Warriors 'took win for granted'

Coach slams leaky defence after they fall to Clippers at home and fail to wrap up series

LOS ANGELES • Golden State Warriors coach Steve Kerr accused his team of taking victory for granted as the two-time National Basketball Association (NBA) defending champions slumped to a 129-121 play-off first-round loss to the Los Angeles Clippers.

His team had looked set to advance to a Western Conference semi-final showdown with the Houston Rockets, needing only a home win against the eighth seeds to complete a 4-1 series victory.

But a 45-point display from Kevin Durant could not mask a shoddy defensive display, which the Clippers exploited with 54.1 per cent field-goal shooting to claw the series back to 3-2 on Wednesday.

The teams head back to Los Angeles for Game 6 today.

Lou Williams delivered 33 points off the bench for the visitors while Patrick Beverley hauled down 14 rebounds to craft an upset.

It is the first time the Warriors have lost a Game 5 at home since the 2016 NBA Finals against eventual champions Cleveland Cavaliers, leaving Kerr bemoaning a lacklustre showing from his men.

He said: "It's been a year where things haven't gone exactly smoothly all the time so I'm not surprised by anything, but I expected us to play better and win the game.

"It's the NBA play-offs. It's a seven-game series, and you've got to defend with some urgency.

"We gave up 129 points on our home floor. We weren't right from the very beginning.

"Everything we did in LA, we didn't do tonight.

"We seemed to take it for granted we were going to be okay. I said it before the game - this Clippers team have been scrapping and clawing all year. I knew they weren't going to go down without a fight.

Los Angeles Clippers forward Montrezl Harrell and Golden State Warriors centre Kevon Looney tussling for the ball during Game 5 of their NBA play-off first-round series. The Clippers won 129-121 to claw the series back to 3-2 and force Game 6 today i
Los Angeles Clippers forward Montrezl Harrell and Golden State Warriors centre Kevon Looney tussling for the ball during Game 5 of their NBA play-off first-round series. The Clippers won 129-121 to claw the series back to 3-2 and force Game 6 today in Los Angeles. PHOTO: EPA-EFE

  • 54.1%

  • Los Angeles Clippers' shooting percentage, that resulted in part from the Golden State Warriors' sub-par defence.

"Patrick Beverley came in and kicked our butts."

Clippers coach Doc Rivers waved off suggestions that his players could go on to eliminate the team who are chasing a fourth title in five seasons.

He said: "We're not getting ahead of ourselves. They're up 3-2 still. But I just loved how we played. I thought tonight was more like us, throughout. We kept attacking, we kept running. That was our team out there today."

As well as Williams and Beverley, three other Clippers scored in double figures, including Danilo Gallinari, who finished with 26 points and seven rebounds.

Hailing the team effort, Rivers said: "To beat the Warriors in a game, you need everybody. Each guy was a star in their role and that's why we won the game."

While Golden State now face at least one more game, Houston will benefit from extra rest after wrapping up a 4-1 win over the Jazz in the other game of the night.

James Harden led the scoring with 26 points as the hosts overcame an improved Utah defensive effort to seal a 100-93 win.

The Most Valuable Player also gave the visitors "credit for the entire series", saying: "Every game, they found a way to compete, especially tonight. They just didn't let up."

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 26, 2019, with the headline 'Warriors 'took win for granted''. Print Edition | Subscribe