Los Angeles Clippers vs. Golden State Warriors: Postgame Grades and Analysis

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Los Angeles Clippers vs. Golden State Warriors: Postgame Grades and Analysis
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The Golden State Warriors jumped on the Los Angeles Clippers early and wound up with a 118-97 victory Sunday at the Oracle Arena, tying the series at 2-2.

Stephen Curry led the way for the Warriors with 33 points on 10-of-20 shooting. He went 7-of-14 from downtown, hitting five in the first quarter alone. As a team, the Warriors made 15 of 32 three-point attempts.

Andre Iguodala, Klay Thompson and David Lee also played well, scoring 22, 15 and 15 points, respectively.

The Clippers were playing amid a huge distraction and pending investigation into racist comments allegedly made by team owner Donald Sterling.

The players discarded their warm-ups and wore their shooting shirts inside-out in protest of Sterling's comments.

They struggled to make a stand once the game started, though. The Warriors started the game on fire and maintained control of it pretty much throughout.

Blake Griffin led the way for L.A. with 21 points on 8-of-14 shooting. The rest of the team wasn't able to provide much help in the loss. 

 

Key Player Grades: Los Angeles Clippers

Chris Paul, Point Guard

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Paul typically does a great job in running the Clippers offense and facilitating for his teammates. But the defense of Thompson and Andre Iguodala made things difficult for him on Sunday.

He finished the game with 16 points and six assists and didn't look like his same explosive self for most of the game.

He also struggled to stay with Curry on defense, who was huge in sparking the early success for the Warriors.

There will surely be a lot of talk on whether or not Paul was distracted by the situation with Sterling, which is understandable.

Grade: B

 

Blake Griffin, Power Forward

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As most of the Clippers struggled, Griffin was steady throughout. The Warriors don't really have anyone who can match up with him, but as long as they can hold everyone else down, it might not matter.

In addition to the points he scored, Griffin also contributed six rebounds and three assists. 

Grade: B+

 

DeAndre Jordan, Center

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Jordan's done an excellent job of playing the garbage man for the Clippers all season, grabbing rebounds and loose balls, blocking shots and finishing around the rim.

Sunday, he struggled to do all those things, as his mobility was tested by Lee. He finished the game with zero points and six rebounds.

He typically makes an impact even when he's not scoring, but that wasn't the case in this one. 

Grade: F

 

J.J. Redick, Shooting Guard

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Redick had a rough game as well. He scored 12 points but struggled from the field, shooting 3-of-9.

He also had a terrible time trying to defend Thompson when he was in the game.

Grade: D+

 

Matt Barnes, Small Forward

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Like Jordan, Barnes does a lot of the little things that help a team win games. He magnified his role better than Jordan did Sunday but still don't blow anyone away.

He finished the game with 10 points on 4-of-7 shooting.

Grade: C+

 

Jamal Crawford, Shooting Guard

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With Redick struggling from the field throughout the game, Crawford stepped up and did a great job of providing a spark off the bench.

He shot 8-of-18 from the field and finished the game with 26 points. 

Grade: B+

 

Bench

No one else on the Clippers bench provided much of anything. Darren Collison, Glen Davis, Hedo Turkoglu and Danny Granger combined to shoot 4-of-18 from the field for 12 points.

They need to be able to provide more offense when the first unit struggles to get things going.

Grade: F

 

Key Player Grades: Golden State Warriors

Stephen Curry, Point Guard

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Curry set the tone very early in this game, nailing his first five three-point attempts and helping the Warriors establish an early double-digit lead.

He cooled off over the remainder of the game but did a great job of rebounding and distributing the ball. He finished the game with seven boards and seven assists.

His matchup with Paul may be the most important of the series, and if he can continue to outplay his counterpart, Golden State will be in great shape.

Grade: A+

 

David Lee, Power Forward/Center

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Shortly before the game tipped off, the Warriors announced that David Lee would shift over to center. The move proved to be a smart one, as Lee gave Jordan all kinds of trouble.

He did a great job of moving without the ball throughout the game, cutting to the hole and finishing when his teammates found him with the pass.

He struggled to defend Griffin when he was matched up with him, but the good definitely outweighed the bad in this performance.

Grade: B+

 

Klay Thompson, Shooting Guard

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Despite struggling with foul trouble from the get-go, Thompson managed to make a positive impact on the game.

He shot just 5-of-13 from the field, but he grabbed five rebounds, dished out five assists and played solid defense on Paul while he was on the floor.

Grade: C+

 

Andre Iguodala, Small Forward

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Golden State's X-factor this season was exactly that Sunday. Iguodala effectively played his point forward role, handing out nine assists and scoring 22 points on 6-of-8 shooting.

He was his typically solid self on defense as well. He started the game on Barnes, but as is usually the case, found himself in more difficult matchups as the game dictated.

Grade: A+

 

Draymond Green, Power Forward/Small Forward

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Sliding Lee over to center allowed coach Mark Jackson to start Green in the frontcourt. The versatile combo forward rewarded his coach by doing the things that have always made him a valuable part of Golden State's rotation.

His basic box-score stats of four points, five rebounds and five assists don't tell the whole story. He plays solid defense, sets great screens and attacks loose balls as well as anyone on the floor.

Grade: B

 

Harrison Barnes, Small Forward/Power Forward

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With Green in the starting lineup, Barnes returned to the role of sixth man and was excellent. He was effective in his time on the floor and hit some huge buckets in the second half.

He finished with 15 points on 6-of-7 shooting and dished out four assists.

Grade: B+

 

Bench

Jermaine O'Neal and Steve Blake were the other two players to get meaningful minutes off the bench. They combined to score eight points on 3-of-7 shooting.

Grade: D

 

What's Next?

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After getting some time to come to terms with what's happening with the team owner, the Clippers will get a chance to defend their home floor. They'll need to come out with more focus on defense if they're going to slow down Golden State's offense.

Meanwhile, the Warriors will hope for a similar pace and style to what was on display Sunday. If they can push the ball in transition and force L.A.'s defense to collapse, they should get plenty of open threes again. 

Game 5 will be Tuesday in Los Angeles at 10:30 p.m. ET on TNT.

 

Andy Bailey covers the NBA for Bleacher Report.

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