Warriors hold off Clippers in post-season opener
Los Angeles Clippers guard Chris Paul (3) steals the ball from Golden State Warriors guard Klay Thompson (11) in the final seconds of game one during the first round of the 2014 NBA Playoffs at Staples Center. Photo by Jayne Kamin-Oncea, USA TODAY Sports/Reuters
LOS ANGELES - The Golden State Warriors overcame 21 turnovers to edge the Los Angeles Clippers 109-105 on Saturday and snatch home court advantage in their NBA Western Conference first-round series.
Klay Thompson scored 22 points and pulled down seven rebounds as the Oakland, California-based Warriors took a 1-0 lead in the best-of-seven series.
David Lee added 20 points for the Warriors and Stephen Curry added 20.
The game was tied 52-52 at halftime, but the sixth-seeded Warriors outscored the Clippers 35-27 in the third quarter and led by as many as 11 in the fourth period.
The Clippers clawed their way back, with two three-pointers from point guard Chris Paul knotting the score at 102-102 with less than three minutes to play.
It was tied 105-105 when the Warriors' Draymond Green went to the free-throw line with 24 seconds remaining and made two of two foul shots.
The Clippers used their final timeout and gave the ball to Paul, but he lost it out of bounds under strong double-team pressure.
Golden State inbounded the ball and were fouled, Harrison Barnes making one of two free throws for a 108-105 lead that kept the door open for Los Angeles.
On the Clippers' next possession, Paul was purposely fouled, but the 86 percent career free throw shooter missed both attempts from the line.
After Green missed two free throws that would have put the game away with 10.4 seconds remaining. The Clippers Darren Collison came up with the rebound of the second miss but slid out of bounds.
Thompson finally put it away, making one of two free throws to make it 109-105 with 6.8 seconds remaining.
"We knew what it was going to take, the type of energy and effort, to win a game," Warriors coach Mark Jackson said.
"I'm proud of my guys," added Jackson, whose team regrouped after falling 11 adrift in the opening quarter. "We're not going to quit, we're going to battle.
"We just had a tremendous will and a tremendous competitive spirit tonight. Big-time game-one victory, but this series is far from over."
Clippers coach Doc Rivers said dropping the opening game at home was disappointing -- but not a death blow in a best-of-seven series.
"Listen, you'd love to win all your home games. But if you don't, you don't," Rivers said. "So we have to win a game on the road now."
Both teams had players in foul trouble, but it was especially costly for the Clippers who saw both Paul and Blake Griffin limited, Griffin fouling out with 48 seconds remaining.
Rivers said he thought all the pre-game talk about ill-feeling between the teams caused the officials to call the game more closely.
"But the way I look at it, both teams had to play under the same rules," said Rivers, whose team will host game two on Monday.
Elsewhere in the West on the opening day of the playoffs, the Oklahoma City Thunder hosted the Memphis Grizzlies.
It's the third time in four seasons the teams will clash in the post-season. The Thunder bounced the Grizzlies after the 2010-11 season, but the Grizzlies eliminated the Thunder in the Western Conference semi-finals last season.
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