Five takeaways from the Clippers’ 112-108 loss to Golden State

Andre Iguodala, Austin Rivers

Clippers guard Austin Rivers tries to drive past Warriors forward Andre Iguodala in the first half.

(Ezra Shaw / Getty Images)

It was a game that made you feel like the calendar should read May instead of November, with wild momentum swings, plenty of emotion and a fantastic finish. The Clippers came out on the short end of a 112-108 decision against the Golden State Warriors on Wednesday night at Oracle Arena, but showed some grit along the way that could have implications for the rest of the season. Here are five takeaways from the game:

1. The Warriors showed why they’re the defending champions with their late-game execution. They got Stephen Curry open for the corner jumper that gave them the lead with 2 1/2 minutes left, and they held on after Clippers Coach Doc Rivers said his players forgot the play that was called after point guard Chris Paul had to exit the game with 13 seconds left because of a strained right groin and his team trailing by four points. It took the Clippers 10 seconds to get off a shot on Jamal Crawford’s three-pointer that was blocked by Klay Thompson. “Everybody should know the play, not just the guy with the ball,” Rivers lamented, “and we didn’t know the play down the stretch.”

2. Paul’s injury doesn’t appear to be serious. After missing a three-pointer that could have given his team the lead with 19 seconds left, Paul was held out of the final 13 seconds as a precaution after trainer Jasen Powell reported Paul’s injury to Rivers. “I didn’t think it was severe. It’s just too early in the season so I just took him out,” Rivers said. “Chris was trying to get on the floor and I dragged him back and he was not happy, but it’s too early in the season for that.” Paul told reporters he expected to play in the Clippers’ next game, Saturday at Staples Center against the Houston Rockets. Clippers forward Blake Griffin also told reporters he should be OK after banging knees with a Warriors player in the first half.


3. The Clippers’ bench was alternately horrible and brilliant. Crawford missed all six of his shots in the first half, when things went so badly for the Clippers’ reserves that they struggled just to call a timeout as the Warriors extended a lead that would reach 17 points. But those same reserves helped the Clippers go up by 10 points in the fourth quarter, with Josh Smith making a three-pointer, Crawford a tip-in and Rivers a running jumper as part of a 14-5 run to open the quarter. “That was huge for us,” Rivers said. “To be down and have your point guard out and us to come back, for that group, that’s going to give them a lot of confidence.”

4. The Clippers are ahead of where they were this time last year. If the Clippers were a publicly traded stock and Rivers held a conference call with investors, he would be able to tout tremendous growth from where his team was at the same spot last season. He was relatively upbeat as he stood outside the locker room where he had ripped his players after an early season loss to the Warriors a year ago, calling them “soft.” That was a word that never came up after they rallied from a huge first-half deficit. “Though we lost,” Rivers said, “I think tonight will give us a lot of confidence.”

5. There was some debate as to the game’s implications. Clippers shooting guard J.J. Redick didn’t seem to think his team had taken a step forward in incorporating its eight new players. “I don’t believe in that,” Redick said. “A step would be -- had we executed down the stretch and won, that would have been a step.” Crawford agreed. “I wouldn’t call it a stepping stone but maybe a side step,” he said. “Maybe you can look at some things and see what you can correct.” Perhaps Clippers center DeAndre Jordan put it best when asked if anything from the loss would stick with him. “No, absolutely not,” Jordan said. “It’s the fifth game, bro.”

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