NBA Roundup: Clippers force Game 6 against Warriors
By JANIE McCAULEY
The Associated Press
OAKLAND, Calif. — Lou Williams again came off the bench and knocked down big shot after big shot. Patrick Beverley crashed the boards at every chance. Danilo Gallinari drove the lane with authority.
The Los Angeles Clippers took the Warriors right out of their comfort zone by beating the two-time defending champions at their own game with energy on both ends, extending their season long after many had counted them out.
Williams hit a fadeaway jumper with 1:29 left and finished with 33 points and 10 assists, Golden State uncharacteristically clanked shots much of the second half and couldn’t make key stops, and the upstart Clippers sent their first-round series back home with a 129-121 Game 5 win on Wednesday night.
No clinch celebration just yet for the two-time defending champions, who lead 3-2 but needed far more than Kevin Durant’s playoff career-high 45 points.
“I don’t want to get ahead of myself. They’re up 3-2 still, but I just loved how we played, I really did,” Clippers coach Doc Rivers said. “All we talked about is being us. I told our guys, they’ve been them in the series. We have yet to put a game where we are us through the game.”
The Clippers stymied Golden State’s comeback effort on the very court at Oracle Arena where Los Angeles rallied from 31 points down in Game 2 for the largest comeback in NBA postseason history.
Game 6 is Friday back in Los Angeles.
Beverley took a big charge against Klay Thompson with 1:40 left and wound up with 17 points and 14 rebounds for his best outing of the series.
“I thought Patrick Beverley came in, just kicked our butts right away,” Warriors coach Steve Kerr said. “He came out with more energy than we had and that set a tone.”
Houston and James Harden are on to the second round and waiting for another chance at the champs. The Clippers said not just yet, they’re not done.
The Rockets, who squandered a 3-2 series lead to the Warriors in last year’s Western Conference finals, eliminated the Jazz with a 100-93 Game 5 victory at home a few hours earlier Wednesday. Sure, the Warriors have thought about a potential second-round matchup.
“Our focus was to come in and extend the series and get another game on our home floor,” Williams said. “It’s their mistake for looking ahead. That’s on them.”
Gallinari added 26 points and seven rebounds, and Montrezl Harrell had 24 points as the eighth-seeded Clippers are keeping things interesting until the end.
“We’ve got to bring it if we’re going to beat them,” Kerr said.
Durant raised his arm late and called on the Oracle Arena crowd for a major assist — the Warriors needed every little bit of help. Thompson’s 3 with 4:02 left made it 116-114 and Durant tied it on a driving dunk the next time down.
Stephen Curry scored 24 points and Thompson 22 but Golden State didn’t have it on defense.
“If we come out and just think we’re going to roll over this team because they’re an 8 seed, it doesn’t work that way in the NBA playoffs,” Warriors center Andrew Bogut said.
Rockets 100, Jazz 93
HOUSTON — James Harden scored 26 points and Houston outlasted Utah to win their first-round playoff series 4-1.
The Rockets advanced to the Western Conference semifinals for the third straight season and will face the winner of the Los Angeles Clippers-Golden State Warriors series.
The Rockets were helped by a solid game from Clint Capela, who had 16 points and 10 rebounds. He acknowledged that he was having trouble breathing in the Game 4 loss because of an upper respiratory infection and was held to just four points.
After scoring 31 points to lead Utah to the victory in Game 4, Donovan Mitchell managed just 12 points on a night he missed all nine of his 3-point attempts.