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Warriors drop Clippers in opening playoff game

Posted: April 19, 2014 - 7:26pm
Los Angeles Clippers center DeAndre Jordan, left, puts up a shot as Golden State Warriors forward Marreese Speights defends during the first half in Game 1 of an opening-round NBA basketball playoff series, Saturday, April 19, 2014, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)  AP
AP
Los Angeles Clippers center DeAndre Jordan, left, puts up a shot as Golden State Warriors forward Marreese Speights defends during the first half in Game 1 of an opening-round NBA basketball playoff series, Saturday, April 19, 2014, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

LOS ANGELES — Klay Thompson scored 22 points, David Lee added 20 and the Golden State Warriors got Blake Griffin and Chris Paul in foul trouble to beat the Los Angeles Clippers 109-105 on Saturday in their playoff opener.

Stephen Curry added 14 points for the Warriors, who trailed by 11 points to start the game before rallying in the third when Griffin and Paul were on the bench together.

Paul led the Clippers with 28 points, and J.J. Redick added 22 points in 30 minutes. Griffin finished with 16 points, fouling out with 48 seconds left and the game tied at 105. DeAndre Jordan had 11 points and 14 rebounds.

Foul trouble plagued both teams, but losing Griffin and Paul for stretches cost the Clippers at both ends. For the Warriors, Andre Iguodala fouled out with 3:04 left in the game and Lee played with four fouls.

Paul returned early in the fourth with the Clippers trailing by 11. His fast-break layup trimmed Golden State’s lead to 98-92. Griffin came back at that point, hitting a hook shot and then feeding Paul for a 3-pointer that cut their deficit to 100-97 with 3½ minutes left.

Jordan then stepped to the line, having made just 1 of 6 free throws in the game. He hit both and the Clippers got within one. Paul tied it at 102 on a 3-pointer.

Darren Collison made one of two free throws, giving the Clippers their first lead since early in the third at 103-102. Harrison Barnes hit a 3 for the Warriors before Griffin made two free throws for the 18th and final tie of the game, 105-all with 1½ minutes left.

The Clippers’ defense forced the Warriors into turning the ball over on a shot-clock violation. Griffin fouled out and then Thompson turned the ball over. Paul got it and fed Collison, who lost it near the baseline with 37 seconds left and the referees awarded possession to the Warriors, which was confirmed by a video review.

Collison got called for a loose-ball foul and Draymond Green made the go-ahead free throws for a 107-105 lead. Paul was trying to dribble around two defenders and wanted a foul. The referees initially ruled the ball belonged to the Clippers, but it was overturned on review, giving Golden State possession with 18 seconds left.

Down 108-105, Paul got fouled and missed both. His fifth foul put Green on the line, and he missed both. Collison got possession, but turned the ball over when he stepped out of bounds, one of 17 turnovers by the Clippers.

The first half was bogged down by 29 fouls, including 15 on the Warriors.

Griffin was limited to four minutes in the first half. He got his first two fouls 36 seconds apart early in the opening quarter and his third at 11:21 of the second.

Already playing without injured center Andrew Bogut, Iguodala had four fouls and Lee three in the first half.

A three-minute stretch of the third produced a torrent of offense, with each team answering the other’s baskets. Redick and Thompson dueled from 3-point range and then Redick and Curry exchanged short jumpers with neither team leading by more than three.

The Warriors began pulling away over the final five minutes, when Paul got two fouls within a span of 1:10 and went to the bench with four. Griffin got two more in the final 2:16 and sat down with five. The Warriors took advantage of their absences to go on a 14-6 run that generated their largest lead to that point, 87-79. Lee scored eight points and O’Neal had four.

The teams split their four games in the regular season, a series that included nine technical fouls, two ejections, one flagrant foul and a post-game confrontation between Griffin and O’Neal. But the pushing, shoving and bodies hitting the floor in Game 1 was the result of hard, physical play and not any bad blood.

Williams scores 24 as Nets beat Raptors

TORONTO (AP) — The Brooklyn Nets made a case for the important of playoff experience in their opening victory over the Toronto Raptors.

Deron Williams and Joe Johnson each had 24 points, Paul Pierce scored nine of his 15 points in the final quarter and the Nets beat the Raptors 94-87 Saturday in Game 1 of their first round series.

Playing in his 137th career postseason game, Pierce connected on four of his five shot attempts in the fourth as the Nets kept the Raptors at bay.

“You just get that feeling, you’ve been in those situations a number of times,” Pierce said. “I don’t get rattled in the fourth quarter, down the stretch or in playoff settings. I’ve been in pretty much every playoff setting that you can imagine. I just try to stay calm and bring my calmness to the game.”

Nets coach Jason Kidd said Williams “set the tone” by scoring 18 points in the first half.

“He came out with high energy,” Kidd said. “I thought he was looking to be aggressive in scoring the ball. He got the guys off to a good start.”

Shaun Livingston scored 10 points and Kevin Garnett had five as the Nets won despite making 4 of 24 3-pointers.

“We didn’t shoot well from 3 tonight but we made up for that by taking care of the ball, good defense down the stretch, making plays offensively,” Williams said. “That’s why we got the win.”

The Nets turned the ball over nine times, while the Raptors had 19, leading to 17 Brooklyn points.

“That was the biggest issue,” Toronto coach Dwane Casey said.

Kyle Lowry scored 22 points and Jonas Valanciunas had 17 points and 18 rebounds for the Raptors.

Valanciunas is the second Raptors player to have a double-double in his postseason debut. Tracy McGrady had 25 points and 10 rebounds against New York in his first playoff game in 2000.

“He grew up today and that was huge for us,” Casey said.

Valanciunas also set a Raptors record for playoff rebounds by surpassing Keon Clark, who had 16 against Detroit in 2002.

Greivis Vasquez had 18 points for the Raptors and DeMar DeRozan had 14 in his playoff debut, making three of 14 field goal attempts.

“DeMar didn’t have the best of games” Lowry said. “He’ll bounce back for sure.”

The game was delayed midway through the third quarter when the shot clocks above each basket malfunctioned. Play eventually resumed with both clocks still dark, and the stadium announcer marking the remaining time at 10 seconds, then counting down from five before saying ‘Horn’ as time expired. The clocks remained inactive for the rest of the game.

“It was definitely tough because you’re used to looking up to see the time,” DeRozan said. “We just tried to help each other out when the announcer called down from 10 seconds.”

In a written statement, Raptors ownership blamed the outage on a “signal path failure” that also affected the backup clocks. The team said new cables will be installed and inspected by the league before Game 2 on Tuesday night.

Vasquez called Tuesday’s game “a must-win” for the Raptors.

Trailing by five to start the final quarter, Toronto tied it at 67-67 with 9:50 left thanks to a 3 and a fast break layup from Patrick Patterson.

Brooklyn moved back in front thanks to four points from Livingston and a banked jumper by Mirza Teletovic, but the Raptors tied it at 73-73 with 6:25 left on Lowry’s driving layup.

Toronto led 77-76 on a 3 by Vasquez at 5:15, but the Nets replied with a jumper by Johnson, a turnaround jumper by Garnett and a 3 by Pierce to lead 82-76 with 2:58 remaining. Garnett’s basket was his first made field goal in five tries.

Kidd said Pierce’s assist on Garnett’s basket was indicative of Brooklyn’s collective trust.

“That just symbolized who we are as a team, that we trust one another no matter what someone is shooting from the floor, how someone is playing, that we all trust that someone is going to step up and make a shot,” Kidd said.

Pierce added two more baskets on either side of a 3 by Vasquez, and the Nets sealed it with six free throws in the final 22 seconds.

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