The Warriors and their fans made their presence well known Tuesday night in Los Angeles, as the Dubs used a strong second half from both Klay Thompson and Steph Curry to take the season series from the Clippers 3-1. While Warrior fans have been coming out of the woodworks on the road this season to support the NBA's best team, it was no surprise that the best fans in the league would show out for a late season contest at the Staples Center. When asked about the crowd, Doc Rivers smiled and admitted to a significant split, saying "I love our crowd, I didn't like their crowd."
Really Doc..? What is there not to like? Blake Griffin even went as far as saying that the Dub Nation representation at Staples was stronger than when the Clippers host the Lakers at "home" in LA. Which, if you really think about, is quite a bold statement, as 80 percent of Clipper fans are merely just confused Laker fans. M-V-P chants filled the arena late in the 4th quarter as Steph Curry knocked down some clutch free throws.
As Steve Kerr said in a second quarter interview on TNT, "this game means more to them than it does to us." Which makes this win that much more impressive. The Clippers needed a win to keep pace for home court advantage in the Western Conference playoffs. With Draymond Green sitting out his second straight game to rest his shins, Blake Griffin attacked the rim early and often, eclipsing the 40 point mark for the second time this season. Griffin also finished with a season high 16 made field goals, which came in the form of open jumpers and driving layups from all over the court. Green's defensive intensity was missed Tuesday night as Griffin had his way with the Warriors all night long.
After a slow start, Klay Thompson exploded for 20 points in the second half. Thompson's maturity as an NBA player was on full display against the Clippers. Even though Klay started one for eight offensively, he maintained his poise on the defensive end and let his offense come gradually. What makes Klay truly special in this league, is his ability to still be impactful on the court when his shot is not falling, and that is credit to his constant full tilt effort on defense.
David Lee got his second start of the season, and got off to a luke warm start as the Warriors took about a quarter and a half to find their legs. Lee was aggressive early and finished the game with 17 points and 7 rebounds. Exactly how DLee will impact this team in the playoffs is still yet to be seen. The scary thing about this Warriors squad and their depth, is that they don't have to rely on the same players on a nightly basis. It would not surprise me if David Lee receives the always dreaded "DNP - Coaches Decision" a couple of times this post season, if say Mo Speights has a hot shooting night.
But that is the beauty of this team, they are deep, and they have All-Stars coming deep off of the bench who are hungry and want to prove their worth to not only the team, but to the rest of the league. Hopefully DLee can use the last games of this season to really find his rhythm going into the post season.
But It was all fun and games Tuesday night until Chef Curry cooked Cliff Paul late in the second quarter. Curry turned Staples into a mini Oracle Arena as he left the crowd buzzing after he hit a quick behind the back dribble along the baseline that buckled Paul's knees in the process. Curry quickly dropped in a baseline jumper as Paul scrambled to pick up his jock strap.
Check out Curry's move on Paul here:
Mo Speights also served up a facial over Big Baby Glen Davis which I felt was one of Mo's more impressive buckets this season.
You can check out Mo's dunk here:
The Warriors look to continue to close out the regular season on a high note. The Warriors have now won 10 straight games, including a franchise high 27 road wins and 61 wins overall. TNT flashed a quick graphic early in the 4th quarter that I found to be very telling of this Warriors team. After tonight, the Dubs are 52-7 in games that Andrew Bogut plays, and 9-6 in games that he does not. Let that marinate for a minute.. 52-7. Heading into the playoffs with both centers healthy will pay large dividends for the Warriors down the road.
Dubs host the Suns on Thursday night at Oracle Arena.