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Despite Spirited Effort, Clippers Fall to Warriors 134-127

The Clippers put up a good fight in this one, but defensive struggles and a massive Steph Curry performance kept them from pulling out the victory.

NBA: Los Angeles Clippers at Golden State Warriors Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports

Game Summary:

In many ways, this was a game that summarizes the entire Clippers’ season. Before the game, they received news that a key rotation player (Avery Bradley) was out with an injury. During the game, they lost yet another crucial player (Danilo Gallinari) to a random injury, and had to scramble to replace him. Despite a lack of talent and sometimes weak execution, the Clippers fought the whole night, and made a competitive game out of a contest that should have been a blowout. They trailed the entire way, and at one point in the second quarter, down 46-28, the game looked like it could have turned into a rout. The Clippers refused to go away, and were able to keep the lead at around the 13-15 point range for most of the 2nd and 3rd quarters.

Then, in the 4th, they made their push. Lou Williams finally got shots to go down, Tobias Harris bullied Nick Young in the post, and Tyrone Wallace did Tyrone Wallace (i.e. smart) things. The lead shrunk and shrunk, finally dwindling all the way down to one. But in the end, the Clippers couldn’t get a stop, undone by Steph Curry on the pick and roll, a simple play that they appeared helpless to blow up or even slow down. Curry drained threes whenever the game looked like it was slipping away, and found his teammates for easy buckets when the Clippers played prevent defense on him. It was a masterful performance by one of the best players of all time, and the Clippers should feel no shame in losing to the Warriors tonight. That still doesn’t excuse the defense, though.


  • Steph Curry is Good: The Clippers could have played (much) better defense against Steph tonight, but it was one of those games where he didn’t look like he could be denied. He made everything look easy tonight, and did so even when the rest of his teammates looked absolutely gassed. This is one of those games that reminds one of how he won the NBA’s first ever unanimous MVP, and while his current campaign isn’t as strong as that epic performance two seasons ago, it’s still incredibly good. Tip of the hat to him tonight (he had 44 points on 19 shots, 9 assists, 6 rebounds, and 2 steals).
  • Tyrone Wallace Returns: With the news that Avery Bradley was injured, Tyrone Wallace got the call to return to the LA Clippers from Agua Caliente, and he performed his duties admirably. As he’s done all season, he got to the hoop beautifully on drives and cuts, and was able to finish on some tough looks. He contributed in all-around game as well, chipping in rebounds, assists, and steals while playing sound defense against three of the best perimeter players in the NBA. He’s not perfect—he had two horrible missed 3s, and his lack of shooting definitely restricts spacing when he’s on the court—but he’s smart as hell, and all the tools are there for him to be an above average NBA player for a long time. The Clippers need to sign him for the rest of the season, whether Bradley will miss extended time or no. Ty has earned it.
  • Clippers Struggle Defensively: The Warriors scored at least 32 points in each of the four quarters, and I’m not sure the Clippers had consecutive stops more than once or twice tonight. The Warriors ran the exact same play the last few minutes down the stretch- Steph Curry pick and roll with Durant or Green- and the Clippers could not stop it. Sometimes it was because Austin Rivers didn’t fight through the screen hard enough, sometimes it was DeAndre Jordan failing to step up on Steph, and the rest of the time it was teammates not rotating well enough to protect the rim against the open Warriors who Steph found when he was doubled. Simply put, it was an embarrassing showing on that end. While the effort appeared to be there, the execution was horrific, and the Clippers’ coaching staff needs to explode on the Clips for their performance on that play tonight.
  • Solid Lou Performance: Lou struggled with his scoring for most of the first three quarters, launching ill-advised shots against smothering Warriors’ defense, and failing to take what the defense gave him. That changed in the 4th quarter, and Lou’s final line was quite impressive: 19 points on 16 shots, and 11 assists to only 3 turnovers. His passing in this one was fantastic, continually finding big men around the hoop for easy dunks. While this wasn’t the incredibly on fire Sweet Lou that the Clippers had in January, this was the blueprint for what the Clippers need from him down the stretch of the season.
  • Boban Gets a Minute: Boban Marjanovic got his first real playing time as an LA Clipper, playing the last minute and a half or so of the 2nd quarter. Sadly, the only stat he recorded was a foul, but his getting any time is hopefully a sign that he gets a shot at some minutes when the situation calls for it in the future.

That’s about all for this one. Montrezl Harrell was as great as usual, Gallo had an off game, and both Tobias Harris and Austin Rivers played pretty well. Let’s hope that Gallinari’s bruised hand is just a bruise, and that he doesn’t miss any more time with the injury. The last thing the Clippers need is for him to go out again.