Featuring 17 lead changes (higher than any game last season), a Warriors third quarter collapse, and the customary double technical calls (this time awarded to Draymond Green and Chris Paul), this was truly a rollercoaster of a game.
When the final buzzer sounded, the Warriors succeeded in passing their first real test of the season. Despite finishing a strong first half with a seven point lead, the Warriors went through a terrible offensive slump in the late third and early fourth, eventually trailing by as much as 10 points with 7:56 left in the game. But once coach Luke Walton put in his small-ball lineup with Draymond Green at the center spot, Harrison Barnes and Stephen Curry knocked in some clutch shots, and the Warriors played terrific defense against the towering length and athleticism of DeAndre Jordan and Blake Griffin.
It's important for Luke Walton and the Warriors to take advantage of the "nailbiter experience" when they can, as we can assume it won't happen too often. We should all be very encouraged to see that Walton trusted the small-ball lineup to pull out the win, and the strategy succeeded against arguably the best two-big tandem in the NBA, DeAndre Jordan and Blake Griffin.
I'd forgotten about Oracle's, "Why aren't why we winning?" rumble grumble— Ethan Strauss (@SherwoodStrauss) November 5, 2015
Steph Curry set the NBA record by making 286 three-pointers last season. He is currently on pace to make 459 this season.— Tim Kawakami (@timkawakami) November 5, 2015
I really love in tight games trying to find a quality shot and the strategy and machinations and the battle and Curry makes it irrelevant.— Hardwood Paroxysm (@HPbasketball) November 5, 2015
Andre on Blake. I love it.— Nate Duncan (@NateDuncanNBA) November 5, 2015
Stephen Curry to ESPN postgame: "We are better than we were last year."— Jimmy Spencer (@JimmySpencerNBA) November 5, 2015
FESTUS https://t.co/h9Am4vgrRq— Six Second Sports™ (@SixSecSports) November 5, 2015
#StephGonnaSteph on CSNBA & ESPN https://t.co/9RzPPqDOJL— Golden St. Warriors (@warriors) November 5, 2015
Harrison Barnes closes out 10 straight points on his own with this slam https://t.co/mK3rxlqI4l— The Cauldron (@TheCauldron) November 5, 2015
Steph Curry's ridiculous range on display again. https://t.co/azmLbbDQBv— Alex Kennedy (@AlexKennedyNBA) November 5, 2015
- The Warriors missed Steve Kerr and Andrew Bogut tonight, the former for his rotations and the latter for his defense. Hope they get well soon!
- Festus Ezeli, as evidenced by the Vine above, repugnantly destroyed Blake Griffin's dunk attempt in the first quarter. He scored 12 points, most off great Draymond Green passes, but hauled in only four boards.
- Klay Thompson needs to improve his shot selection, part of which is driving to the rim more, which will lead to open shooters and free throws. His tunnel vision is a little troubling.
- DeAndre Jordan gave up at least a few Stephen Curry threes by simply not guarding Steph a few feet behind the arc. It'll take defenses a while to realize Steph is comfortable pulling up from five feet behind the line, if he's open.
- The small-ball lineup, usually featuring Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, Harrison Barnes, Andre Iguodala, and Draymond Green, had success in this game against the Clippers starting lineup, which features two of the longest and skilled big men out there in Jordan and Griffin. In crunch time, Barnes and Iggy were able to contain Griffin, while Green had no problems with Jordan (even though he gives up six inches on him!). We'll see what Doc Rivers will do to counteract this lineup next time.