That was beyond frustrating. Not because the Clippers played poorly, or because the Warriors played well, but because a combination of cheap play and horrible officiating brought about the final outcome.
What was an overall great, close, competitive game was soured by unfortunate extracurricular activity instigated by Warriors players. Draymond Green threw an elbow to Blake Griffin's neck area at the end of the third quarter, which resulted in a flagrant 2 foul and ejection (Green will also likely face at least a 1 game suspension). On the same play, Griffin was inexplicably assessed a technical foul, even though he offered no retaliation to the blow.
Then, early in the third quarter, Griffin and Bogut were tied up in a routine struggle for position on a rebound. Bogut escalated the situation past a basketball play by grabbing Blake's jersey and appearing to attempt to pull it over his head. It was a bizarre play and Bogut was given a flagrant one... which was strange. Even stranger was that Griffin, who literally stood still and avoided retaliation so that he wouldn't pick up another T, was given his second inexplicable technical foul and tossed from the game.
Blake Griffin called this tactic of going after him to purposefully get him ejected "cowardly basketball", and that seems to sum up most of Mark Jackson's fake-tough guy strategy. Chris Paul said, "If you think about it... someone can just come up to me in the game and wrap me up and we could get double techs." It was beyond absurd and in a 2-point game, the ejection of an All-NBA player makes a huge difference.
Down to the end of the game, the Clippers had opportunities to win despite the weirdness with Blake's ejection. Paul had two layups from the right side that he missed in the final 20 seconds, and Jamal Crawford was just short on a fallaway three with one second left. On the first layup, Paul got a lot of contact from a trailing defender who slammed into him in mid-air, and the ball seemed to be in the hoop for a full 3 seconds before somehow popping out. On the second one, a Klay Thompson block saved the day for the Warriors.
Overall, it was a very intense, interesting Christmas night game, and I'm sure the NBA was happy for the controversy which has now replaced the lead stories regarding the futility of the day's games up until this one. At the end of the day, this game is just a regular season game, and it'll be a completely different game in January when both teams get injured players back. The hatred, the passion, the rivalry? Those will all be the same.
[Addition by Lucas Hann, 12/26/2013 12:48AM] Overall, the issue over Blake's ejection boils down to the following facts:
The referees took an All-NBA player out of the game.
That All-NBA player did nothing to deserve ejection.
The All-NBA player means a lot towards the final outcome.
Therefore, the refs took over the game and gave a huge hand to Golden State. I'm not saying the Clippers win easily with Blake staying in the game, or even that they win at all. Just that the unfortunate truth is due to the referee's atrocious, inexcusable decisions (regardless of whether or not GSW employed cheap tactics), we won't know how this game should have ended if it was played fairly.
Steve is on tape delay on his DVR, but he'll be by with a full recap and his thoughts on the game sometime in the coming hours.
Respectfully check out the Warriors perspective at Golden State Of Mind.