Clippers outlast Warriors in ragged game after day of turmoil

  • The Clippers’ Nicolas Batum is fouled by the Warriors’ Kelly Oubre Jr. during Wednesday’s game in San Francisco. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)

  • Players and coaches from the Golden State Warriors, left, and the Los Angeles Clippers kneel during the national anthem before an NBA basketball game in San Francisco, Wednesday, Jan. 6, 2021. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)

  • Golden State Warriors players and coaches kneel during the national anthem before an NBA basketball game against the Los Angeles Clippers in San Francisco, Wednesday, Jan. 6, 2021. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)

  • Clippers players and coaches kneel during the national anthem before Wednesday night’s game against the Golden State Warriors in San Francisco. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)

  • Los Angeles Clippers guard Paul George (13) drives against Golden State Warriors forward Kelly Oubre Jr. during the first half of an NBA basketball game in San Francisco, Wednesday, Jan. 6, 2021. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)

  • Golden State Warriors forward Draymond Green (23) drives against Los Angeles Clippers’ Nicolas Batum during the first half of an NBA basketball game in San Francisco, Wednesday, Jan. 6, 2021. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)

  • Golden State Warriors guard Stephen Curry (30) reaches for the ball next to Los Angeles Clippers forward Kawhi Leonard during the first half of an NBA basketball game in San Francisco, Wednesday, Jan. 6, 2021. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)

  • Los Angeles Clippers head coach Tyronn Lue gestures toward players during the first half of his team’s NBA basketball game against the Golden State Warriors in San Francisco, Wednesday, Jan. 6, 2021. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)

  • SAN FRANCISCO, CALIFORNIA – JANUARY 06: Kawhi Leonard #2 of the LA Clippers is guarded by Kevon Looney #5 of the Golden State Warriors at Chase Center on January 06, 2021 in San Francisco, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)

  • Golden State Warriors forward Eric Paschall (7) dunks over Los Angeles Clippers center Ivica Zubac (40) and guard Luke Kennard (5) during the first half of an NBA basketball game in San Francisco, Wednesday, Jan. 6, 2021. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)

  • Los Angeles Clippers forward Kawhi Leonard (2) dribbles against the Golden State Warriors during the first half of an NBA basketball game in San Francisco, Wednesday, Jan. 6, 2021. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)

  • Golden State Warriors guard Stephen Curry, right, drives against Los Angeles Clippers guard Patrick Beverley during the first half of an NBA basketball game in San Francisco, Wednesday, Jan. 6, 2021. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)

  • Los Angeles Clippers forward Serge Ibaka, left, shoots over Golden State Warriors guard Stephen Curry during the first half of an NBA basketball game in San Francisco, Wednesday, Jan. 6, 2021. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)

  • SAN FRANCISCO, CALIFORNIA – JANUARY 06: Nicolas Batum #33 of the LA Clippers is fouled by Kelly Oubre Jr. #12 of the Golden State Warriors at Chase Center on January 06, 2021 in San Francisco, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)

  • The Clippers’ Kawhi Leonard tries to get past the Warriors’ Kent Bazemore during Wednesday’s game in San Francisco. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)

  • SAN FRANCISCO, CALIFORNIA – JANUARY 06: Kawhi Leonard #2 of the LA Clippers is guarded by Kent Bazemore #26 of the Golden State Warriors at Chase Center on January 06, 2021 in San Francisco, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)

  • SAN FRANCISCO, CALIFORNIA – JANUARY 06: Andrew Wiggins #22 of the Golden State Warriors tries to block a shot taken by Kawhi Leonard #2 of the LA Clippers at Chase Center on January 06, 2021 in San Francisco, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)

  • SAN FRANCISCO, CALIFORNIA – JANUARY 06: Serge Ibaka #9 of the LA Clippers is guarded by James Wiseman #33 and Stephen Curry #30 of the Golden State Warriors at Chase Center on January 06, 2021 in San Francisco, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)

  • SAN FRANCISCO, CALIFORNIA – JANUARY 06: Golden State Warriors head coach Steve Kerr cheers on his team during their game against the LA Clippers at Chase Center on January 06, 2021 in San Francisco, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)

  • SAN FRANCISCO, CALIFORNIA – JANUARY 06: Draymond Green #23 of the Golden State Warriors and Serge Ibaka #9 of the LA Clippers go for a rebound at Chase Center on January 06, 2021 in San Francisco, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)

