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

LOS ANGELES, CA - MAY 3: Stephen Curry #30 of the Golden State Warriors handles the ball against Chris Paul #3 of the Los Angeles Clippers in Game Seven of the Western Conference Quarterfinals during the 2014 NBA Playoffs at Staples Center on May 3, 2014 in Los Angeles, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2014 NBAE (Photo by Noah Graham/NBAE via Getty Images)
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Andy BaileyFeatured ColumnistMay 4, 2014

One of the most exciting series in the first round is over after a 126-121 win by the Los Angeles Clippers over the Golden State Warriors in Game 7.

The Clippers were able to overcome a three-point barrage from the Warriors thanks to an incredibly balanced effort.

Four Clippers scored at least 20 points, led by Blake Griffin's 24 points. Chris Paul, Jamal Crawford and J.J. Redick were the other three to reach 20.

Paul also had 14 assists, and DeAndre Jordan posted a double-double with 18 rebounds and 15 points.

The Warriors got a huge game from Stephen Curry, who scored 33 points and dished out nine assists, but his Splash Brother Klay Thompson struggled, going 4-of-11 from the field.

Draymond Green filled in admirably for Thompson, scoring 24 points on 9-of-13 shooting.

 

Key Player Grades: Los Angeles Clippers

Chris Paul, Point Guard

May 3, 2014; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Los Angeles Clippers guard Chris Paul (3) moves the ball defended by Golden State Warriors guard Klay Thompson (11) during the fourth quarter in game seven of the first round of the 2014 NBA Playoffs at Staples Center. T
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Paul was completely unstoppable in the biggest game of the Clippers' season to this point.

It didn't matter what Golden State threw at him—Thompson, Curry, a zone—he got to wherever he wanted on the floor and made the right play just about every time.

His 22 points on 8-of-15 shooting, 14 assists and four steals tell part of that story, but what you don't see in the box score is how many times that production happened in crucial moments.

Paul somehow manages to elevate his already stellar play whenever momentum or the entire game is on the line.

Grade: A+

 

Blake Griffin, Power Forward

May 3, 2014; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Los Angeles Clippers forward Blake Griffin (32) loses the ball while being defended by Golden State Warriors forward Draymond Green (left) and forward David Lee (right) during the first quarter in game seven of the first
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He scored 24 points, but Griffin actually had his fair share of struggles against some physical defense from David Lee, Draymond Green and any other Warrior who rotated onto him. 

At least that was the case until the fourth quarter. He wound up shooting 10-of-18 from the field, and some of those makes came in crunch time.

He had one of the biggest buckets in the game in the fourth: an and-one that he celebrated by landing a back somersault.

In other areas of the game, Griffin was checked on the boards, but did a great job of distributing. He handed out six assists and grabbed five rebounds.

Grade: A

 

DeAndre Jordan, Center

May 3, 2014; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Los Angeles Clippers center DeAndre Jordan (right) attempts to hold onto the ball defended by Golden State Warriors guard Stephen Curry (left) during the first quarter in game seven of the first round of the 2014 NBA Pla
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Jordan has to be one of the best role players in the NBA. He's asked to rebound, block shots and finish alley-oops and putbacks around the rim. He does all those things extremely well, and doesn't try to do more. 

Such was clearly the case Saturday, as he finished the game with 18 rebounds, three blocks and 15 points on 6-of-6 shooting.

Grade: A+

 

J.J. Redick, Shooting Guard

LOS ANGELES, CA - MAY 3: J.J. Redick #4 of the Los Angeles Clippers drives against the Golden State Warriors in Game Seven of the Western Conference Quarterfinals during the 2014 NBA Playoffs at Staples Center on May 3, 2014 in Los Angeles, California. NO
Andrew D. Bernstein/Getty Images

The Clippers trailed by 10 at halftime, before Redick unleashed a barrage in the third quarter that helped turn the game around.

He scored 13 of his 20 points in that quarter, scoring from all over the floor and shifting the momentum to the home team.

Grade: A

 

Matt Barnes, Small Forward

May 3, 2014; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Los Angeles Clippers forward Matt Barnes (22) and Golden State Warriors forward Draymond Green (23) battle for the ball in game seven of the first round of the 2014 NBA Playoffs at Staples Center. Mandatory Credit: Kirby
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Jordan isn't the only excellent role player the Clippers have in their starting lineup. Barnes does exactly what he's supposed to as well—play solid D on the perimeter and knock down shots on the rare occasions his number is called on offense.

Saturday, he went 5-of-8 from the field for 13 points and played solid defense on Thompson when he had that matchup.

Grade: B

 

Jamal Crawford, Shooting Guard

May 3, 2014; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Los Angeles Clippers head coach Doc Rivers and Los Angeles Clippers guard Jamal Crawford (11) celebrate during the fourth quarter against the Golden State Warriors in game seven of the first round of the 2014 NBA Playoff
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He doesn't do much besides score, but when that's rolling, Crawford becomes a very important weapon for the Clippers.

His ability to create his own shot takes a ton of pressure off Paul. And his ability to hit tough shots takes pressure off everyone else.

In Game 7, Crawford went off for 22 points on 7-of-12 shooting, and even got one of his patented four-point plays in the first half. 

