This was a different night at Staples Center. There was no doubt about that.
Donald Sterling was banned from the building (ostensibly) for life, unable to watch the team that he — for now — owns. That distraction following the ugly incident this week was slowly drawing into the rearview mirror. Fans felt comfortable wearing their Clippers gear and supporting their team. They showed it:
That emotion carried through the entire game. The Clippers worked the ball inside and controlled the pace of the game most of the way. Golden State is good. The team played well. The Warriors were not overcoming the emotion of the evening.
DeAndre Jordan scored 25 points and grabbed 18 rebounds. Chris Paul had 20 points and Blake Griffin had 18.
Jordan is not a player the Clippers focus their offense around. So to see him make 8 of 10 shots and get to the line 17 times shows that he was active around the basket, cleaning up Los Angeles misses. The Warriors could not find an answer for him or stop him as their defense had to rotate to take on the more energetic Clippers team.
Golden State sent Los Angeles to the line 41 times while getting there only 19 times. The Warriors hit only 10 of their 26 3-pointers. So their decent shooting night was wasted behind the Clippers’ aggressive desire to get to the line. Again, there was a lot of emotion to overcome.
Klay Thompson scored 21 points and Stephen Curry had 17 for the Warriors in the loss. David Lee and Andre Iguodala each had 18 points. They played with energy of their own and the Warriors broke the Clippers down a few times. But not enough.
Not with the whole NBA world supporting the Clippers and pushing them forward. This was their night.