"Golden State, the way they're playing right now is beautiful to watch."
The previous coach was prone to hyperbole. Steve Kerr has also done a bit of his own, both verbally and in pure action. He's called practices horrible on numerous occasions. Kerr has also been the main cog in keeping Klay Thompson over Kevin Love. But after a game like this one, where the Los Angeles Clippers waltzed on into Oracle Arena, ready for a dogfight between two teams that hated each other and ending in a curbstomp, there was room for a little, right? Sure, just not by the coach on the winning side. Doc Rivers waxed poetically on how the Chris Paul-led team was trampled up and down the court on Wednesday night.
"One foul at halftime? Are you f*** kidding me?"
"They were running to this game. We were running away from it."
"The game told me what I thought."
On what was said in the locker room, leading to a delay in getting Doc Rivers out to the media: "Blowing smoke in each other's asses. I thought that's what they did in there."
Some of it was Rivers playing a bit in taking the blame, he even said as much. The Clippers haven't looked as good as they should five games into the young season. We'll let Doc say the rest.
Doc said players mostly spoke in postgame meeting. "I just let them blow smoke up each other’s asses. That’s all they did, in my opinion."— Dan Woike (@DanWoikeSports) November 6, 2014
No, we can RT @AndyKHLiu: More Doc: We gotta give Steve (Kerr) some credit but we don't wanna take anything away from Mark (Jackson) either.— netw3rk (@netw3rk) November 6, 2014
Now to the Warriors side of things, the entire team came out with an absurd level of energy and execution that remain unmatched until the game was out of hand. It started with Stephen Curry getting by Chris Paul repeatedly on offense while locking him up on defense. It all culminated with Steve Kerr getting T'd up for the first time as a professional NBA head coach with his team up 25 in the middle of the third quarter. There was no lethargic start and complacent middle. Not against a team that they felt stole a playoff series less than a year ago.
Enough with the narrative stuff and onto the game notes and quotes - and there's a lot.
1. When Draymond Green, err, National TV Draymond Green as termed by some starts raining threes there's really no defending this team. Kerr made a note of the team missing a stretch four and though Green will never develop into a true one, not like Ryan Anderson at least, if he gets to around 36-38 percent that'll open up another level of offensive efficiency. But what Green does as a power forward outweighs most of what he potentially do on offense. He bodied up Blake Griffin again helping to turn him into a glorified spot-up shooter. The doubles came quick, when they did, and the Warriors scrambled accordingly. And according to Kerr, he'll remain the starting lineup as long as the Warriors keep winning. There was much love after. Max money confirmed.
2. It was a rather confusing game for Blake Griffin. Stonewalled several times by Green and caught up in doubles by Curry and the Warriors' quick doubles, he turned into a glorified midrange spot-up shooter before barely playing much of the fourth quarter. THe Warriors fared fine against him in the playoff series before Game 7 and it looks as if Green is just fine in isolation settings against the beastly power forward.
3. Kerr found ways to get his rotations mixed up again. Several interesting things happened when David Lee checked in for the first time this season. He made a couple jumpers and looked sprightly as the offensive focal piece on the second unit with Andre Iguodala, Shaun Livingston, Leandro Barbosa, and Festus Ezeli. It worked essentially as the perfect mixture of offense and defense, something I've projected since the offseason. It's too bad that Lee will be going in for MRIs after a re-aggravation of his hamstrings.
Kerr also got some minutes for Brandon Rush, his first appearance this season, and mixed him in with the starting lineup in garbage time. Though it was only a few minutes and Rush didn't necessarily pop, it was smart to acclimate his players in case. When the Clippers crept closer, Kerr went with Livingston over Iguodala and Barnes. There are a lot of length and choices on this team right now. The coaching staff has tough choices but these are the good kinds after last year's debacles.
4. No fights. Some jawing and Green almost licking Green's face but all in all, a rather tame night in terms of scuffles.
5. Andrew Bogut was missing in last playoff's Clippers series. His presence was felt tonight. He pulled down nine rebounds in the first 10 minutes and neutralized Griffin and DeAndre Jordan at the rim especially on the boads. There were a couple dunks here and there but nothing back-breaking. Also, Bogut's screen game has become absurdly good. The dribble-handoff is lethal when Bogut is sprinting at a player with Thompson one way and Curry the other, sending defenders all over the place. Centralizing some of the offense on Bogut has tremendously helped spacing.
6. Kerr's out of bounds plays are awesome. For Thompson's first bucket in the second quarter, Kerr drew up a misdirection play: he had Curry run to the baseline on a backscreen, sending Klay's man J.J. Redick to take one step to help, and before he could recover, Thompson was sprinting to the top of the key on an upscreen and sinking a three. Gorgeous.
7. There were a lot of turnovers - 23 of them - but they're more a byproduct of the passing, about 50 times per game more than last season as cited by Steve Kerr, than dumb plays. We'll take those every time.
Next game is at the Toyota Center against the Houston Rockets at 5 P.M. PST on Saturday. Both teams are undefeated.