Chris Paul drove toward the basket in the closing seconds Saturday night. He had the ball and the game in his hands as a sellout crowd of 19,060 stood and waited for the inevitable tying layup and the five-minute overtime that would follow.

Paul released the ball. It bounced on the rim and then through the hoop. The fans roared in celebration, drowning out the sound of a referee's whistle. They didn't see Stephen Curry on the floor, exulting after drawing an offensive foul.

The Clippers didn't lose the game at the end, however. They lost a 114-110 decision to the Golden State Warriors at Staples Center because of how they played at the start, when they couldn't seem to get anything right.

It shouldn't have come down to a referee's call or a last-gasp drive to the basket, according to Clippers coach Vinny Del Negro. The Clippers fell behind the Warriors in the opening minutes and never got in front of them, and that troubled Del Negro.

"I thought the first quarter set the tone for the rest of the game and we were battling uphill for the rest of it," Del Negro said. "Our starters didn't battle (hard enough to win the game). We just got outworked tonight, no question about it.