Clippers rally for comeback win over Warriors

© John Hefti-USA TODAY Sports
Los Angeles picked up a staple win against Golden State, 130-125.

The Los Angeles Clippers tarnished Stephen Curry’s big night when they battled to a late victory over the Golden State Warriors – without their star guard or coach.

Clippers staple Kahwhi Leonard missed his team’s win at the Chase Center Wednesday with a strained adductor while their coach Tyronn Lue was ejected in the fourth quarter. 

Despite this (and a 41-point night performance from Curry) LA overcame the odds to seal a five-point road win. 

Turning point: The Clippers struggled for the first three quarters with slow defense and offensive miscues. That led to an eventful final quarter between both teams. 

 The Clippers bench came into the period on a 13-point deficit. Tensions immediately grew early in the fourth when LA center Mason Plumlee got called for a flagrant foul on Brandin Podziemski. Lue was not happy with the call and picked up his first technical foul. His second came with 9:36 left in the quarter which meant he was ejected from the game, his first time as a Clipper.

Norman Powell sank numerous threes while the Clippers bench collectively put up 26 points to avenge their coach and eventually seal the win. 

What it means: The Clippers advance to 36-17 on the season, 16-11 in their away games. The team also finished its season series 3-1 with the Warriors. 

In its last four games, LA is 2-2. This follows their 6-1 road tour in January that saw them lead the West Conference standings at one point. Now, the team is 1.5 games behind the first-seeded Minnesota Timberwolves. 

Hits: Norman Powell was the difference maker in Wednesday’s victory for the Clippers. He made four 3-pointers in the final 7 minutes, giving LA the momentum it needed in the stretch. His second three of the period brought his team to a 116-115 lead they never lost.

Powell finished with 21 points while going 8-for-13 from the field, 5-for-7 from three-point range. “To me, the fourth quarter is all about winning,” said Powell postgame. 

Misses: Clippers leading scorer Kawhi Leonard sat out against Golden State due to a strained left adductor. It’s Leonard’s fifth missed game of the season.

Leonard is also a representative of the West Coast scheduled to play in the upcoming All-Star Game. His status for this weekend is still uncertain. Lue didn’t sound overly concerned about the injury, though. 

“I don’t think it’s serious,” Lue said. “He played through it last game. He was experiencing some soreness in the hip, so when the game got out of reach we didn’t put him back in the fourth quarter to be smart about it.”

Stat of the game: LA came up big over the Warriors in the free throw column, outscoring Golden State, 29-13. Much of that was thanks to James Harden who went 8-9 from the free throw line Wednesday.

Up next: The Clippers can enjoy some days off thanks to the upcoming All-Star break. After the festivities, the team can expect to travel to Oklahoma City to take on the Thunder Feb. 22.