Warriors Game Day: Storylines And Themes From Golden State’s Game 4 Win vs Los Angeles Clippers

Warriors Game Day: Storylines And Themes From Golden State’s Game 4 Win vs Los Angeles Clippers

Warriors Game Day: Storylines And Themes From Golden State’s Game 4 Win vs Los Angeles Clippers (Photo: Jose Carlos Fajardo/Bay Area News Group)

ORACLE ARENA, OAKLAND, CA — Here’s a compilation of Bay Area-based story lines and themes from the Golden State Warriors118-97 rout of the Los Angeles Clippers yesterday in Game 4 of the 2014 NBA Western Conference Playoffs, Round 1…

Monte Poole of CSN Bay Area:


The Warriors outshot the Clippers (55.4 percent to 42.9), outrebounded them (34-32) and played their cleanest game yet, committing 15 turnovers to 19 for Los Angeles.
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The Clippers were led by Jamal Crawford’s 26 points off the bench. Power forward Blake Griffin, who had dominated much of the previous two games, was limited to 21 points.

Rusty Simmons of the San Francisco Chronicle:


Draymond Green got his second career postseason start and his first this season – bumping David Lee to center and moving Jermaine O’Neal to the bench – and helped the Warriors grab a lead they held for the game’s final 45 minutes, 54 seconds.
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“I thought our energy was spectacular … we played with a sense of urgency and our superstar basketball player was special,” said Warriors head coach Mark Jackson, who said he will stick with the small lineup for the rest of the series.
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Using mostly that small group, the Warriors’ offense showcased harmonious ball movement to create space for Curry’s game-changing shooting stroke and produced a 27-8 dominance in fastbreak points, 55.4 percent shooting and 32 assists (the team’s most in a postseason game since 1994).
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The more agile lineup also allowed the Warriors to switch defensive assignments at will and to rotate and contest jumpers more furiously than they had at any other point during the series. They limited Blake Griffin to 14 hard-earned shots and forced the NBA’s most-efficient regular-season offense into 42.9 percent shooting and 19 turnovers.
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“I would have voted all five of their starters to the all-defensive team if I could vote today,” Clippers head coach Doc Rivers said. “They were up in us, pushed us, grabbed us, held us, knocked us down, got every rebound and got all of the 50-50 balls. They were the tougher team.”

Diamond Leung of the Bay Area News Group


“I just know at the end of the day I’ve got a job to get our team right no matter what’s circling,” Rivers said.
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The Warriors, meanwhile, blitzed the Clippers from the start and for the first time in the series got off to a strong start that gave them an advantage for the rest of the game.
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Curry finally got free enough to score 17 of his points in the first quarter, hitting his first five 3-point attempts. He roared after hitting a second consecutive 3-pointer in transition to give the Warriors a 15-6 lead. Jermaine O’Neal’s dunk made it a 39-point first quarter to go along with a 20-point lead.
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“We tried to come out with a sense of urgency,” Curry said. “That’s been a big problem in the first three games; as a team we haven’t gotten off well.”
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The key to Curry’s breakthrough 10-for-20 shooting performance was new starting forward Draymond Green’s ability to set screens, according to Jackson.
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The Warriors’ new, smaller lineup featuring Green and David Lee at center paid dividends, allowing the team to play at a faster pace and rack up eight dunks in the first half. The Warriors held a 27-8 advantage on fast-break points and neutralized Clippers big man DeAndre Jordan, who was held scoreless.
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O’Neal said he volunteered the idea to come off the bench to Jackson on Friday.
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“Sitting in there and looking at tape and saying, ‘Wait a minute, they’re not leaving the paint with me in there. Let’s go, let’s play faster,’ ” O’Neal said of what prompted his decision.

Steve Berman of BayAreaSportsGuy.com:


“(O’Neal) came up to me after last game,” said Draymond Green.
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“He said, ‘Hey, I’m going to go up to Coach and I’m going to tell him that I think it would be better for me to play with the second unit and you starting. I think it’d be better for us. And I said, ‘OK.’
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“So the last two days, he was like, ‘Hey, don’t make me and coach look like no fools. You’d better back it up.’”
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Green responded with 41 ferocious minutes that included everything but pretty scoring numbers. As a team the Warriors were able to spread the floor in ways they hadn’t before, taking away the Clippers’ resounding edge on the interior. David Lee (15 points, 7-of-11) benefitted with several layups and dunks, Andre Iguodala (22 points on eight shots, nine assists) had one of his best games since joining the team.
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O’Neal, a player Jackson has repeatedly said he didn’t want to overuse throughout this season, scored five points in 10 minutes. And he couldn’t be happier.
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“Ego is for losers. No ego in winning,” he said.

