LOS ANGELES -- After coaching the Warriors to an upset win against the Los Angeles Clippers to kick off the postseason, Mark Jackson listed the adversity each of his players had faced in their careers.
The Warriors had battled and come away with a surprising 109-105 win Saturday at Staples Center in Game 1 of a best-of-seven series, and Jackson was left explaining why he and his players excelled in the underdog role.
"When you look at the makeup of this basketball team individually and collectively, they're fighters," Jackson said, noting his own relative inexperience at coaching. "Top to bottom, we've got a bunch of guys that survey says, we're not supposed to be here."
Yet here the Warriors are with a first-round series lead, even without injured center Andrew Bogut and after blowing an 11-point fourth-quarter lead.
Draymond Green hit the go-ahead free throws in the game's final minute and helped force a Chris Paul turnover on the other end to lift the Warriors.
Earlier in the quarter, Harrison Barnes blocked Paul's layup try before draining a 3-pointer to give the Warriors the lead. Barnes, who struggled mightily at times in his sophomore season, later added a free throw that helped put the nail in the Clippers' coffin.
And after Klay Thompson sealed the win with a free throw with 6.8 seconds left and corralled the ball at the buzzer, he spiked it to Paul's dismay.
"We're just a team of destiny," Green said. "We're not going to quit. We're never going to give up. We knew that at some point they would make their run. We had to continue to take the punch and punch back.
"We continued to fight."
Thompson hit clutch shots and led the Warriors with 22 points and added seven rebounds and five assists, and David Lee had 20 points and 13 rebounds. Lee went right at the Clippers and often found himself open as they focused on trapping Stephen Curry, who finished with 14 points.
"We were finding that open guy," said Curry, who had seven assists and seven turnovers. "A lot of times, it was for a dunk, and we got some open 3s as well."
The Warriors survived a 28-point, eight-assist performance from Paul, who spent part of the game in foul trouble, something that also limited Clippers star power forward Blake Griffin to 16 points in 19 minutes before fouling out.
Aided by Paul being on the bench, the Warriors took an 87-79 lead heading into the fourth quarter after scoring the last eight points of the third. Lee drew a fifth foul on Griffin during that run, then, with the score tied at 105 in the game's final minute, went for a rebound that got the Clippers star disqualified.
Even though Bogut did not make the trip because of a fractured rib, the Warriors won the rebounding battle as well as points in the paint, both by a 48-42 count. Golden State got a strong combined effort from big men Jermaine O'Neal (13 points), Lee and Marreese Speights (six points, five rebounds). Clippers center DeAndre Jordan had 11 points, 14 rebounds and five blocks but also seven turnovers.
The Warriors beat the Clippers on the road for the first time this season despite foul trouble all game long for Andre Iguodala, whose absence in part enabled L.A.'s J.J. Redick to score 22 points. They also won despite 23 turnovers and an inauspicious start.
The Warriors missed their first eight field goal attempts and committed four turnovers as the Clippers took a 12-1 lead. Curry sank the Warriors' first shot, and it started a 16-5 run capped off by Curry's game-tying 3-pointer.
The Warriors trailed 29-24 after Jamal Crawford banked in a 3-pointer from half-court at the buzzer to end the first quarter. But Crawford finished the game 2 for 11 from the field and wasn't the only Clipper to struggle.
Darren Collison shot 2 for 9 while playing key minutes with Paul on the bench, and with the score tied at 105, he lost the ball out of bounds before committing the loose ball foul that gave Green the go-ahead free throws.
"I think the lesson for all of our guys is that the playoffs are a single-possession game for 48 minutes, and we made too many single mistakes that eventually add up to a loss," Clippers coach Doc Rivers said.