The ABC cameras caught Doc Rivers imploring his team in the first quarter to get their heads in the game. He sensed his team was not quite all there. Not even his technical foul got them going.
The Clippers certainly had good excuse not to be all there. Their pregame protest was a quiet and positive step forward for the organization. Now comes the actual playing.
Their minds were clearly elsewhere as they fell behind in an avalanche of Stephen Curry baskets and Warriors three points. The Clippers got to within 11 in the second half, but no closer. The rhythm and focus was not there, particularly on defense, as the Warriors evened their series with a 118-97 win at ORACLE Arena.
Stephen Curry scored 21 of his 33 points in the first half as Golden State built up a 20-point lead. Andre Iguodala stepped up for a foul-troubled Klay Thompson to score 22 points. The lineup adjustment with Draymond Green entering and Jermaine O’Neal exiting was a big boost to the offense as the Warriors took a 15-point lead after the first 12 minutes.
The sleepwalking for the Clippers put them in too deep a hole. Frustration mounted over questionable calls and all the rest, but the Clippers just were not there entirely. It was pretty evident.
Blake Griffin had 21 points and Chris Paul scored 16. Jamal Crawford had 26 points off the bench. Los Angeles shot 42.9 percent from the floor.
The Warriors had their number this day. And they tied the series heading back to Los Angeles. That is only where the pressure can mount as the NBA waits to give some type of resolution to an ugly situation.