Los Angeles, CA.—On Easter Sunday afternoon the Golden State Warriors took a 2-1 series lead into Staples Center against the Los Angeles Clippers looking to put themselves in prime position to move on to the next round. The two-time defending champions are now a victory away from moving on after a 113-105 on Sunday.
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One person in particular made sure the champs would get a head start and stay focus on the task was Klay Thompson who came out firing on all cylinders, scoring 27 points in the opening half. He made 5-6 from 3-pt finishing with 32 points. After three subpar games according to his standards he said after the game:
"We came in with that mindset to put our foot on the throttle and not let go," Thompson said. "We let go in Game 2 and we won't do that the rest of the playoffs. I really believe that." Referring to the 31-pt lead they gave away that resulted in a 131-131 loss.
"This team was just looking for a crack," Kevin Durant said of the Clippers. "They don't stop. Even when you go home after the game you're going to be thinking of them because they're tough." Durant showed up scoring a game-high 33 points after coming off a game-high 38 points in Game 3. He also talked about the different look head coach Doc Rivers gave him to start the game. They started JaMychal Green on him and he spoke about the matchup: "We're I initiate and we're I operate from the floor has to change."
He wasn't phased by the longer and taller Green as he was 13-21 from the field.
Stephen Curry struggled in the game missing his first eight 3-pt attempts and didn’t knock down his first until late in the third quarter. He did finish with a double-double with 12 points and tied for a game-high 10 rebounds. Head coach Steve Kerr said in a postgame interview about Curry’s performance, “He didn't reach as much tonight so that was good," coach Steve Kerr said. "Steph sometimes loses focus. He's such a fascinating player. The same thing that makes him not hesitate to shoot a fadeaway 30-footer maybe is the same thing that gets him in foul trouble. He'll be fine."
He talked about the pressure that's taken off himself when he's playing alongside other All-Star's:
"In the first quarter, we really didn't need to do anything special. Klay was just amazing. K.D. was consistent the whole game," Curry said. "For us, obviously with the threats we have out there, it is just a matter of trying to be as patient as possible."
Andre Iguodala and Draymond Green both chipped in with 10 points.
They were a +16 in rebounding (49-33) and River’s knows what that’s meant in the three losses, "The rebounding really hurt us again, right now they are crushing us on the glass."
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That Game 2 win over the Warriors gave Los Angeles a ton of confidence and momentum heading back to Los Angeles. They felt they should be able to get at least one win against the champs on their home floor, but it didn't happen and now they are facing elimination heading back up north.
Game 4 was essentially this team's Game 7 knowing a loss puts them in a 3-1 series hole, which would be a tall task to overcome against the two-time defending champs.
A bright spot for this Los Angeles team moving forward if they do wind up losing this series, is the play of their point guard of the future in rookie Shai Gilgeous-Alexander. The teams first round pick out of the University of Kentucky, and the 11th overall selection. He led the team with 25 points (playoff career-high) in 31 minutes. He shot 9-15 from the field and was the only player for LA to exceed 20 points.
Even Warriors star Durant spoke highly of the rookie:
"He played with no fear," Durant said of Gilgeous-Alexander, " and that's what kept them in the game most of the game."
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Leading scorer Danilo Gallinari struggled again to start the game going 0-4 from the field, and did not score in the first quarter. He had a terrible foul to close the half when he fouled Durant behind the 3-pt line which he made, and the free throw along with it to push the lead back up to eight (62-54) going into halftime.
He finished with 16 points on just 5-20 from the field.
The Warriors have done a better job defending Lou Williams and Montrezl Harrell in the past two games after allowing a combined 112 in Games 1 & 2. They held those two to just 53 total points. Williams had 12 on just 2-10 shooting and Harrell had 10 on 5-8.
"We hadn't been able to get everyone on the same page and to have good games on the same night," Williams said. "My success has been predicated on everyone playing well and we just haven't been able to get that going."
Patrick Beverley chipped in with 12 points and 10 rebounds.
Los Angeles now faces elimination on Wednesday night for Game 5.