OAKLAND — The Clippers had to work overtime to beat the Golden State Warriors Tuesday night.
Guard Mike Woodson scored 31 points as the Clippers won, 123-120, in double overtime before a crowd of 8,361 at the Oakland Coliseum Arena.
Two of Woodson's points came when he tipped in a missed shot by Reggie Williams for a 99-99 tie that sent the game into overtime.
"I didn't know if I had beaten the clock or not until after I saw (referee) Lee Jones signal that it was good," Woodson said.
"We've been playing well for the last two weeks. We've been in every game and we would have had a chance to win them if we had executed.
"Tonight we executed well. We made every play we had to make to win."
Woodson gave Los Angeles what proved to be an insurmountable 121-118 lead when he sank a 17-foot jumper with 21 seconds left in the second overtime period.
"I waited until the (shot) clock ran down and then I made a pass to Ben (Benoit Benjamin), who was open under the basket. I was hoping he would take the shot. But J.B. (Carroll) came over, and Ben threw it back out to me so I took it."
Woodson's two free throws had forced the second five-minute period, tying the score at 111-111, after he was fouled by Rod Higgins with four seconds left in the first overtime.
Warrior Coach George Karl was furious with referee Earl Strom for calling the blocking foul on Higgins.
"Earl Strom's call on Mike Woodson was just a tragedy," Karl said. "I don't know how you make that type of call at the end of an NBA game. There was absolutely no way that was a block on Rod Higgins.
"But it just goes to show when it's going bad, it's going bad."
The Warriors, who lost to the Lakers in the second round of the playoffs last season, are off to miserable start. They have the worst record in the National Basketball Assn. (1-10) and have lost seven straight.
"We have had our face rubbed in the mud in the NBA," Karl said. "Nobody is feeling sorry for the Golden State Warriors in the NBA."
Benjamin had his best game of the season, scoring 26 points and hauling down 13 rebounds as the Clippers (4-6) broke a seven-game losing streak here. It was the first time they had beaten the Warriors on their home court since Jan, 12, 1985.
Benjamin made 11 of 12 shots and was 4 for 4 from the free-throw line. He also had 2 blocked shots and 4 assists.
Clipper guard Larry Drew scored 24 points, including three three-point shots. With Golden State holding a 98-91 lead with 54 seconds left in regulation, Drew scored five points as the Clippers outscored the Warriors, 8-1. Drew hit a 25-foot three-pointer with 14 seconds left to narrow the score to 99-97 and set the stage for Woodson's game-tying shot at the buzzer.
"That was sensational," Clipper Coach Gene Shue said. "It was clutch shooting by our players. It seemed like we were fighting uphill the whole way. We kept digging holes for ourselves. When we were down by eight points in the fourth period it wasn't good. Then we got clutch three-pointers from Woodson and Drew."
Said Drew: "Last year, the mentality of the team would have been to accept defeat in a situation like that, when we were down late in the fourth quarter. But the whole attitude of the team has changed."
Forward Michael Cage scored 16 points and grabbed 11 rebounds, and rookie Joe Wolf scored 14 points. Wolf iced the win when he sank a pair of free throws with one second left in the second extra period for the final margin.
Higgins scored a career-high 33 points and hauled down 8 rebounds for the Warriors. Higgins, who made 15 of 17 shots, hit 13 straight in the second half.
Warrior guard Chris Mullin added 24 points, 16 in the first half, and guard Eric (Sleepy) Floyd scored 22 points and passed off for 15 assists. Joe Barry Carroll scored 21 points.
After the Clippers fought back to send the game into overtime, it looked as if the Warriors would win it when they blitzed Los Angeles, 8-2, in the first 2 minutes 20 seconds of the first overtime to take a 107-101 lead.
The Clippers narrowed it to 107-103 on a shot by Benjamin; Woodson sank another jumper to cut the lead to 107-105, and the Clippers tied it at 107-107 on Wolf's jumper with 1:37 left.
The Warriors went ahead, 109-107, when Carroll sank two free throws after he was fouled by Woodson. Carroll then blocked a drive by Woodson at the other end, but Mullin missed a jumper to give the Clippers a second chance.
Benjamin hit two free throws after he was fouled by Higgins to tie the score at 109-109, but Floyd sank a shot with six seconds left in overtime to give the Warriors a 111-109 lead--before Woodson's free throws with four seconds left re-tied it.
Drew scored five points in the second overtime as the Clippers outscored the Warriors, 12-9, for the victory.