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Clippers, Warriors settle eventful series in LA
(SportsNetwork.com) - The Los Angeles Clippers and Golden State Warriors will wrap up their whirlwind series Saturday night with Game 7 at the Staples Center.
This series has been mostly about the Clippers and the horrid situation with owner Donald Sterling. Commissioner Adam Silver banned Sterling from the NBA for life on Tuesday, then the Clips won Game 5 to take the series lead.
On Thursday, the Warriors staved off elimination with a 100-99 home victory.
"I'm fighting for my life. My guys are fighting for their basketball lives this year. One thing I told the guys this morning, this group will never be together again, our group. So we've got to do whatever it takes to find a way to prolong this thing, to find a way to advance. Don't rob ourselves," said Golden State coach Mark Jackson.
He explained further that the team would be different based on draft picks, players leaving and new players coming into the fold. There has been plenty of speculation surrounding Jackson's job security should the Warriors lose in the first round.
But those sideline stories paled in comparison to what's gone on with the Clippers. After silent protests and lifetime bans, the Clippers now have one game to extend their championship hopes.
"We let one slip away, but we fought hard all season to have a Game 7 at home," said Clippers forward Matt Barnes. "Now, we've just got to take care of business."
Stephen Curry poured in 24 points and handed out nine assists to lead the Warriors to victory in Game 6. Andre Iguodala added 15 points and Draymond Green finished with 14 points, 14 rebounds, five steals and four assists for the Warriors, who shot just 39.3 percent from the field (35-of-89).
Jamal Crawford scored 19 points off the bench and Barnes added 18 points and 11 rebounds for the Clippers. Chris Paul struggled to post just nine points and eight assists and DeAndre Jordan added nine points and 19 boards in the setback.
Blake Griffin scored 17 points to go with nine rebounds and five assists before fouling out.
After three Crawford free throws to start the fourth tied the game at 70-70, the Warriors opened a 15-7 burst to go up 85-77. Klay Thompson capped the surge with a transition layup.
The Clippers shot their way back into it as Crawford's 3-pointer had LA within 89-86 with just over 5 1/2 minutes to go. Iguodala and Green made back-to-back baskets to open a 93-86 edge moments later.
J.J. Redick, who had just missed back-to-back wide open 3-pointers, buried a contested try to get the Clippers back within two possessions with 3:18 left.
Iguodala had a shot at a four-point play after Griffin was whistled for a controversial foul on Iguodala's trey from the corner, but he missed the free throw and the Warriors' lead stayed at 96-89.
Crawford buried a deep 3, and after Curry missed a step-back jumper, he found Barnes cutting to the basket for an easy layup that made it 96-94 with 1:43 to go.
Green grabbed an offensive rebound on the other end and was knocked to the floor by Jordan. Green made both free throws to make it a four-point game with 1:19 left, but Crawford found Jordan for a quick alley-oop slam to make it 98-96 at the 1:10 mark.
Harrison Barnes drove to the hoop on the next possession and drew a foul on Redick before sinking both shots from the charity stripe to open a 100-96 lead with 55.6 seconds left.
Paul couldn't cash in on an opportunity to cut the Clippers' deficit to two. After blowing by a defender, Paul had his layup swatted away by Thompson. Curry turned it over on the other end with 20.9 seconds left, but the Clippers missed two open 3-point attempts before Matt Barnes' desperation heave with 2.5 seconds left made it 100-99.
The Clippers immediately fouled Curry on the inbounds pass and sent him to the line with 0.4 seconds left. Curry missed the first free throw before intentionally missing the second. The ball bounced off the rim and was swatted to half court as time expired.
"It wasn't a very well played game by either team, but I felt both teams played extremely hard. I honestly thought they played, I don't know if it was harder than us -- we played hard -- but they won the 50-50 game in a big way," said Clippers coach Doc Rivers. "Every big rebound they got. They made the big plays."
Jermaine O'Neal was injured in the victory on a play many Warriors believed was dirty when LA's Glen Davis hit him in the knee. O'Neal underwent an MRI on Friday that revealed a bone bruise of his right knee cap and he is listed as questionable.
The Warriors haven't played a Game 7 since the 1977 Western Conference semifinals, while the Clippers are 1-1 in their last two Game 7s.
05/03 10:29:05 ET
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