(SportsNetwork.com) - The Los Angeles Clippers will carry a five-game winning
streak into Oracle Arena Christmas night to take on their Pacific Division
rivals, the Golden State Warriors.
The Clips just swept a four-game homestand and their last loss came on Dec. 12
in Brooklyn. They've built a two-game lead in the Pacific, although it's not
over the Warriors, it's over the upstart Phoenix Suns.
The Clippers' most recent victory was a comeback win on Sunday over the
Minnesota Timberwolves in overtime. LA hung on for a 120-116 win to extend
their winning streak.
LA was down five points with less than a minute to go.
Jamal Crawford finished an uncontested layup for a 106-104 margin with 13
seconds left, and Minnesota burned its final timeout to advance the ball to
midcourt. The inbounds pass went to Kevin Martin, who was immediately doubled
by Chris Paul and Crawford. Martin lost his footing, allowing Paul to jar the
ball free and Crawford to scoop it up and coast in for the game-tying dunk
with 7.7 on the clock.
Minnesota's Nikola Pekovic broke a 112-112 tie with under a minute left in
overtime with a short hook shot over DeAndre Jordan, but Jared Dudley drained
a 3 at the other end to put the hosts in front.
Paul then made 3-of-4 from the foul line around a Kevin Love sky hook, and
Minnesota marched down the floor with a chance to tie or take the lead in the
closing seconds. Ricky Rubio found Pekovic down low, but his shot was off the
mark and Paul corralled the rebound with three ticks left.
Paul was pure on two free throws to seal the outcome.
"It's a great lesson for us," head coach Doc Rivers said. "I kept saying it
throughout and down the stretch, 'It's not over. There's plenty of time. It's
not over.' And I give them credit and they kind of hung in there."
Blake Griffin, the Western Conference Player of the Week, poured in 32 points
and hauled in 10 rebounds. Paul had a double-double with 19 points and 13
Crawford finished with 22 points, followed by 18 from Darren Collison and 15
out of Dudley. Jordan grabbed 17 boards.
Matt Barnes was fined $25,000 for failing to leave the court in a timely
manner upon his ejection from Sunday's game. Barnes was assessed a flagrant
foul 2 for a hard foul on Love and was ejected from the contest with 56.8
remaining in the third quarter. The league downgraded Barnes' penalty to a
flagrant foul 1 after a review.
The Warriors have won two in a row and three of four after Monday's road win
over the Denver Nuggets, 89-81.
Golden State was down heading into the fourth quarter, but put the clamps on
the Nuggets. The Warriors held Denver to 15 points over the final 12 minutes.
"It was a good win, especially because they took the lead and had a rhythm,"
said Golden State coach Mark Jackson. "Our guys battled. That is how you have
to win on the road."
David Lee led the way for the Warriors with 28 points and 10 rebounds. Steph
Curry and Klay Thompson had off nights with 14 and 13 points, respectively,
but combined to shoot 11-for-30.
Andre Iguodala had 12 points in his first game in Denver since signing with
the Warriors in the offseason.
"I played in Philly last year on the first game of the year so I've kind of
been through it. It actually wasn't that bad," noted Iguodala.
The Clippers beat the Warriors by 11 in LA on Oct. 31. Golden State has taken
three of the five most recent matchups, but the Warriors have gone 6-1 in the
last seven at home against the Clips.
The Sports Network