OAKLAND, CALIFORNIA – Chris Paul pounded his chest and shouted toward the Golden State Warriors’ bench. Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan high-fived, and the Los Angeles Clippers soaked in the silence of the once-roaring, gold-shirt wearing crowd as they walked off the court together.
The sound of stealing back home-court advantage was the sweetest thing of all.
Griffin scored 32 points and grabbed eight rebounds, Jordan had 14 points and 22 rebounds, and the Clippers outlasted the Warriors 98-96 Thursday night to take a 2-1 lead in their first-round series.
“Winning ugly is beautiful,” Clippers coach Doc Rivers said. “But as a coach I know we can be better, and I have to bring that out of us.”
After a 40-point victory in Game 2, Los Angeles had to sweat out a win until the final buzzer this time.
The Griffin-Jordan frontcourt tandem bullied and bruised the Warriors inside to power the Clippers ahead by 18 points in the third quarter. And they did just enough late to quiet Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson — along with the announced sellout crowd of 19,596 that wanted to will the Warriors back.
Game 4 of the best-of-seven series is Sunday in Oakland.
“When we needed it, we got stops,” Griffin said. “And that’s why we were successful.”
Thompson scored 26 points, and Curry had 16 points and 15 assists to rally the Warriors back. But Curry forced a contested, step-back 3-pointer over Paul in the final seconds to seal the Clippers’ victory, though the Warriors wanted a foul on Paul, who appeared to make contact with Curry’s hip on the way down.
“I thought I initiated enough contact,” Curry said. “That’s my go-to move, the step-back. I’m not going to air-ball that.” Hawks 98, Pacers 85
In Atlanta, Jeff Teague flung in a wild 3-pointer after the officials appeared to miss him stepping out of bounds, and Kyle Korver finished off Indiana from beyond the arc to lead the Hawks to a victory and a 2-1 lead in the series with the top-seeded Pacers.
Teague scored 22 points and Korver added 20 to spark Atlanta, which is playing with confidence and swagger against a Pacers team that struggled down the stretch and is still scrambling to regain the form it showed much of the season.
Lance Stephenson led Indiana with 21 points. Grizzlies 98, Thunder 95 (OT)
In Memphis, Mike Conley scored five of his 20 points in overtime, and the Grizzlies went up 2-1 in the series.
Memphis won its second straight overtime game after blowing a fourth-quarter lead. This time, it led by 17 before going cold.
NBA scoring champ Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook each scored 30 for the Thunder.
But Durant missed all eight 3-point attempts and was 10 of 27. Westbrook was 9 of 26. Oklahoma City hit only 3 of 12 from the field in overtime.