Programming note: Coverage of Game 7 between the Warriors and Clippers starts Saturday night at 7:00 p.m. with Warriors Pregame Live, only on Comcast SportsNet Bay Area (Channel locations)
OAKLAND – Improbably and almost illogically, the Warriors are going back to Los Angeles for Game 7 against the Clippers.
Despite shooting 35 percent in the first half and losing their only legitimate center early in the second quarter, the Warriors managed a 100-99 victory over the Clippers on Thursday night in Game 6 of their first-round playoff series.
The series is even, three games apiece, with the deciding game set for Saturday at Staples Center.
Stephen Curry led all scorers with 24 points. Three other Warriors scored in double figures, as Andre Iguodala had 15 points, Draymond Green 14 and Marreese Speights finished with 12.
The Warriors led throughout the final quarter, as Los Angeles never got closer than when a Matt Barnes 3-pointer with 1.4 seconds left provided the final score.
Center Jermaine O'Neal went down in the second quarter after taking a ferocious hit from 290-pound Glen "Big Baby" Davis. O'Neal sustained a sprained right knee and did not return.
For most of the night, the game looked a middleweight (the Warriors) constantly jabbing at a heavyweight (the Clippers). Los Angeles never took advantage of the Warriors' lack of size inside.
Or maybe it was a case of Warriors grit and persistence that forced Game 7.
STANDOUT PERFORMER: Curry earned a gold star for generating early offense and pulling the Warriors back into the game after falling behind 14-5 in the first four minutes. He scored 14 points in the quarter, which ended in a 25-25 tie.
Green gets a gold star for scoring 12 points and doing a variety of other things necessary to achieve victory. In addition to minimizing Clippers star Blake Griffin, Green finished with 10 points, 11 rebounds, five steals and three assists.
TURNING POINT: Trailing 57-53 with 6:43 left in the third quarter, the Warriors went on a 16-5 run and took a 69-62 lead with 1:15 left in the quarter. L. A. never again caught up or pulled into a tie.
The Clippers made only two field goals during the run, the highlight of which was a Green alley-oop pass that was flushed by David Lee.
The Warriors held L.A. to 29.2 percent shooting (7 of 24) in the quarter.
INJURY REPORT: C Jermaine O'Neal left with 9:38 left in the second quarter, and was diagnosed with a sprained right knee after taking a body blow from Glen "Big Baby" Davis. X-rays were negative, but O'Neal did not return. C Festus Ezeli (right knee surgery rehab) and C Andrew Bogut (fractured rib) remain out indefinitely.
Clippers F Hedo Turkoglu (lower back contusion) did not play and is day to day.
WHAT'S NEXT: It's onto Los Angeles for Game 7 on Saturday at Staples Center.