  • SAN FRANCISCO, CALIFORNIA – JANUARY 06: Kelly Oubre Jr. #12 of the Golden State Warriors draws an offensive foul on Paul George #13 of the LA Clippers at Chase Center on January 06, 2021 in San Francisco, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)

  • SAN FRANCISCO, CALIFORNIA – JANUARY 06: Kelly Oubre Jr. #12 of the Golden State Warriors goes up for a shot on Paul George #13 of the LA Clippers at Chase Center on January 06, 2021 in San Francisco, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)

  • SAN FRANCISCO, CALIFORNIA – JANUARY 06: LA Clippers head coach Tyronn Lue shouts to his team during their game against the Golden State Warriors at Chase Center on January 06, 2021 in San Francisco, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)

  • SAN FRANCISCO, CALIFORNIA – JANUARY 06: Serge Ibaka #9 of the LA Clippers is guarded by James Wiseman #33 of the Golden State Warriors at Chase Center on January 06, 2021 in San Francisco, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)

  • SAN FRANCISCO, CALIFORNIA – JANUARY 06: Paul George #13 of the LA Clippers passes the ball while guarded by James Wiseman #33 and Draymond Green #23 of the Golden State Warriors at Chase Center on January 06, 2021 in San Francisco, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)

  • SAN FRANCISCO, CALIFORNIA – JANUARY 06: Reggie Jackson #1 of the LA Clippers goes up for a shot on Eric Paschall #7 of the Golden State Warriors at Chase Center on January 06, 2021 in San Francisco, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)

  • SAN FRANCISCO, CALIFORNIA – JANUARY 06: Kevon Looney #5 of the Golden State Warriors dunks the ball over Kawhi Leonard #2 of the LA Clippers at Chase Center on January 06, 2021 in San Francisco, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)

  • SAN FRANCISCO, CALIFORNIA – JANUARY 06: Marcus Morris Sr. #8 of the LA Clippers guards Stephen Curry #30 of the Golden State Warriors at Chase Center on January 06, 2021 in San Francisco, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)

  • SAN FRANCISCO, CALIFORNIA – JANUARY 06: Marcus Morris Sr. #8 of the LA Clippers is guarded by Stephen Curry #30 and Damion Lee #1 of the Golden State Warriors at Chase Center on January 06, 2021 in San Francisco, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)

  • SAN FRANCISCO, CALIFORNIA – JANUARY 06: Andrew Wiggins #22 of the Golden State Warriors is guarded by Patrick Beverley #21 of the LA Clippers at Chase Center on January 06, 2021 in San Francisco, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)

  • SAN FRANCISCO, CALIFORNIA – JANUARY 06: Stephen Curry #30 of the Golden State Warriors passes the ball while guarded by Nicolas Batum #33 of the LA Clippers at Chase Center on January 06, 2021 in San Francisco, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)

  • SAN FRANCISCO, CALIFORNIA – JANUARY 06: Stephen Curry #30 of the Golden State Warriors is guarded by Kawhi Leonard #2 and Serge Ibaka #9 of the LA Clippers at Chase Center on January 06, 2021 in San Francisco, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)

  • SAN FRANCISCO, CALIFORNIA – JANUARY 06: Kawhi Leonard #2 of the LA Clippers goes up for a dunk on Kelly Oubre Jr. #12 of the Golden State Warriors at Chase Center on January 06, 2021 in San Francisco, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)

  • Los Angeles Clippers forward Kawhi Leonard, left, shoots against Golden State Warriors forward Kelly Oubre Jr. (12) during the second half of an NBA basketball game in San Francisco, Wednesday, Jan. 6, 2021. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)

  • The Clippers’ Kawhi Leonard dunks in front of the Warriors’ Kelly Oubre Jr. during Wednesday’s game in San Francisco. Leonard had 21 points in the Clippers’ win. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)

  • SAN FRANCISCO, CALIFORNIA – JANUARY 06: Andrew Wiggins #22 of the Golden State Warriors and Patrick Beverley #21 of the LA Clippers go for a loose ball at Chase Center on January 06, 2021 in San Francisco, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)

  • SAN FRANCISCO, CALIFORNIA – JANUARY 06: James Wiseman #33 of the Golden State Warriors is guarded by Serge Ibaka #9 of the LA Clippers at Chase Center on January 06, 2021 in San Francisco, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)

  • SAN FRANCISCO, CALIFORNIA – JANUARY 06: Kawhi Leonard #2 of the LA Clippers is fouled by Draymond Green #23 of the Golden State Warriors at Chase Center on January 06, 2021 in San Francisco, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)

