The Los Angeles Clippers have lived to fight another day.
With their backs against the wall, the Clippers outplayed the Golden State Warriors in their house to force Game 6 back in Los Angeles on Friday.
Los Angeles withstood multiple Warrior runs in the second half as they scrapped and clawed their way to the win. The usual suspects led the charge for the Clippers: Lou Williams finished with 33 points, four rebounds and 10 assists as he took over in the last minutes of the game. Meanwhile, Montrezl Harell brought some serious energy as he posted 24 points and five rebounds.
Both Patrick Beverley and Danilo Gallinari posted their best game of the series, as they finished with a combined 43 points, 21 rebounds and six assists.
Kevin Durant did all he could to close out the series, as he finished with 45 points, six rebounds, six assists, two steals and a block as he shot 14-of-26 from the field and 12-for-12 from the free throw line. Durant started the fourth quarter with a four-point play, which sparked another Warriors run, but, ultimately, it wasn’t enough to overcome the scrappy Clippers.
While he didn’t necessarily struggle, Stephen Curry once again didn’t seem himself as he finished with 24 points. Klay Thompson had 22 points as well.
Patrick Beverley Came Out Hot
Beverley was not ready to go home for the offseason.
The disruptive point guard stormed out of the gate to the tune of 11 points, six rebounds and two assists in just the first quarter. As he has in the past, Beverley maintained that energy throughout the game and was a major boost to the outclassed Clippers.
Beverley’s signature play of the night came in the third quarter when he drew a charge on Draymond Green. Beverley lost his shoe on the other end of the floor, picked it up, ran down the court, picked up Green in the post and took the bump to draw the foul, all with said shoe in hand.
Beverley finished the game with 17 points, 14 rebounds (to lead the game) and four assists. Expect more of the same from him in terms of his intensity on Friday for Game 6.
Resurgent Danilo Gallinari
Gallinari had struggled for much of the series, but he seemed to rediscover his regular season form at times in Game 5.
While he still struggled with his shot, Gallinari seemed more confident with his jumper on Wednesday, and that confidence made all the difference for him. He was nine-for-22 from the field and three-for-11 from three, but still managed 26 points and seven rebounds.
If the Clippers want to force a Game 7, they are going to need at least a repeat performance, and probably more, from Gallinari in Game 6.
JaMychal Green Continues to Make an Impact
He finished the game on the bench with six fouls, but JaMychal Green was integral to the Clippers in this win.
Once again, Green got the start over Ivica Zubac, who played zero minutes, and he managed to turn in a solid offensive performance and a masterful defensive one. Green finished with 15 points and four rebounds on five-of-nine shooting.
Green’s insertion into the starting lineup has given Doc Rivers starting lineup so much versatility. Green is quick enough that he can pick up guards on the switch and long enough that he doesn’t have too much trouble contending with a traditional center like Andrew Bogut.
The fact that he can shoot the three at a reliable clip — and therefore drag Bogut and Kevon Looney out of the paint — has made it much easier on the Clippers offense, Williams especially. Look for him to continue making an impact in Game 6.
Where Was Shai Gilgeous-Alexander?
For the most part, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander was on the bench.
The rookie point played just over 19 minutes in the win, his fewest since the end of February. While he continued to look his usual, poised self at times, the Clippers just seemed to put it together when he was on the bench. Rather than disrupt that flow, Rivers chose to keep him there for the majority of the game and went with what was working.
Beverley, Williams and Landry Shamet all played over 34 minutes in the win, and Rivers may continue to employ that trio heavily in Game 6. But it wouldn’t be shocking if Gilgeous-Alexander found his way back into the thick of things.
What’s With the Surprise Jerome Robinson Minutes?
Wilson Chandler, Sindarius Thornwell, Ty Wallace and Ivica Zubac all played zero minutes in Game 5.
For some reason, Jerome Robinson nearly played six.
Robinson found playing time hard to come by in the regular season, but has managed to find a little pocket of minutes in back-to-back postseason games. It’s anyone’s guess as to why, but Rivers can’t afford to get cute here — the Clippers have done some real damage now and need to stick to the gameplan if they want a chance to win.
Clippers Will Force Game 7
Gallinari has regained his confidence, Williams is as deadly as ever and the energy from Beverley and Harrell seems to be at an all-time high. Still, going against the two-time defending Warriors, the Clippers can’t afford to sit back and celebrate just yet.
Golden State is going to come out looking for blood Friday night. But, with the momentum swinging in their favor, look for Los Angeles to make a statement on their home court and force a Game 7.