Clippers vs. Warriors series turning chippy
by Sam Amick, USA TODAY Sports
LOS ANGELES – As pregame predictions go, this wasn’t the kind that Harrison Barnes wanted to be right about.
Long before his Golden State Warriors would be humbled by a Clippers team they had dominated just three nights before, the rookie small forward took a break from his warm-up routine to play pretend pitch man for that night’s game at Staples Center.
“Tonight, we have the Warriors against the world champion Clippers,” he said jokingly to the coaches who sat nearby. “It’s David v. Goliath.”
This wasn’t quite the stuff of biblical proportions, but it was every bit the mismatch that Barnes had deemed it to be. And the Clippers, who continued to look capable of winning the organization’s first championship in a 115-89 win that was their first in three tries against Golden State this season, apparently prescribe to the Old Testament way when it comes to all matters of revenge.
They got their eye-for-an-eye, tooth-for-a-tooth comeuppance, putting the up-and-comers back in their place with about as much fervor as you’ll find in an early January affair. An ice-cold shooting start by Golden State couple with the Clippers’ full-throttle offense – including Griffin scoring 14 of his 20 points in the first quarter – led to a 35-12 lead just 12 minutes in.
But as if there wasn’t already reason enough to tune in for the Jan. 21 series finale between these two teams, Warriors coach Mark Jackson took this unlikely rivalry to a new level when he stared so deliberately at the Clippers bench during a mid-third quarter timeout. Jackson, whose team did its share of chest-pounding in its 115-94 win over the Clippers at Oracle Arena on Wednesday night, took exception to the fact that the Clippers turned their rout into a Cirque du Soleil show after he had unofficially waved the white flag.
Jackson took four of his five starters out just moments before the dunk contest began, when the Clippers’ lead swelled to 32 and they kept pushing for more. Chris Paul, who would later note how the Warriors had acted like they “won the NBA Finals” when … [For more on Clippers vs. Warriors series turning chippy, click here.]