LOS ANGELES -- The disappointment of an opening-night loss were decisively exorcised by the Los Angeles Clippers with a 126-115 win over the Golden State Warriors at the Staples Center on Thursday night.
All it took were a slew of thunderous alley-oop dunks by Blake Griffin, a whole lot of Chris Paul and a statement win over the Warriors -- who the Clippers figure to wage a season-long battle with in the Pacific Division.
The Warriors stayed relatively close in the fourth quarter, thanks mostly to hot shooting Stephen Curry, who scored 16 points over the first six minutes of the quarter to cut the lead to right points.
But Paul took over from there in the decisive win.
Paul, meanwhile, was brilliant while sinking 12 of 20 shots and 16 of 17 free throws.
The Clippers and Warriors finished one-two in the Pacific Division last year, with the Clippers winning their first division title in franchise history.
But the Warriors advanced one round further than the Clippers in the playoffs, and their six-game battle with the San Antonio Spurs in the second round elevated expectations coming into this year.
NOTES: The flight from Oakland to Los Angeles is a little over an hour in length, so the Warriors had every reason to believe they'd arrive in L.A. at a relatively decent hour after their home game against the Lakers on Wednesday night. But mechanical problems resulted in a canceled flight, massively changed plans and a noon arrival in L.A. Thursday afternoon. "We're a no excuse team," Warriors coach Mark Jackson said. "And we're not the first NBA team to go through something like this."...Clippers coach Doc Rivers is a big fan of the Warriors, claiming they are the team the Clippers are trying to catch up to. "That's just Doc being Doc," Jackson said, noting the Clippers finished ahead of the Warriors in the standings last year.