It’s not a coincidence the Golden State Warriors lost Game 5 to the Los Angeles Clippers on Wednesday night. The Clippers defeated the Warriors 129-121 to earn another home game in a (3-2) series that should have been a sweep. Now, the Warriors and Kevin Durant are two losses away from losing 3-1 leads twice in the last four seasons.
More telling is the way the Warriors approached Game 5. Yeah, there may have been some questionable calls down the stretch. However, I can safely say this is one of the games where the refs shouldn’t have mattered. The Warriors had series clinching game on their home court and they came out soft.
On the surface, it’s going to look like Durant had a great game. He produced 45 points, 6 rebounds and 6 assists. Well, I would have been more impressed with 30 points, 15 rebounds and 6 assists. Why? Because when it mattered most, the Clippers dominated the offensive glass. Furthermore, numerous offensive rebounds led to open shots that the Clippers converted in the first three quarters.
As a result, the Warriors were playing from behind for most of the game. The stats will tell you the Clippers only out rebounded the Warriors by three. They held a 42-39 rebounding advantage at the end of the game. In all, the Warriors had 15 offensive rebounds compared to the Clippers’ 9 offensive rebounds. However, the Warriors corralled nine offensive rebounds in the fourth quarter when they really started to play hard.
For the first time, the Warriors became relentless. If this type of effort was used in the first quarter, maybe the Warriors would be set to face the Houston Rockets in round 2. Instead, this valiant fourth quarter effort was matched by Lou Williams scoring 11 of his 33 points in the final period. Furthermore, Williams dished out 10 assists in the game. He found Montrezl Harrell a number of times. Harrell finished with 24 points off the bench.
Yet, Patrick Beverley set the tenor of the game. He finished with 17 points and 14 rebounds. Three of those rebounds came on the offensive glass. Beverley made 5 of 11 shots from 3-point range. He also had a tip-in right over Durant and Kevon Looney. He outworked the Warriors early. The aggressive play foreshadowed how the game would go the rest of the way.
Meanwhile, Draymond Green and Kevon Looney led the Warriors with seven rebounds apiece. Stephen Curry finished with 24 points. However, he only grabbed three rebounds in the game. Keep in mind, Curry is averaging 6.8 rebounds in the series. Yet, he was nowhere to be found when it mattered most. In fact, Curry is averaging 10 rebounds per game in three wins. He is averaging two rebounds per game in the two losses. Clearly, the activity level has not been there in defeat. Furthemore, both losses came at home when nobody was doubting the Warriors. Thanks to this effort, they should be doubted for the rest of the playoff season. Turns out, it might only be two more games.