The Warriors kicked off their five-game road trip with a 115-98 victory over the Los Angeles Clippers.
In what was sold as a meeting of the NBA’s best offensive team vs. the best defensive team, neither really held up to their end of the bargain. Golden State, of course, coming off of an offensive clinic of a game against the Indiana Pacers, was unlikely to repeat, but still managed to do enough to get the win. Whereas Los Angeles pretty fell apart early and could never quite get back in it.
Klay Thompson led the team with 24 points, but his efficiency wasn’t great for most of the night and many of his points came late in the game.
However, right behind him was an offensive treat from Draymond Green who had 22 points, going 8-of-10 on field goals, with 3-of-5 from beyond the arc.
Kevin Durant and Stephen Curry shined in their own ways. Durant had 16 points, 8 rebounds and 7 assists. Meanwhile Curry didn’t make a 3-point shot, unfortunately, which is his second game at Staples Center this season where he has broken that streak. However, he had seven steals on the night, and only three turnovers.
In fact, turnovers would likely prove to be one of the differences in the game. Though on the whole, they weren’t high for either team for the night, the Clippers gave up the vast majority of theirs in the first quarter, where the Warriors did the worst of their damage.
In what is usually expected of a Warriors vs. Clippers matchup, the technical fouls started early with Chris Paul getting one less than a minute and a half into the game. The other expected hype of the match-up was also proving true - scoring was limited by good defense on both ends and the Clippers held it close until just under five minutes left in the quarter, where the Warriors, with a string of Curry field goals, would go on a 15-2 run before closing out the quarter up 37-19.
In that quarter, the Warriors had 13 assists on 14 made shots. Meanwhile the Clippers had nine turnovers. Something they corrected in the second quarter as they outscored the Warriors 30-25 with zero turnovers. The Warriors held the lead at the half, up by 13.
The Warriors came back and matched pace with the Clippers in the third quarter, spending a lot of time at the free-throw line and continuing to play unselfish ball. Curry had back-to-back steals, followed by a majestic possession that ended in a 3-point shot by Durant, which could really serve as a metaphor for the 2016-2017 Warriors’ mission statement.
Everyone touched it but Steph. Steph had his s up. https://t.co/YEAafg2lVg— NBA on ESPN (@ESPNNBA) December 8, 2016
Despite letting the Clippers go on a run that put them within seven points of the lead, the Warriors entered the fourth quarter up 91-75 and closed the Clippers out on free throws and jump shots, with Thompson going on a tear to close out the game 115-96.
The Warriors’ record improved to 19-3 and they continue to reign with the best record in the NBA as they look towards the second half of this back-to-back against the Jazz in Utah tomorrow night at 6:00pm PST.