Grade: B+

 

Bench

Darren Collison was the only other Clipper to play more than seven minutes, and he logged 15. Glen Davis and Danny Granger were the other two who saw time on the floor. 

Those three combined to go 3-of-11 from the field for 10 points and really didn't make much of an impact on either end of the floor.

Grade: D

 

Key Player Grades: Golden State Warriors

Stephen Curry, Point Guard

May 3, 2014; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Golden State Warriors guard Stephen Curry (30) is defended by Los Angeles Clippers guard Chris Paul (3) and forward Blake Griffin (32) during game seven of the first round of the 2014 NBA Playoffs at Staples Center. The
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Curry shot 7-of-17 from the field, but still managed to score 33 points because of his ability to get to the free-throw line. He went a ridiculous 16-of-16 from the stripe.

Being able to manufacture those points against hands-on defense from Paul and others said a lot about Curry's toughness.

He also handed out nine assists and grabbed five rebounds.

The only knock on Curry was his defense against Paul when Thompson wasn't on that matchup. But complaining about someone not being able to stop Paul is almost asinine.

Grade: A

 

David Lee, Power Forward/Center

May 3, 2014; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Golden State Warriors forward David Lee (10) is defended by Los Angeles Clippers center DeAndre Jordan (6) in game seven of the first round of the 2014 NBA Playoffs at Staples Center. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODA
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Lee's 13 points and 13 rebounds gave him a comfortable double-double, but he clearly lost his matchup with Griffin. It's not all his fault, obviously. Griffin's an excellent player and Lee got only nine shots in the game.

He faced a tough situation with starting center Andrew Bogut out of this series with broken ribs. Without him, Lee had to carry the Warriors inside. And it was a heavy load against Griffin and Jordan.

Grade: B+

 

Klay Thompson, Shooting Guard

May 3, 2014; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Golden State Warriors guard Klay Thompson (11) attempts shot defended by Los Angeles Clippers forward Blake Griffin (32)  during the first quarter in game seven of the first round of the 2014 NBA Playoffs at Staples Cent
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Thompson struggled with his shot, going just 4-of-11 from the field. He still managed to score 15 points, though, thanks to hitting two threes and five free throws.

He also did a good job of creating for his teammates, as he dished out seven assists.

Where Thompson was most important in this series was on the defensive end, though. He had his moments in earlier games against Paul but was shredded in Game 7.

Grade: C

 

Andre Iguodala, Small Forward

May 3, 2014; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Golden State Warriors forward Andre Iguodala (9) is defended by Los Angeles Clippers guard Chris Paul (3) in game seven of the first round of the 2014 NBA Playoffs at Staples Center. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY
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As usual, Iguodala played a solid, all-around game that led to a pretty good looking stat sheet. He finished with 14 points, seven rebounds and three assists.

But he struggled mightily on defense, trying to chase Redick around screens and on cuts, and he turned the ball over five times.

Grade: C+

 

Draymond Green, Power Forward/Small Forward

May 3, 2014; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Golden State Warriors forward Draymond Green (23) celebrates at the end of the first quarter against the Los Angeles Clippers in game seven of the first round of the 2014 NBA Playoffs at Staples Center. Mandatory Credit:
USA TODAY Sports

You know whom you absolutely can't blame for the Game 7 loss? The recent insert into the starting lineup, Green.

He was fantastic throughout the game, scoring a playoff career-high 24 points on 9-of-13 shooting, including 5-of-8 from three-point range. He also collected seven rebounds, handed out three assists and grabbed two steals.

Grade: A

 

Harrison Barnes, Small Forward/Power Forward

Apr 19, 2014; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Los Angeles Clippers center DeAndre Jordan (6) defends a shot by Golden State Warriors forward Harrison Barnes (40) in the first half in game one during the first round of the 2014 NBA Playoffs at Staples Center. Mandat
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Barnes got the most time off the bench, and he was a complete non-factor. He posted a whopping two rebounds and zero points on 0-of-1 shooting.

The Warriors need to figure out what's going on with this former lottery pick this summer, because he essentially disappeared this season.

Grade: F

 

Bench

Two Warriors who played fewer minutes than Barnes were fantastic off the bench. Jordan Crawford and Marreese Speights each shot 5-of-9 from the field and scored 12 and 10 points respectively.

The starters were solid, so it may have been hard to find more minutes, but it would've been nice for these two to be able to put more of an imprint on the game.

Grade: B+

 

What's Next?

LOS ANGELES, CA - MAY 3: (L-R) DeAndre Jordan #6, Chris Paul #3, Jamal Crawford #11, Blake Griffin #32, and J.J. Redick #4 of the Los Angeles Clippers head to the bench against the Golden State Warriors in Game Seven of the Western Conference Quarterfinal
Noah Graham/Getty Images

The Clippers now have to turn around and get ready another team that advanced after a Game 7 victory on Saturday.

Against the No. 2 seeded Oklahoma City Thunder, the Clippers will have to be prepared for several different challenges.

The teams split their regular-season series 2-2.

For the Warriors, they head into the offseason with plenty to be excited about. They pushed a title contender to the brink of elimination, and their core is still very young.

 

Andy Bailey covers the NBA for Bleacher Report.

 

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