Doc Rivers’ prophecy came true, much to the chagrin of the Clippers coach.
Rivers predicted before Thursday night’s game that it was going to take the Clippers scoring an abundance of points in order to have a chance at defeating the Golden State Warriors and their high-octane offense.
The Clippers did score a lot.
But, the Warriors being the Warriors, the defending NBA champions scored more in pulling out a 134-127 victory in front of 19,956 at Oracle Arena.
Seven Clippers scored in double figures, but Stephen Curry of the Warriors nearly offset that on his own by scoring 44 points.
The Clippers made 50% of their shots, but the Warriors made 62.7%.
The Clippers made 34.4% of their three-point shots, but the Warriors made 56%.
The Clippers had a season-high 32 assists, but the Warriors were right behind with 31.
So, yes, offense ruled the game.
“At the end of the day, it was an offensive game,” Rivers said. “And they just made more shots.”
The Clippers didn’t help their cause by falling into an 18-point hole in the first half and still trailing by 16 in the third quarter.
But they did not quit, closing to within 104-102 in the fourth quarter with Lou Williams, Tyrone Wallace, Danilo Gallinari, Milos Teodosic and Montrezl Harrell on the court.
“This group, they just keep coming,” Rivers said. “Like we had different groups on the floor and they just kept coming and that’s how we have to play every night.”
Williams, who scored 21 points and matched a career high with 12 assists, pulled the Clippers to within 120-118.
But the Warriors answered with a basket by Andre Iguodala and back-to-back three-pointers by Curry, giving Golden State a 125-118 lead.
“Steph was incredible,” said Clippers guard Austin Rivers, who scored 14 points. “As he always is.”
Gallinari suffered a bruised right hand in the fourth quarter, leaving the game with 5 minutes 10 seconds to play and not returning after scoring 15 points. Gallinari had X-rays after the game that were negative for a broken hand.
“When Draymond [Green] fouled me, he came down with an elbow right on my hand,” Gallinari said. “It’s swelling a little bit. I hope I can play tomorrow.
“I’ll take a couple of pills and get ready for Phoenix [Friday].”
The Clippers’ defense was shredded during the first quarter, allowing the Warriors to make a sizzling 72.7% of their shots, forcing Doc Rivers to call a timeout with 6:42 remaining in the quarter and the Clippers down 19-11.
By the end of the quarter, after Curry hoisted a 38-foot three-pointer that settled into the net as the buzzer sounded to end the period, the Clippers were down by 11 and the Warriors had made 66.7% of their shots.
Worse, the Clippers’ three-point defense was awful, allowing the Warriors to make four of five shots from beyond the arc.
The Clippers fell behind 46-28 in the second quarter.
But when the Clippers started to play better defense from that point on, they closed the gap to 70-58 at the half.
“We had some really bad defensive mistakes and it ends that quickly,” Austin Rivers said. “We were playing catchup the whole game. They beat us.
“Some nights you just tip your hat to the opponent.”