The Clippers struggled for three quarters before picking up one of their best wins of the season on the road in Golden State without Kawhi Leonard, 130-125.


The Clippers looked awful to start, with sluggish defense and fumbles on offense regular occurrences the first few minutes. The Clippers were fortunate the Warriors looked a bit sleepy as well, and that Harden hit a couple tough jumpers. The Warriors’ defensive gameplan was clear, which was to swarm Paul George off-ball and force Amir and Terance to shoot, which worked, as both guys were cold to start. Still, the Clippers’ starters hung in gamely, with the defense picking up a bit. Things started to shift when the bench came in, with the offense once again slowing down without the Harden-Zu pick and roll and with the defense declining. The Warriors continued to miss open looks, but still held a 30-23 lead after one.

The Clippers started the second unit with a Russ-Harden-Norm-Mann-Plumlee unit, but brought in Zu for Plumlee after about 30 seconds and Brandon Boston for Russ a minute later. The Clippers’ reshuffled lineup played with more energy and generated better looks due to the Harden-Zu two-man game, but cold shooting and Warriors’ transition offense the other way kept the Warriors ahead. At around the 4:40 mark, with the Clippers still trailing by eight, Ty went super small with Paul George at center, Russ, Harden, Norm, and Boston. This unit, predictably, couldn’t get any stops, and the Warriors lead had swelled to the teens by the late quarter. Somehow, the Clippers got on a run late, and found themselves down just 59-52 at halftime.

The Clippers continued to brick their threes, but a Zu hook and PG and-one got them to 62-59 at the 9:50 mark. However, they couldn’t get closer, and the Warriors went on a Steph-fueld run to push the lead back out to 10 by the midpoint of the quarter. Harden continued to keep the Clippers in the game almost single-handedly, leaving the third quarter at the 2:40 mark with 24 points on 9 shots, but getting little help from his teammates outside of Zu and (PG, slightly, on offense). The Clippers without Harden were just able to hang in, with a Mann buzzer beater getting them to 97-86 heading into the 4th.

The Clippers started with a Russ-Harden-Norm-PG-Mason unit, and played better on offense but less so on defense. However, a brouhaha started with a chain of events including a hard Draymond foul on Plumlee for which TY got a tech, a no-call on a Plumlee shot with Draymond defending a minute later, Plumlee getting upset and grabbing Podziemski, Kuminga shoving Plumlee, and Ty furiously demanding a replay. When the dust settled, Ty was ejected with a second tech, Kuminga got a T, and Plumlee got a Flagrant One.

Dan Craig took over for the Clippers with them down double-digits, and the Clippers immediately looked fired up. They got the lead quickly down to two with 7 minutes to go by playing through PG against smaller defenders. Then, a Norm three a minute and a half later gave the Clippers their first lead of the game. Steph and Podziemski charged back, but Norm answered with another three, and the Clippers led 116-115 with 3:15 to go. PG fouled out at the 3:07 mark, and Amir checked in for him. Amir was immediately fouled on a loose ball and made both free throws. Norm hit a three the next possession, and the Clippers were up 121-115 with 2:20 to go. Steph refused to go away, but the Clippers continued to hit shots and free throws to stay ahead. With 35 seconds to go, and the Clippers up 128-125, the Warriors chose not to foul. Russ missed a midrange jmper, but Mann tipped the board to Amir, who passed it back to Harden. He made both free throws, the Warriors missed, and the Clippers came away with a 130-125 win.


Big 4th: The Clippers were flagging for three quarters, with Harden and Zu the only positive contributors. That changed in the 4th. The Clippers outscored the Warriors 36-21 after Ty’s ejection, and got strong play from everyone. Amir hit four free throws and made a three. Zu continued to play strong defense. Russ got offensive rebounds, scored some buckets, and had a couple beautiful dimes. Norm went 4-4 from deep with some incredible shotmaking. Harden hit the two deciding free throws and dished some assists. George scored, defended, and made plays for others (though he did foul out in a very silly fashion). This was the kind of well-rounded, team effort the Clippers have been missing in recent weeks, and hopefully this performance gets them off into the All Star Break on a good note.

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