It’s hard to make too much out of a one-sided rivalry, despite the L.A. Clippers’ best attempts at making it seem like a real rivalry. That's especially true when your team is the one that is looking towards another championship and the other side is literally the Clippers, just hoping to make it into the playoffs again. But after Doc Rivers said that there isn’t a gap in talent between the two teams I guess I don’t feel too bad reminding everyone of this:
Kevin Durant & the Clippers met for 4 hrs Friday night & sources close to the situation say KD was "blown away" by the Clips' presentation— Chris Broussard (@Chris_Broussard) July 2, 2016
No, maybe that was mean. Oh well. If other NBA fans want to constantly remind us of the Finals, we can pull these little gems out every once in a while.
Anyway, if you were looking for the definition of a gap in talent levels, you can find this game in the dictionary. Of course you can’t take it too seriously; it was the Clippers’ first game back and they....well, to be nice, you could say that they have a few things they need to work on.
With both teams’ best talent on the court, the Warriors dominated. There isn’t a better word for it. The score at the half was 71-33, going up as much as 53 points on the Clippers in the third quarter, leading to a final score of 120-75.
That 75 points is pretty impressive, considering the level of play we saw for most of the night from the Clippers. Turnovers, foul trouble, nothing was really working for them. Again, though, it was their first game back. We can enjoy it, sure, but it’s best not to read too much into what this means for their season.
The Warriors’ stars went off early in the game, with Draymond Green, Klay Thompson, Stephen Curry and Kevin Durant each getting early threes to set the tone for the night, and it never slowed down.
The Golden State Warriors are unfair this season pic.twitter.com/M8d6B0X1Z4— gifdsports (@gifdsports) October 5, 2016
Coach Steve Kerr left the starters in deep into the third quarter. Whether that was to allow them to continue to work on their chemistry or to continue the thorough destruction of the Clippers’ dignity, that’s anyone’s guess. But they continued to thrive, with Curry, Thompson and Durant really showing off on offense before being benched around the six minute mark. And it never really got any better for the Clippers.
Thompson caught fire early and was the hero of the night with 30 points on ten field goals and six from downtown, with a pair of back to back threes in the third quarter.
Durant wasn’t far behind, with 21 points, 3-4 on three pointers, and a perfect 6-6 from the line.
This season is going to be fun, sports fans. https://t.co/r4Vrbogwzn— BBALLBREAKDOWN (@bballbreakdown) October 5, 2016
Green was strong, getting nine rebounds and five assists with a couple of beautiful dunks. Curry scored only 14 (only!) but had five assists and three steals. He also had one of the best plays of the night with his signature crossover, making Brandon Bass look foolish.
The overall takeaway from this game is that the starting five are gelling just fine. The offense wasn’t stagnant, they were moving the ball well. They missed a few open shots and they got a little sloppy once the oppressive lead was established, allowing some unnecessary turnovers; and offensive rebounds are still something we’re not seeing very much of.
These are all things they’ll have to work on, but as I am writing this, the third quarter just ended with a score of 102-51 so really, I’m not going to nitpick. Let’s just watch them work:
Watch KD. He sprints across court off a pin down, low post entry, elbow split with Steph. Splash. Perfect. Also, Triangle offense. pic.twitter.com/VpohtvEKFF— BBALLBREAKDOWN (@bballbreakdown) October 5, 2016
The bench kept the game rolling, of course, but the real damage had already been done. The Clippers put up a bit more of a fight late in the game, but it didn’t matter. They were thoroughly beaten and we finally got to see what we’ve been imagining all summer. Curry, Durant, Thompson and Green taking over and crushing the spirits of the opposing team.
Notes & Quotes
- Kevon Looney was inactive due to a groin injury, he will remain day-to-day for the time being.
- Despite joining the Clippers, Marreese Speights received a warm welcome from the Oracle crowd on his first appearance with his new team. They played a tribute video for him and it clearly spurred him on. He led the Clippers with 14 points.
- Patrick McCaw was greeted with hearty applause from the fans, proving worthy of it with 7 points, not missing a shot until late into his 19 minutes on the court.
- Even Anderson Varejao got in on the action:
Varejao out here getting fancy! https://t.co/Gl9WBDEydH— GoldenStateWarriors (@warriors) October 5, 2016
- David West led the bench with 9 points and 5 rebounds in 16 minutes on the court.
- It looks as though Kerr’s plan will be to rest Durant midway through the first quarter to start off the second quarter with the second unit.