The Warriors can go ahead and erase this holiday trip down south from their collective memory. After getting lit up by the Kobe-less Lakers on Tuesday, they fell again to the Clippers on Christmas, 100-86. Whereas defense was the problem on Tuesday night, offense was the problem during the Christmas nightcap, as the Warriors scored their season low.
I never would have thought that when Christmas Day came, the name on the back of the Warriors' starting center's jersey would be "Marreese," but injuries and strange jersey choices have brought on the unthinkable. However, Kerr was rightly confident in Draymond Green to do better than the movie director in the new Kia commercial and actually shut Blake Griffin down, which allowed the Warriors to get away with playing a smaller lineup for most of the game. In the end, the injuries to the bigs did not hurt the Warriors too much. The problem was that the Warriors couldn't score enough to beat a team that only shot 39% from the field.
The Warriors started the game looking especially feisty. Curry, in particular, started the game with a couple of ridiculous shots, a one-legged floater and a contested three, and then had a fantastic play where he went around the back, split two defenders, and fed a scoop pass to Speights for the dunk. However, the combination of his hot start and the slow start of the Clippers' stars did not result in a huge lead for the Warriors.
The Clippers ran a solid play to start the game, earning DeAndre Jordan a dunk. They then proceeded to miss their next 16 shots from the field. Somehow, this didn't pull them out of the game completely, thanks to some free throws, some Warriors turnovers, and Jamal Crawford doing what he does best (i.e. making ridiculous shots and getting fouled). I would call this a revenge game for Crawford, but if that were the case, he'd have revenge games against almost half the teams in the league.
The Warriors finally relinquished their lead at the beginning of the third quarter, and the Clippers really took hold of the game in the fourth.
In the third quarter, the Clippers went on a couple of runs sparked by transition play. Chris Paul read the patented Curry-hook-pass-that-makes-Warriors-fans-smack-their-heads for a steal and then found Jordan for an alley-oop before getting an and-1 and draining a three during an 11-2 Clipper run. Another big swing came when Jordan blocked Andre Iguodala and ran the floor before finishing a lay-up and getting fouled. Luckily for the Warriors, Curry became more active offensively and they only finished the third quarter down by three.
Then trouble came running. The Warriors scored only 16 points in the fourth quarter, and Paul and Griffin began to make plays down the stretch. Eventually, Crawford iced the game with a deep straight-on three to put the Clippers up by 20.
Giving credit to the Clippers' defense, they were able to hedge hard on the pick and roll and fly out to three point shooters without getting burned. They made the Warriors' spacing look awful and Paul locked Curry down in the fourth quarter. The Warriors seemed to be overthinking everything on offense and were caught vacillating where they have been decisive against other teams. The Warriors made more mistakes than usual, and the Clippers deserved to win for forcing the majority of those mistakes.
The Warriors have had their first real bump in the road of the season with back-to-back bad losses. Whether or not Bogut is actually returning "soon," as Kerr put it, the Warriors need to bounce back from these bad losses and put the disappointing holiday trip behind them.
- David Lee still doesn't look completely comfortable, but he had an efficient offensive game and easy buckets will be good for his confidence coming back from a tough injury.
- Abysmal free throw shooting from the Warriors tonight: 12-of-22
- Justin Holiday's arms are super long. He contested one three in the first half when he seemed completely out of the play and he even blocked the Jamal Crawford rainbow three!
- Steve Kerr became the leader in the coaches' clubhouse with his 5th technical foul of the season. He can be a real Scrooge.
- Speaking of technical fouls, Draymond did not get called for one, but he did have some words for Chris Paul. Actually, he had a lot of words for him. Draymond can jaw with the best of them.
- Spencer Hawes' suit...wow.