ORACLE ARENA — On the brink of elimination, the Warriors were forced to play their best game of basketball. And they did.
Photos by Scot Tucker/SFBay
The Warriors beat the Clippers 100-99, forcing the series into a Game 7 winner takes all situation.
The first three games between Golden State and Los Angeles could have been regular season matchups as far as intensity is concerned, while Games 4 and 5 were overshadowed by the Donald Sterling scandal.
Thursday’s Game 6 was the first time the on-court action lived up to playoff expectations with elite basketball the only thing on anyone’s mind.
Warriors head coach Mark Jackson, his voice hoarse from yelling above the din of the crowd and cracking with emotion, said he was looking forward to Game 7:
“I like my chances because I’ve got a group of guys who, who want to do whatever it takes to win.”
Stephen Curry, who only managed to get off 10 shot attempts in Game 5, came out aggressive — as the leader of a team should — scoring 14 first-quarter points and finishing the night with 24 points and nine assists.
To compliment Curry’s performance, the game became a family affair for the Warriors, with the starters and reserves alike playing defense at a premier level, hands flying everywhere.
Clipper coach Doc Rivers said bottom line, the Warriors were the aggressor:
“I did think they won the 50-50 game in a big way. …It was a hustle game and give them credit, they came up with just enough plays to beat us.”
Even though Curry found a way to get his shot off, the standout performance came from Draymond Green.
Green opened the game with four quick steals and six rebounds, finishing the game with 14 points, 14 rebounds, four assists and five steals. But what the stat sheet won’t say is that Green was a part of nearly every crucial Warriors possession.
Green dove for loose balls, defended multiple positions, kept the pace of the game at track speed and stood at the foul line late in the game hearing MVP chants from the crowd.
Though Green joked saying he felt like Curry amid the chants, he told SFBay it just means he needs to continue playing with as much effort as possible:
“I want to come out and bring good energy to the floor, setting good screens so we can get the best shooter in the world open. I’m just doing my job, it feels great and I’m going to embrace my moment.”
The Warriors went into the fourth quarter with a 70-67 lead. Golden State extended their advantage to as many as eight points in the fourth quarter, forcing the Clippers to dig out the hole down the stretch.
The Clippers scrambled in the final moments and Matt Barnes brought the team within one point when he nailed a three with just seconds left, but the Warriors were in control and held the ball as confetti fell to the floor at Oracle.
Game 7 will be played at Staples Center in Los Angeles on Saturday at 7:30 p.m.
Golden State won its first elimination game since May 10, 1987 at the Lakers, snapping a seven-game losing streak in elimination games. … Stephen Curry led the Warriors with 24 points and nine rebounds. Including the postseason, Curry has now hit a three-pointer in 75 consecutive games. … Draymond Green tallied back-to-back double-doubles in Game 5 and 6. … Marreese Speights scored a playoff-career-high 12 points to go with six rebounds. … Jermaine O’Neal left the game in the second quarter and did not return due to a right knee sprain.