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Clippers vs. Warriors - Open Thread

2009/2010 NBA Regular Season
Staples Center
March 28th, 2010, 6:30 PM
FSN Prime Ticket, 980 AM
Probable starters:
Baron Davis
PG Monta Ellis
Eric Gordon
SG Stephen Curry
Rasual Butler
SF Anthony Morrow
Drew Gooden
PF Corey Maggette
Chris Kaman
C Ronny Turiaf

The Back Story:

First Quarter Notes:

This game is going about how you would expect it to. The Clippers are absolutely beasting the Warriors on the boards and in the paint. Drew Gooden has 11 first quarter points and Chris Kaman has 6 first quarter rebounds, and the Warriors just don't have the size to deal with them. Kaman has missed a some easy shots, but he's made the moves to free himself up, and Gooden has subsequently been left alone to clean up the miss and get an easy tip in.

But even so, the Clippers managed to give back six points of a 13 point lead at the end of the quarter. The Warriors are certainly capable of making shots, and they've done some of that. Steph Curry has 8 points on 4 for 6 shooting, and none of the shots have been what you would call easy.

Late in the first quarter, Steve Blake turned his ankle and had to come out. No idea at this point how bad it might be. I did not see the play.

Second Quarter Notes:

The second unit that starts the second quarter (Bobby Brown in the absence of Blake, Rasual Butler, Travis Outlaw, Craig Smith and DeAndre Jordan) looks terrible. Just terrible. After giving back some of the lead at the end of the first, the complete the job and more just five minutes into the second quarter. Golden State uses 16 to 4 run at the start of the quarter to take a five point lead. Along with the six straight that closed the first, it's a 22-4 run. Here we go.

Hughes comes back with the starters at the 7:16 mark. But is the damage already done? Are the Warriors smelling blood while the Clippers are feeling defeated? The first play, CJ Watson picks Gordon clean for a layup. 24-4. The next play Gordon misses inside (he was fouled) and the Warriors get a dunk in the half court. 26-4.

It takes a left-handed circus shot from Baron to get the Clippers on the goard again. But the Warriors get another dunk and it's 28-6 run. This looks like it's going to get ugly. A Steph Curry three - 31-6.

What is it about the Clippers that causes severely undermanned teams to play basketball like NBA champs? The Warriors have eight players in uniform. Three of them spent significant time in the D-League this season. They have no right to be in this game. They really don't - no matter how good Steph Curry is. But right now they are destroying the Clippers. Partly because they seem to care. (Which is ironic, since the Bay Area beat writers accused them of quitting against Dallas last night.)

Steph Curry is an unbelievably entertaining scorer. He's got a great handle, he's quick as a cat, he's got an incredible feel, and he can bloody shoot the ball. He made a play with Ronny Turiaf that pretty much undressed Chris Kaman - poor Kaman had no idea where the ball was by the time Turiaf was dunking it.

One thing that the Warriors (especially Turiaf and Chris Hunter) are doing is challenging shots inside. Many, many times when it appeared that a Clipper would have an easy bucket, they've gotten a strip or a block or enough of a challenge to thwart the shot.

By the time Baron air balls a three early in the shot clock in the final two minutes of the half, the Clippers are down by 16 and have been outscored by 29 in a little over 12 minutes. It's embarrassing. I'm embarrassed.

The thing is, Hughes is running out of people to put in the game. He should probably give Novak and Collins some burn, since they're the two who haven't played, and the other 10 have looked terrible - each and every one of them.

The second quarter ends as a 40-14 advantage for the Warriors. That's a 40 point quarter, given up to an undermanned team, on our home court. While scoring only 14 against the second worst defense in the NBA. Counting the 6-0 run at the end of the first, it makes a 46-14 run - more than three Warriors points for every one Clipper point in the past 13 minutes of basketball.

With this game and another one against the Clippers left on their schedule, maybe we Don Nelson has a better chance at that all time win record than we thought. The Clippers could personally deliver the record for the guy. That would be a nice thing to do.

Third Quarter Notes:

It's time for the obscure player career high watch. Because it's the Warriors, there's plenty of obscure players to choose from, but they all have surprisingly lofty career highs already. Reggie Williams, whoever it turns out he is, scored 29 against the Suns a couple weeks ago. Chris Hunter, who appears to be tall, scored 22 against the Lakers. I've got Williams for 30 tonight.

Befitting how this game has gone for all entities related to the Clippers, my game thread is now kind of freaking out. I'm not sure why the lineups suddenly moved to the end of the thread. But I'm also not sure why the Clippers are down 20 against a team that has 4 road wins on the season.

The Clippers try to show some life in the third, but they just seem incapable of stopping dribble penetration. They get the lead down to 14 a couple of times, but they just can't string stops together. If they could get it down to 10 this quarter, we would have a game in the fourth. But they have to figure out how to play defense.

Hughes gets Kaman out of the game pretty quickly in the third after he overdribbles his way into a turnover. Kaman's game is really deteriorating, and it remains to be seen how he will react to losing minutes to DeAndre. Will Kaman respond by fighting for his minutes? Or will he slide further into seems to have become an early off-season for him?

Eric Gordon is developing some very bad habits as regards the referees. When Corey Maggette chases down a long pass and saves it back in bounds, Gordon starts arguing with the ref that Maggette was out of bounds - while the play was still going on. I know that EJ thinks he doesn't get a lot of calls he deserves, and I tend to agree with him - but he's got to play the game and not concern himself with the officials. He is letting them affect him.

The Clippers cut into the lead a little in the third - from 19 down to 12. But considering that it was down to 14 when Curry picked up his fourth foul with more than 5 minutes left, you'd certainly like to think it would be down into single digits by now. With Curry back on the floor in the fourth, it will be tougher to stop these guys - and the Clippers weren't really stopping them before.

Fourth Quarter Notes:

71 seconds into the fourth, the Clippers get under the psychological double digit barrier - but apparently the Warriors never took a psychology class, because Anthony Morrow splashes a three and Curry draws a charge on Gordon. Morrow's three puts the Warriors at 100, kicking in Lawler's Law, but there's lots of time left to break it tonight.

The Clippers one hope in this game is that enough Warriors foul out that they have to forfeit. Turiaf and Morrow both have five with 10 minutes still to play. Curry picks up his fifth with 6 and a half to go.

The Clippers seem to find new and inventive ways to stay out of the game. After a delay of game technical foul call, the lead is down to 9 and LA has the ball. Eric Gordon is wide open for a jumper - but gets the ball caught on his hip. When the shot doesn't go up, DJ is caught in the lane too long for a three second violation. It's the second time DJ's been called for three in the key tonight, and neither has really been his fault. In the first half, he had great position on a little and didn't want to give it up - but no one ever got him the ball. This time, he was fighting for position on what by all rights should have been a shot.

Kaman finally checks back in with 4:30 left, and the Clippers down 13. He doesn't look like he wants to be out there to me. 95 seconds laster, he goes back out, as Kim Hughes goes small. Looks like Kaman will log 21 and a half minutes tonight.

Speaking of which, Travis Outlaw has not appeared in the second half. He's at 8 and a half minutes, with zero points, zero shots, zero rebounds. He does have 2 fouls and a turnover.