  • SAN FRANCISCO, CALIFORNIA – JANUARY 06: Kelly Oubre Jr. #12 of the Golden State Warriors dunks the ball against the LA Clippers at Chase Center on January 06, 2021 in San Francisco, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)

  • SAN FRANCISCO, CALIFORNIA – JANUARY 06: Stephen Curry #30 of the Golden State Warriors goes up for a shot on Patrick Beverley #21 of the LA Clippers at Chase Center on January 06, 2021 in San Francisco, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)

  • SAN FRANCISCO, CALIFORNIA – JANUARY 06: Stephen Curry #30 of the Golden State Warriors is guarded by Patrick Beverley #21 of the LA Clippers at Chase Center on January 06, 2021 in San Francisco, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)

  • SAN FRANCISCO, CALIFORNIA – JANUARY 06: Damion Lee #1 of the Golden State Warriors goes up for a shot against the LA Clippers at Chase Center on January 06, 2021 in San Francisco, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)

  • SAN FRANCISCO, CALIFORNIA – JANUARY 06: Kawhi Leonard #2 of the LA Clippers goes up for a dunk on James Wiseman #33 of the Golden State Warriors at Chase Center on January 06, 2021 in San Francisco, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)

  • Los Angeles Clippers guard Lou Williams (23) reaches for the ball next to Golden State Warriors forward Kent Bazemore during the second half of an NBA basketball game in San Francisco, Wednesday, Jan. 6, 2021. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)

  • Golden State Warriors guard Damion Lee, left, celebrates after making a 3-point basket as he runs past Los Angeles Clippers head coach Tyronn Lue during the second half of an NBA basketball game in San Francisco, Wednesday, Jan. 6, 2021. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)

  • Golden State Warriors guard Stephen Curry (30) shoots against Los Angeles Clippers’ Marcus Morris Jr., left, and Paul George during the second half of an NBA basketball game in San Francisco, Wednesday, Jan. 6, 2021. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)

  • Golden State Warriors guard Stephen Curry (30) is defended by Los Angeles Clippers guard Patrick Beverley (21) during the second half of an NBA basketball game in San Francisco, Wednesday, Jan. 6, 2021. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)

  • Golden State Warriors forward Andrew Wiggins, left, shoots against Los Angeles Clippers guard Patrick Beverley during the second half of an NBA basketball game in San Francisco, Wednesday, Jan. 6, 2021. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)

  • Golden State Warriors head coach Steve Kerr gestures toward players during the second half of his team’s NBA basketball game against the Los Angeles Clippers in San Francisco, Wednesday, Jan. 6, 2021. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)

  • Golden State Warriors guard Stephen Curry, left, tries to control the ball as is defended by Los Angeles Clippers guard Patrick Beverley (21) during the second half of an NBA basketball game in San Francisco, Wednesday, Jan. 6, 2021. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)

  • Golden State Warriors forward Andrew Wiggins (22) dribbles against the Los Angeles Clippers during the second half of an NBA basketball game in San Francisco, Wednesday, Jan. 6, 2021. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)

  • Los Angeles Clippers guard Paul George, left, shoots against Golden State Warriors center James Wiseman during the second half of an NBA basketball game in San Francisco, Wednesday, Jan. 6, 2021. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)

  • Los Angeles Clippers forward Serge Ibaka (9) celebrates after scoring against the Golden State Warriors during the second half of an NBA basketball game in San Francisco, Wednesday, Jan. 6, 2021. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)

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It was a weird game on a weird day, an often ragged NBA contest between Pacific Division foes that lost some of its meaning before it even tipped off, coming in the aftermath of chaotic events at the U.S. Capitol earlier Wednesday.

“I started the day thinking about how we were gonna guard Lou Williams without fouling him,” Golden State coach Steve Kerr said pregame, “and suddenly that didn’t seem quite as important when I turned the TV on as shootaround was beginning.”

Clippers coach Tyronn Lue said he spent some of the day checking in individually with his players – by phone, on account of the NBA’s coronavirus protocols – and was disturbed to learn that none of them was shocked by the pro-Donald Trump mob that stormed the Capitol.

Hours before his season debut, Marcus Morris Sr. said he was thinking that neither he nor his teammates should even be taking the court: “If it was my decision, I wouldn’t have (played) any games,” he said. “Stuff is bigger than basketball, man. This is secondary to what is going on in this country.”

When the Clippers and Warriors did meet up at Chase Center in San Francisco later that evening, they knelt together during the playing of the National Anthem and then got to work, their job a reprieve from the day’s real-world drama: Basketball, that beautiful game.

