The Golden State Warriors managed to go into Staples Center and take Game 1 away from the Los Angeles Clippers in dramatic fashion. Golden State was not only able to battle through the absence of Andrew Bogut, but the foul troubles of Andre Iguodala as well. Without their top two defenders, Klay Thompson, Jermaine O’Neal and Draymond Green stepped up and played unbelievable defense, doing just enough to slow down the Clippers high-powered offense.
The combination of Green, O’Neal and David Lee did wonders against All-Star Blake Griffin, holding him to just 16 points on 6-for-13 shooting and frustrating him into an early exit. Griffin fouled out after playing just 19 minutes. Maybe Klay Thompson’s “flopping” comments got into his head after all.
Beyond the Warriors handicapped defense, Stephen Curry was not his usual human torch mode self. He managed to score just 14 points on 6-for-16 shooting and turned the ball over seven times. Thompson, however, made up for Curry’s off game by hitting big shots when needed, finishing with 22 points, seven rebounds and five assists.
On the other side of the ball, Chris Paul played out of his mind for the Clippers. Paul, who slightly tweaked his hamstring in the first half, made clutch bucket after clutch bucket down the stretch and finished with 28 points, eight assists and seven rebounds. But it was his five made three-pointers that kept the Clips within striking distance throughout the fourth quarter.
But in the end, it was Golden State’s unselfish offense that won them this ball game. Their interior passing, especially from Lee, O’Neal and Green, made things difficult for the Clippers and eventually took Blake Griffin out of the ball game.
The Warriors bigs were supposed to be their downfall in this series because of the absence of Andrew Bogut, but they simply outplayed and out-hustled those of the Clippers, outrebounding them 48-42 and outscoring them 46-33.
It was a huge win for the Warriors, who not only stole Game 1, but home court as well.