Well, that could have gone better. Of the Clippers first nine games of the season, seven of them are against playoff teams from last year. Western Conference playoff teams. Among those first nine opponents, the Golden State Warriors had by far the worst record last season - and the Warriors just beat the Clippers by 18. This my friends is not a good sign.
The Warriors started the game red-hot, and jumped out to a 13-3 lead in the game's first four minutes. They never much cooled off, but committed 9 first quarter turnovers, which allowed the Clippers to get back into the game. When the first quarter ended with the Clippers up by a point, you had to figure that LA had the momentum - they'd withstood a torrid Warriors start, but managed to erase a double digit lead to get back in the game. The second quarter was fairly even, and the Warriors took a 4 point lead into half time.
And in the third quarter, the wheels came off. The Warriors opened the quarter on a 21-2 run to take a 23 point lead and it was never again a contest. The Clippers never got closer than 17 points the rest of the way.
So what happened? Well, basically the Clippers played terrible basketball. It doesn't help that they once again couldn't shoot. They shot 38% from the field against a team that is known, both individually and as a group, as very poor defensively. And it wasn't just a few players that could shoot - nobody could make a shot. Baron Davis (5 for 13), Eric Gordon (6 for 17) and Chris Kaman (5 for 14) all shot below 40%, and Blake Griffin (6 for 14) was barely better. You can understand if the Warriors hang some points on you (even if you don't really expect Dorell Wright to hit 6 of 8 threes). But you don't expect to shoot under 40% against them, nor to be held to 91 points.
Whether it's a sign of a larger problem with offensive schemes or just a really, really bad night, the Clipper attack was flat, stagnant and predictable. On one occasion Milph remarked on how the Warriors were in a zone - only they weren't. Turns out, the Clippers were standing around so much that the Warriors just appeared to be in a traditional 2-3 zone, because they weren't really required to move from the spots they were occupying while guarding their men.
Despite having a pretty terrible night, Griffin still managed a double-double, with 14 points and 10 rebounds in 29 minutes. I'm sure he'll miss double figures at some point, but if he can manage a double double in this game, it's kind of hard to imagine him EVER missing out.
Chris Kaman once again struggled. After shooting 56% in pre-season, he has opened the regular season making just 9 of 32 shots - exacty half, 28%. Baron Davis had a good second quarter against his old team, but was pretty terrible the rest of the game. Shots weren't falling for Gordon. The Warriors played off Griffin, daring him to shoot, and when he didn't they swarmed him when he entered the paint.
The games don't get any easier, with the Mavericks, Spurs and Thunder next up, followed by games at Denver and at Utah. If the Clippers don't start to show some life, they could easily be 0-7 by next weekend.