Well, it was some of the time on Wednesday, when the Clippers were winners, 108-101.

L.A. (6-3) was at full strength for the first time this season in the frenetic affair, in which both teams combined for 33 turnovers and 47 fouls (the Clippers went 25 for 25 from the free-throw line, the third most free throws made without a miss in franchise history).

For his part, Morris was 2 for 2 from the stripe, stepping inside the lines for the first time this season after missing the first eight games with right knee soreness. He said he volunteered to come off the bench so as not to disrupt the Clippers’ budding chemistry with Nicolas Batum in the starting lineup.

“It wasn’t more of a, ‘I want to come off the bench.’ It was more of a, ‘I want to help the team in any way possible,’” Morris said. “And if that’s coming off the bench, I didn’t want TLue (feeling) that he couldn’t say that to me or pose that question to me. I was fine with either, but I have seen how well those guys are gelling with the first unit and I thought I could help the second unit with scoring, with leadership, things like that.”

And Morris – who shot 50.5 percent from the field and 47.5 percent from 3-point range in 13 playoff games in the bubble – picked up where he left off, making the first three shots he took before finishing with 12 points, shooting 4 for 9 from the field and 2 for 6 from 3-point range.

Another bonus for the Clippers: Kawhi Leonard put his usual injury management protocol on pause. By competing Wednesday, he appeared in both games of a scheduled back-to-back for the first time since April 4-5, 2017 – some 134 games, according to ESPN Stats & Info.

And Paul George was back in the lineup, too, after missing Tuesday’s loss to San Antonio at Staples Center with a sore right ankle, which he tweaked Sunday during a victory in Phoenix.

“It was a tough game tonight,” Lue acknowledged afterward. “Just Kawhi’s first back-to-back in a while, PG missing last game and playing tonight, so he was a little bit rusty, welcoming Marcus tonight, who was really good in the first half. Just trying to play with different lineups and just trying to figure it out.”

The Clippers appreciated all of their contributions in a close contest – closer, throughout, than any of the team’s other games so far this season, when they hadn’t played a game that one team hadn’t led by at least 20.

Leonard and George both finished with 21 points in a game that the teams opened a combined 3 for 19 from 3-point range in the first quarter, and in which neither side led by more than 12.

Down the stretch, the Warriors wrestled control with an 18-2 run that gave them an 89-83 lead, but the Clippers retaliated with a 10-2 spurt, capped by back-to-back buckets from Leonard, who followed a patented foul-line jumper with a floater that made it 93-91 with 6:03 to play.

And then, in the final few minutes, the Clippers’ kick put the game out of reach: They got three consecutive clutch 3-pointers – one by Patrick Beverley (seven points, three assists) with 4:14 left then two from Batum (13 points) on consecutive possessions – to build a lead of 106-97 lead with 2:58 left.

Serge Ibaka had 12 points and 14 rebounds for his first double-double as a Clipper, but Kerr’s squad did succeed in slowing Williams, for what it’s worth: The star sub who has singed Golden State so often before finished with three points on 1-for-4 shooting and three assists.

And the Clippers had a solution for Steph Curry, who finished with 13 points, shooting 5 for 17 from the field and 1 for 6 from deep. The two-time league MVP had scored 92 the previous two games, including his career-high 62 against Portland on Sunday.

“Our philosophy is we want to take the best player out,” said Lue, noting that Eric Paschall and Andrew Wiggins both played well, scoring 19 points apiece. “That being said, other guys are gonna have good games.”

That’s so even on strange days when it’s natural to be distracted by the bigger-than-basketball stuff.

“Just following through updates and reading up on it,” George said, when asked about his day leading up to tip-off. “But I mean, it comes as no surprise. It’s two different worlds we live in, and that was clear as day. The respect for colored people is – there is none. It’s just the times we live in. It’s very unfortunate. We just see people’s colors.

“It just goes to show why voting is so important. At the end of the day, Trump is who we elected and who we put in office, and you see what his belief is and you see what kind of person he is. That’s what it comes down to.

“He rallied his people and his people rallied behind him and just … nothing was done about how they approached their protest,” George continued, remarking on, as Kawhi Leonard had, the different treatment Wednesday’s mostly white rioters received when compared with those who took to the streets in support of the Black Lives Matter movement in the summer.

“We tried to protest with peace and, you know, we are looked down upon and we’re this and we’re that. But we see how they protest. It’s unfortunate, but it’s an ongoing dialogue and ongoing conversations we’ve got to have with all races.”

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