OAKLAND, CALIFORNIA - 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.”
Rockets 100, Jazz 93
In Houston, James Harden scored 26 points and the Rockets outlasted Utah to win their first-round playoff series 4-1.
Houston advanced to the Western Conference semifinals and will face the winner of the Los Angeles Clippers-Golden State Warriors series.