Poole again, from CSN Bay Area:


O’Neal said he was doing what he should do. If he’s going to set an example for selflessness, he’d better do it now. He is considering retirement after the season.
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So he submerged his ego for the sake of the team.
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“Ego is for losers,” O’Neal said. “There’s no ego in winning. We talked a lot about that coming into the season. We talked about coming out of the (All-Star) break. What are you willing to sacrifice for this team to win?
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“I don’t care if I play five minutes or if I play 30 minutes.”
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O’Neal was smiling when he said this, perhaps because the Warriors had won, or maybe because he played a significant role simply by making it easier for his coach.

Poole again, from CSN Bay Area:


“Our energy was spectacular, 39 points in that first quarter was huge,” Warriors coach Mark Jackson said. “But we played with a sense of urgency, and our superstar basketball player was special.”
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The Clippers had taken Curry out of his game, double-teaming him and trapping him in the open court. Through the first three games, during which Curry averaged 18 points, their schematic message was ABC – Anybody But Curry.
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Jackson made lineup change that appeared to disrupt the L.A. plan, inserting forward Draymond Green for center Jermaine O’Neal. O’Neal is a pure post player whose 18 seasons have rang up considerable mileage limiting his energy. Green is a second-year bundle of eager enthusiasm.
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Green forced the Clippers’ defense into more movement, while pestering Clippers star Blake Griffin on the other end.
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In short, Green’s presence created room for Curry and limited space for Griffin.
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“I was looking for any space I could get,” Curry said. “Tonight I was able to step into a couple of quick threes. And once you hit a couple early, it seems like there’s more space that opens up.”

Marcus Thompson of CSN Bay Area:


“It seems like they’ve tried to take me out my spots a lot more than any team,” Curry said. “Which makes it easy to get assists and get guys open. But over the course of a series, I’ve got to find a way to have an impact.”
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Sunday, he didn’t wait until the Warriors were trailing. He didn’t save his scoring outburst for the third quarter, as has become his thing.
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He made his first 3-pointer at the 8:09 mark of the first quarter. Then another one 23 seconds later. Then another one 40 seconds after that. The Clippers, already rocked by the racism scandal involving their owner, were woozy from the three landed haymakers.
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By the time the quarter ended, he had racked up 17 points, produced two assists and propelled the Warriors to a lead as large as 20.
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Curry had been bottled up all series by the swarming defense of Chris Paul, supported with an aggressive trap designed to force Curry to pass. But in Game 4, that wasn’t going to be enough.

Bruce Jenkins of the San Francisco Chronicle:


“Man on a mission,” said Klay Thompson after the game. “The Human Torch, right there.”
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This was Curry at Madison Square Garden, pouring in 54 points last season and giving those sophisticated fans a Broadway-caliber performance. It was Curry lighting up San Antonio for 44 during last year’s playoffs. It was the man who has surpassed Kevin Durant and everyone else as the purest shooter in the league.
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And when it came to this crucial Game 4, he didn’t waste much time.
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There are roars at Oracle, and then there’s the sound when Curry’s game soars into the stratosphere. He hit his first five three-point shots, giving the Warriors a 33-17 lead, and just when you figured it couldn’t get much louder, Iguodala – en route to a 22-point, nine-assist masterpiece – threw down a huge dunk for 39-24.
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The game felt decided right then, as if no further episodes could alter the outcome, but there’s no such thing as a one-man show for 48 minutes (not since the days of Wilt Chamberlain, anyway). Once Curry got the party started, everyone gathered ’round.
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“That might have been the best team win we’ve had all year,” said Thompson. “So good, even I dunked on somebody (a high-flying jam over Glen Davis). Definitely one of the best all-around games I’ve seen Iguodala play; I mean, he did everything. I thought we all played great, both ends of the floor. That’s when we’re the most fun to watch.”

Lowell Cohn of the Santa Rosa Press Democrat:


Curry was suffering from a case of Latent Chris Paul. He thought, just because he’s the Warriors’ point guard, he was supposed to play like Paul, a passer, someone who sets up the other guys. But Curry is not Paul. He is a dynamic scorer. He is a combo of Paul and Blake Griffin — passer/scorer — and on Sunday he let loose his inner Griffin. Scored 17 points, sank five 3s in the first quarter, just got off. He ended the game with 33.
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He allowed his superstar ego to express itself. He is not paid to be shy. He is paid to impose his will on the game. “I was looking for any space I could get,” he said. “I come off screens, usually they have been trying to trap, but tonight I was able to step into a couple of quick 3s. Once you hit a couple early, it seems like there’s more space that opens up.”
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Like the Grand Canyon. Curry would get a slice of light — you could see the lighted space between him and a defender, like magic — and up he went, the ball lofting out of his right hand, easy, smooth, beautiful. The ball sinking into the hoop. No net.

