Thompson on W's physicality: 'It's our new identity'
David Lee scored 23 points and grabbed 13 rebounds in the Warriors' win over the Clippers on Christmas. (USATSI)
OAKLAND – In the fifth and final game of Christmas, the NBA at last gave the gift of intensely competitive basketball. Fans, at least those on the West Coast, got nearly three hours of fabulous entertainment.
For the Warriors and Clippers spent the evening slugging it out, at times literally, with the Warriors earning a 105-103 win before a rambunctious sellout crowd at Oracle Arena.
Slumping forward Harrison Barnes made a pair of free throws with 1:08 left to break a 103-103 tie to account for the score, as both teams missed multiple shots in the final minute.
Klay Thompson, another Warrior who has been slumping of late, shared team-high scoring honors with teammate David Lee, each finishing with 23 points. Three other Warriors scored in double figures, as Stephen Curry had 15, Barnes 14 and Andrew Bogut 10.
Clippers star Chris Paul led all scorers with 26 points, 8 in the final quarter.
In the battle of point guards, Curry and Paul each had 11 assists. Curry had two turnovers, Paul three.
The game featured several skirmishes, another indicator that these two teams are becoming rivals.
Forward Draymond Green introduced his left elbow to Blake Griffin's face at the end of the third quarter and received a flagrant foul type 2 and immediate ejection. Griffin received a technical foul.
Less than two minutes later, Griffin engaged in a brief scuffle with Bogut, with Griffin receiving his second technical foul and automatic ejection. Bogut received a flagrant 1 and remained in the game.
STANDOUT PERFORMANCES: Thompson, coming out of his slump, and Lee attacking Clippers star Griffin.
TURNING POINT: The Warriors opened the second half with an 11-4 run to take the lead and spent most of the rest of the game holding on.
SPECIAL NOTE: Bogut (14 rebounds) and Lee (13) became the first teammates with 10 consecutive double-digit rebounding games since 1978, which Rich Kelley and Len "Truck" Robinson accomplished the feat with the New Orleans Jazz.
INJURY UPDATE: Centers Jermaine O'Neal (right wrist surgery), Festus Ezeli (right knee surgery) and Ognjen Kuzmic (right pinkie surgery) are out indefinitely.
WHAT'S NEXT: The Warriors on Friday play host to the Suns, who on Dec. 15 won the only previous meeting this season, 106-102 at US Airways Center in Phoenix. The Warriors have won six of the last seven meetings, including the last four at Oracle Arena.