The Clippers can't beat the Warriors if they are outrebounded 48-35. (As it happens, all 13 of that advantage came in the first half, when the Warriors dominated the boards, 29-16 and grabbed 12 offensive rebounds.)
The Clippers can't beat the Warriors (or really anyone) when Elton Brand scores 11 points and shoots 4 for 13.
Amazingly, the Clippers cut the lead to 4 in the fourth quarter, for the last time with 3:23 remaining. Don't ask me how they were even in this game.
Equally amazingly, the Clippers did not lose ground to ANY teams around them in the West, except of course the Warriors. The Lakers (6), Nuggets (7), Hornets (11) and Wolves (12) all lost as well. The Kings didn't play, so it was their lucky night.
But what a win for the Warriors. By virtue of this one win, they gained on EVERYONE, and suddenly find themselves 1.5 games out of the playoffs instead of 3.
I'll also say this for the Warriors: they're fun to watch. They run, they shoot, they hustle. I remember teams like that. <sigh>
Sam Cassell was apparently not really ready to go yet. He played 5 minutes and missed his 3 shots. Once again, I'm amazed that the Clippers could compete at all without Cassell and with Brand sub-par. But Jason Hart and Daniel Ewing did combine for 20 points.
Two last thoughts:
- Why was leading scorer Corey Maggette on the bench for all but 2 minutes of the fourth quarter while Hart AND Ewing played together?
- Why didn't Quinton Ross, who shut down Baron Davis in LA in January, play more than 13 minutes?
The pain of this loss is only starting. With the next three games against Detroit, at San Antonio and at Houston, the Clippers may well be 6 games below .500 and 11th or 12th in the West by next week.