared to get into it.

“He was telling me ‘Merry Christmas’ and he was telling me to tell Little Chris ‘Merry Christmas,” joked Paul after the game.

This game was more of a defensive battle especially down the stretch as the Clippers held the Warriors to just 16 points in the fourth quarter and 30 percent from the field.

“I thought our defense, was a lot more solid for longer stretches tonight,” added Griffin who started the night missing his first eight shots.

Golden State got off to a fast start, leading by double-digits in the first quarter, but the Clippers came rolling back and were only down by one at halftime. The Warriors did not enjoy their holiday season in Los Angeles as they lost to both the Lakers and Clippers, dropping consecutive games for just the second time all season.

“We’re out of whack right now, offensively. We’re not in the same groove we’ve been in,” said Golden State Warriors head coach, Steve Kerr. “The ball is not moving. So we have got a lot of work to do. We have to do a better job coaching. That starts with me, just getting practice time on the floor and executing and making sure we have multiple options with our stuff. We were just so stagnant out there tonight. Even when we had an opening, we could not convert. So it was a frustrating night.”

Game Notes:
Comedian Kevin Hart, former Clippers point guard, Baron Davis, DJ Skrillex, actor/comedian Marlon Wayans, and soccer player Kevin Prince Boateng were all in attendance for the game. Spencer Hawes was out of the lineup again for the Clippers but he did not go unnoticed in a red and green Christmas themed suit that he wore on the bench. Fans behind each basket received giant “Cliff Paul” faces courtesy of State Farm.

© 2024 Latin Times. All rights reserved. Do not reproduce without permission.