Sarah Todd of SFBay.ca:


Blocking shots, stealing the ball, forcing turnovers and running around perfectly placed picks, Curry controlled the game. He underscored his dominating play with ferocious roars until the veins on his face became prominent.
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Blake Griffin told SFBay the Warriors’ lineup change wasn’t what affected the game, it was that Golden State wanted to win more than the Clippers did:
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“I thought they came out with the right attitude and I thought we didn’t. From the beginning they played with patience, they played with force. They did the things that we wanted to do.”

Carl Steward of the Bay Area News Group:


“I know I can get to them, I know they want to do right,” the coach said. “And like I told them, the game’s on me. My fault. It’s my job getting these guys ready to play basketball, and I didn’t do my job. And if it’s because of the other thing, it’s still my fault. It really is.”
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The one thing the Clippers have going for them is that they still have home-court advantage even though the series is now tied 2-2. But going back to an uncertain environment at Los Angeles’ Staples Center as a result of the backlash toward Sterling, the team doesn’t quite know what to expect.

Tim Kawakami of the Bay Area News Group


“I guarantee they were prepared to play — guarantee you,” O’Neal said of the Clippers.
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“A lot has to do with what we did to them — picking up the pace, flying around, playing defense, quick offense. …
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“We’re not going to allow (anyone) to say that’s the reason why we won and they lost. That’s crazy.”
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Still, it’s very, very, very, very possible that the Clippers, who looked so strong winning Games 2 and 3, were reeling as they started this game.

Evan Zamir of GoldenStateOfMind.com:


I’m not sure I can remember a game where there were so many uber-positive contributions as this one. It seemed every Warrior, from Klay Thompson to Andre Iguodala to Harrison Barnes (oh my!) did no less than they needed to do to ensure victory. Yes, Klay Thompson amassed a bunch of fouls (excuse the Fitz in me that thinks most of them were atrocious calls). But he was ridiculously good in the minutes he was actually on the court.
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THAT DUNK.
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WAS RIDICULOUS.

Simmons again with the San Francisco Chronicle:


Iguodala was his usual pestering self on defense and helped convert 19 Clippers turnovers into 26 Warriors points. But how could he have known that the series would take such a drastic turn after the Clippers looked so superior in Games 2 and 3?
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“You could kind of see that they had it all going for them, they had a really good rhythm, they were feeling really good about themselves, and they were really excited after winning Game 3,” Iguodala said. “That kind of let me know that they just gutted it out. We were right there, and we weren’t even playing our best basketball.
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“The thing I’m most happy about is that we didn’t panic. When you go down 2-1, it kind of feels like the world is going to end. Fans are kind of panicking, but we kept our composure and did what we had to do.”

Link for videotape breakdown by Andy Liu of GoldenStateOfMind.com: here.

Ray Ratto of CSN Bay Area:


Nor was it David Lee’s (15 and six, freed as he was from the onus of guarding Blake Griffin) or Draymond Green’s (who did take on Griffin) or even Harrison Barnes’ (15 and four assists in barely 24 minutes). The Warriors made Game 4 their own, and though there is no way to prove it, they likely would have done so even if Donald Sterling had been Donald Duck.
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No, this strangest and in some ways most noxious of series is now tied 2-2 with Game 5 in Los Angeles, but the tide has clearly turned for both teams. The Warriors, who win by four, lost by 40 and two and now won by 21, walk and talk as though the Clippers were the Denver Nuggets of a year ago, while the Clippers . . . well, Rivers again.
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“We’re going home to what would normally be a safe haven,” he said, “but now I don’t even know if that’s true.”

Jimmy Durkin of the Bay Area News Group:


The timidness we’ve seen in David Lee attacking the basket? Outside of his first shot of the game, that was gone. He got open lanes and aggressively went after them. Klay Thompson wasn’t spectacular and fouled out in just less than 29 minutes, but he was hot from the outside early to help set the tone. Draymond Green, making his first start in the series, didn’t show up a ton in the box score (he rarely does) and wasn’t as spectacular as he was in Game 4, but clearly the Warriors’ small lineup created an advantage.

Adam Lauridsen of GSW Fastbreak:


Who didn’t play for the Warriors was as notable as who played. Jackson tightened up his rotation, giving no time to Crawford and barely any to Speights. The hockey substitutions were nowhere to be seen, with at least two starters on the court at all times before the curtain calls started in the fourth. As a result, the Warriors played a more consistent game, weathering Clipper runs and avoiding dead periods of their own. Another adjustment long overdue.

Ethan Sherwood Strauss of TrueHoop.com:


The Warriors had the opposite experience, with much of the team firing on all cylinders. Even Hilton Armstrong got in on the action, scoring on consecutive post-ups to wild crowd reactions. According to Jackson, Armstrong approached him after the game and said, “Thank you for believing in me. Thank you for trusting me.”
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In this act and others, the Warriors found a measure of unity in the maelstrom of ugly events. Down a starting center and undersized, they responded with their best collective effort of the postseason.

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