Warriors beat Clippers on testy Christmas night

The coaches can downplay a rivalry all they want.

The signs of dislike and fiery competition are right there on

the court, with the players involved.

An all-California Christmas nightcap got heated in a hurry.

Flailing arms, swinging elbows, even tussling that spilled into the

postgame exit with Stephen Jackson mouthing off in the middle of it


Golden State’s Draymond Green was ejected for a flagrant 2 foul

after the third quarter of the Warriors’ 105-103 win Wednesday

night for throwing an elbow on a play that drew a technical on

Blake Griffin, then Griffin followed him to the locker room with

10:43 remaining when he drew his second technical.

The thing is: The Clippers questioned whether Golden State did

all it could to ignite Griffin and get him thrown out.

If this isn’t a rivalry, it’s darn close.

”I still believe this isn’t a rivalry because neither one of us

have done anything,” Golden State coach Mark Jackson said. ”It

was two teams playing with an edge competing against each


That’s not quite how Griffin and Clippers coach Doc Rivers saw


”If you look at it, I didn’t do anything and I got thrown out

of the game. It all boils down to they (referees) fell for it,”

Griffin said.

”To me, it’s cowardly basketball. I don’t know their

intentions, but it worked. … If I knew the answer I’d probably be

in a different position. Tonight I got two technicals for


With Griffin gone, the Clippers missed several key chances in

the waning moments.

Klay Thompson blocked a shot by Chris Paul with 1 second left

then contested Jamal Crawford’s 3-pointer that fell short at the

final buzzer as the Warriors rallied in the second half.

Griffin was ejected for his second technical after scuffling

with Andrew Bogut, following Green to the showers.

Paul’s lay-in with 11.9 seconds left went around the rim and

out, but Andre Iguodala missed a pair of free throws with 9.3

seconds remaining. That gave the Clippers the ball back with 8.3

seconds to go.

Stephen Curry overcame a slow start to score seven of his 15

points over the final 3:01 to go with 11 assists as Golden State

snapped the Pacific Division-leading Clippers’ season-best

five-game winning streak. Thompson finished with 23 points and

David Lee had 23 points and 13 rebounds.

When the game ended, players tangled near the tunnel to the

Clippers’ locker room and security personnel stepped in – and

former Warriors swingman Jackson could be seen screaming in the


Whether the Warriors intended to ignite Griffin, Rivers can only


”I don’t know if they were but it sure looked like it. I can’t

accuse them of that but it looked like it. I’m not sure but that’s

what it looked like,” Rivers said. ”It’s whatever you have to do

to win, I guess.”

This one sure was feisty and festive from the opening tipoff at

sold-out Oracle Arena, where fans wore ”Christmas Whiteout”

snowflake Warriors T-shirts for the holiday occasion.

Paul had 26 points and 11 assists as he and Curry put on a

late-game show between two of the Western Conference’s top point

guards. Griffin added 20 points, 14 rebounds and five assists

before his early exit.

Bogut added 10 points and 14 rebounds.

Both Rivers and Jackson said before the game this can’t truly be

a rivalry until both teams are consistent contenders year after


It’s certainly getting testy enough to be close to such status.

And they see each other twice more. The Clippers come back Jan.


”We like them. Merry Christmas,” Jackson said jokingly. ”It’s

just physical basketball, so we don’t get caught up in that. …

It’s good, old-fashioned basketball between two teams that are

playing for something.”

Griffin was held back by teammates at the end of the third

quarter while jawing with Green. Following a review, Griffin

received a technical and Green was ejected for a flagrant foul 2

after throwing an elbow.

”You have some key matchups in the game where guys want to go

at each other,” Green said. ”Any time you have that, you’re going

to have a tough, hard-nosed game.”

Then, officials went to review once more to look at a tussle

between Griffin and Bogut. Griffin left the game while Bogut was

hit with a flagrant 1 and a technical.

The Clippers, who never trailed in the first half, took a 77-74

lead into the see-saw fourth. They dropped to 19-3 when leading

after three quarters and 8-3 on the road.

Los Angeles beat Golden State 126-115 at home on Oct. 31 to hand

the Warriors their first loss a day after a season-opening win

against the Lakers.

Curry performed when it mattered, though he is shooting just 9

for 44 in three Christmas games. Lee and Bogut each have double

digits in rebounds in 10 straight games.

”We were kicking their butts and they went to something else,

to be honest,” Rivers said of triggering the second technical on

Griffin. ”But that’s fine. We have to have better composure and

just keep playing. … I thought in the basketball part of it we

were showing them pretty well. All the other stuff worked in their

favor, so it’s a smart thing for them to do.”