LA Clippers defeat the Golden State Warriors in the first round of the playoffs with key wins in Game 5 and 7- May 2014

 

The LA Clippers won their biggest series in the history of the franchise in 7 games vs the pesky Golden St Warriors. It came in light of the Donald Sterling fiasco where he was banned for life from coming to any games, fined the maximum $2.5 million and prohibited from any association or business activities with the team. NBA commissioner Adam Silver also is urging to have the team sold from Sterling’s racist remarks caught on tape. That penalty came just in time before game 5 at the Staples Center which picked up the team and the city to carry them to a huge win. DeAndre Jordan had his best playoff game ever with 25 points and 18 rebounds while Chris Paul added 20 points and 7 assists. Jamal Crawford, who was just named 6th man of the year, added 19 key points off the bench while Blake Griffin mustered 18 points but they didn’t come easy as the Warriors defense was tough against him. Darren Collison was also a key contributor with 15 points for the “We Are One” new team slogan. The final score was 113-103 as the Warriors had a balanced attack with all 5 starters scoring in double figures with Klay Thompson leading the way with 21 points. There were injuries to both teams as Hedo Turkoglu landed hard on his back taking a charging foul on David Lee and Jermaine O’Neil twisted his knee when Big Baby Davis accidentally collided with him.

 

It was back to home for Golden State for game 6 in which they prevailed by one point to send the series back to LA for the first Game 7 in Clippers history.

 

The team was now focused and energized up with the sell out crowd cheering them on. The Warriors had a bunch of their own fans come down for the game and they made a bit of noise while Golden State started strong and controlled the first half of the loser goes home game. Both coaches (Mark Jackson for the Warriors) and Doc Rivers (for the Clippers) were pumping up their respectful squads as they are as intense of coaches as they were when they were players. The Warriors built up a double digit lead and were on fire the first half making about 60% of their 3-point shots and playing stifling defense Griffin. LA battled back and finally took their first lead of the game half way through the 3rd quarter and it was sooner or later this game that Golden State had to cool off a bit from the field. Stephen Curry was hot and scored a team high 33 points including 16-16 on free throws. The visitors went 14-25 from 3 point range to keep them always in the game with Draymond Green going 5-8 and ending with 24 points before fouling out. He also did an admiral job trying to contain Blake Griffin, who finished with 24 points himself including some key buckets down the stretch. David Lee and Andre Iguodala were also key players the whole series that was super exciting.

 

However, down the stretch, the Clippers pulled it out with clutch plays and coaching. You can tell they were at a higher level than the past where they succumbed to the pressure. Griffin and Jordan have matured and taken their games to another level. Four players scored 20 or more points with Paul and Crawford adding 22 each and JJ Reddick scoring 20 points. Paul also had 14 assists. They also got 15 points and 18 rebounds from Jordan, 13 from Matt Barnes and 8 from Collison. Golden State really hurt themselves with 18 turnovers

 

What an overall series and dogfight this was and this was one of five game 7’s in the first round, an NBA record. When Collison made a free throw with 2 seconds left to put LA up by 4 points, Doc Rivers went wild high-fiving fans, Clipper broadcaster Michael Smith and pumping his fist many times to the crowd. Up next is no easy task with MVP favorite Kevin Durrant, All Star Russell Westbrook and the Oklahoma City Thunder with the series starting on Monday on the road for Los Angeles.

 

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