LOS ANGELES -- The Golden State Warriors and Los Angeles Clippers went to the wire in their Game 7 battle to decide which team would advance to the Western Conference semifinal round against Oklahoma City.
But Blake Griffin began to take over the game, scoring on an improbable layup as he was being fouled by Harrison Barnes to give the Clippers a five-point lead with 54.8 seconds left, and Los Angeles held on for a 126-121 victory Saturday night.
Draymond Green made one of two free throws with 46.4 seconds left to pull the Warriors within four.
It was a back-and-forth affair befitting of the Warriors' first Game 7 in 37 years as the No. 6 seeded team went for the upset at Staples Center.
Stephen Curry in his big moment scored 33 points and dished out nine assists, but was saw his shot get blocked by DeAndre Jordan with the Warriors trailing by a point. On the other end, the Warriors saw a horrific sight with Griffin throwing down a dunk off a lob from J.J. Redick.
Then, it was Jordan's turn with a putback dunk that gave the Clippers a 114-109 lead.
Andre Iguodala banked in a 3-pointer to give the Warriors a 107-106 lead, and Green swatted away a Chris Paul shot attempt on the other end to force a shot clock violation.
But Jordan threw down a lob to give the Clippers a 108-107 lead, but then Green later forced a tie-up of Jamal Crawford and won the jump ball.
Paul played through his ailments and did it with distinction. In the fourth quarter, he hit a 3-pointer, won a jump ball despite playing with a bad hamstring and on the other end made a lay--up to give the Clippers a 103-96 lead.
The Warriors were able to play Jermaine O'Neal for only three minutes two days after he suffered a bruise on his right kneecap. Without Andrew Bogut, the Warriors lacked for size.
Marreese Speights came off the bench to add 10 points with the Warriors needing production in the paint.
Former Warriors player Matt Barnes hit a 3-pointer to give the Clippers the lead, and Griffin followed with an easy layup to make it 98-94 with 8:14 to play.
Another substitute, Jordan Crawford, got an opportunity to start the fourth quarter on the court and drained a 3-pointer to give Golden State a 92-91 lead. He later had a tip-in to make it 94-91 Warriors.
The Warriors trailed 87-84 heading into the fourth quarter after the Clippers grabbed control of the game in the third. Griffin, Redick, Paul and Jamal Crawford all had scored in double figures by the end of the quarter.
Redick scored 10 points and hit two 3-pointers in the quarter while Paul was active with eight points on 3-for-3 shooting and five assists in the third. Curry scored six points in the third, but was 1 for 5 from the field.
The Clippers clawed their way back from an eight-point deficit at halftime to take a 75-72 lead in the third after going on a 12-2 run.
The Warriors led 64-56 at halftime after they caught fire from 3-point range and connected on 9 of 13 attempts before heading into the locker room.
Curry hit one with 10.8 seconds left in the second quarter while being fouled by Paul and completed the four-point play.
The Warriors led by as many as 12 points at the start of the second. What kept the Clippers in the game was nine Warriors turnovers in the first half that led to 13 points.
Jamal Crawford also completed a four-point play of his own and scored 13 first-half points along with Griffin.
The Warriors led 32-22 after the first quarter, with Green scoring 10 of his points and hitting two 3-pointers. He finished the half with 13 points on 5-for-5 shooting.
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