The Clippers went down in a hail of three-point fire from the Warriors tonight and fell by their widest margin of the season, 144-98. LAC was gashed inside over the first 24 minutes before Curry decided to go full-on supernova in the third. The Clippers mustered just 23 points in the third quarter compared to Curry’s 25 points in the frame alone. He finished the game with 43 points, nine rebounds and six assists on 9-15 shooting from three-point range.
Golden State had 42 points in the paint in the first half compared to just 16 for LAC. The Clips weren’t even awful offensively until the third quarter, but allowing the Warriors to shoot better than 60 percent from the field is going to result in a loss 100 percent of the time.
Blake Griffin played pretty well in just 22 minutes, finishing with 20 points on 9-14 shooting with four boards and two assists. They were just no match for the Dubs’ unconscious shooting.
Blake Griffin picked up a pair of fouls right out of the gate, but Doc Rivers opted to roll the dice and keep him out there. The Warriors hit each of their first four shots from the floor, but also coughed it up three times in the first four minutes.
Golden State shot 58 percent from the floor over the first half of the first quarter, but J.J. Redick was finding himself open on the other end and keeping the Clippers afloat. Redick started 3-5 from the floor, including a pair of triples. Back-to-back longballs from Wesley Johnson (!) and Raymond Felton whittled the Dubs’ 10-point lead down to four at 22-18 toward the end of the first 12 minutes.
After failing to connect on any of his eight three-point attempts in the first meeting, Stephen Curry came out gunning in this one and hit on two of his first five looks from the long line.
Getting the Warriors to miss open shots always feels lucky, but allowing them to grab offensive boards and generate second-chance points is going to get you killed. The Warriors hustled to four offensive boards in the first quarter alone and scored on each ensuing opportunity. Allowing nine second-chance points in one quarter is not ideal.
Having Stephen Curry and Kevin Durant beat you is one thing, but the Warriors’ big men were doing real damage early on. Zaza Pachulia and JaVale McGee combined for eight points and six rebounds in the first quarter. LAC was outscored 20-4 in the paint, which was rather disconcerting.
Despite the Clips playing a decent first frame overall, they still trailed 31-22 after one.
Things started to get away from LAC early in the second. The Warriors scored another eight points in the paint in the first five minutes of the period with an and-one by Klay Thompson extending Golden State’s lead to a game-high 15. The Warriors have the league’s top defense, but the Clippers were just playing sluggish offense. There was very little off-ball movement, which led directly to contested jumpers and turnovers.
In an apparent attempt to keep the game close, the Warriors opted to bring James Michael McAdoo off the bench. He converted a pair of dunks thanks to Mo Speights’ patented traffic cone defense around the rim, but the Clips were able to take it to him on the other end with Blake Griffin. Three consecutive easy buckets for Blake followed by a long range splash from Jamal Crawford inched the Clippers back to within 10.
Following yet another Griffin bucket, Steve Kerr, clearly shaking in his boots, opted to start hacking DeAndre Jordan to try and stymie a potential run. D.J. obliged by missing both foul shots, but the Clippers snagged the offensive board and quickly found Redick, who buried a triple from the top.
That little surge of enthusiasm for L.A. was quickly thwarted, though, as Draymond Green subsequently blocked a shot, grabbed the rebound and went coast-to-coast for a jam. Felton then missed a wide-open look from the corner, which led to a Klay Thompson three on the other end. Suddenly, GSW was up 62-45.
Austin Rivers finally found the bottom of the net, but the Warriors responded again with five easy points from Kevin Durant to go back up 17.
As if things weren’t rough enough for the Clippers, Steph Curry grabbed a rebound off a Crawford miss with about five seconds to go. He dribbled toward half court almost in slow motion with the clock winding down, pulled up from beyond the halfway line and hit nothing but net to give the Warriors their largest lead of the game at halftime, 72-51.
These things have a way of happening to teams that play the Warriors, but that doesn’t make it any less deflating.
If I’d told you before the game that both teams would be 8/15 from three in the first half you’d have felt pretty good about LAC’s chances, right? Unfortunately, allowing any team an uncontested path to the rim isn’t exactly a formula for success. Golden State marched its way to a whopping 42 points in the paint in the first half alone, while the Clippers mustered just 16.
If you need a visual aid, consider the shot charts (via NBA.com/stats):
Here’s the Clippers’:
And here’s Golden State’s:
The Sixers outscored the Clippers 66-20 in the paint in their last game, and LAC’s defensive effort around the rim clearly hadn’t improved.
The third was more of the same, with Curry’s fifth three of the game - yet another wide-open look - stretching Golden State’s advantage to 29.
Sometimes it just feels like both teams are playing on a different difficulty setting when the Clippers go up against the Warriors. Golden State seems to have an answer for everything LAC wants to do offensively, while the Dubs somehow manage to generate boatloads of wide open shots on the other end.
A ridiculous 35-foot pull-up from Curry enacted Lawler’s Law, with another one on the next trip down making it a 103-69 ballgame. Heading into the fourth, L.A. trailed by 43. WELP.
There is no shame in losing to the Warriors at Oracle. Only three times have beaten them there all season long and they’ve lost just seven games total. The Clippers were without their best player, so it’s safe to say plenty of us saw the L coming.
The Clips gave it a good effort in the first quarter, but it didn’t take long for the Warriors to overwhelm them. One massive area of concern right now for the Clippers is interior defense. This was the second straight game they have been completely gashed in the paint, and DeAndre is one of the game’s elite rim protectors. His teammates have just been offering him very little help at all. Mo Speights has been particularly culpable for the team’s shortcomings in that area over the last couple of games. Golden State finished with 62 paint points in this one.
In the end, this game was whatever. The Clippers will move on and try to get back into the win column on Wednesday when they’re back at it against the Suns. These same Warriors will be at Staples the very next night. Maybe Carmelo Anthony will be there, too.