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Playing the Clippers allows the Warriors to look like the Warriors again

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In their best performance of the season, the Warriors defeat their rivals and beat a good team by 28 points on Monday night

NBA: Golden State Warriors at Los Angeles Clippers Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

The Golden State Warriors came into Staples Center to play the Los Angeles Clippers on Monday night with quite a few things stacked against them. They had played quite possibly their worst game of the season the night before, losing to the Detroit Pistons. The Clippers, meanwhile, opened the season 4-1 and looked to be a force in the post-Chris Paul era. With the Warriors reeling and exhausting, this looked to be the night that the Clippers would finally snap their losing streak to the Warriors.

Or so we thought as the Warriors put in their best performance of the season by far by dominating the Clippers on their way to a 141-113 victory. In this game, the Warriors were able to address some of the things that have bedeviled them thus far this season, putting together an impressive performance befitting an elite team in the NBA. It’s only one game and the issues we’ve seen may return, but it was nice to see the Warriors looking like the team we’ve grown accustomed to watching over these three-plus years.

Better ball movement and ball security

What stood out was that the Warriors were much more careful with the basketball. They only had 12 turnovers in the game, their lowest total of the season by far. The Warriors also did a better job passing and moving it within the offense, finishing with a season high 37 assists. Much of the Warriors’ turnover issues resulted from the ball not moving as much as it needed to, allowing the opposing teams to overplay the passing lanes and make steals.

From the start of the game, the Warriors played within themselves. While they played the same aggressive, uptempo kind of basketball they like, they were not being reckless about it. They were able to attack a stingy Clippers defense, one that held all but one of their previous opponents to under 100 points. While the Warriors’ offense has look out-of-joint at times this offseason, against the Clippers it looked focused and locked in, a welcome sight for all of Dub Nation.

NBA: Golden State Warriors at Los Angeles Clippers
Draymond Green, who handed out 6 assists to go with his 9 rebounds and 16 points, was feeling good on Monday night.
Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

Solid contributions from the bench and Draymond

One of the most noticeable thing from the Warriors first seven games was that they did nod get much in the way of scoring beyond Stephen Curry, Kevin Durant, and Klay Thompson. Against the Clippers, the Warriors were able to get a better scoring effort from their bench. JaVale McGee provided 10 points as the first big man off of the bench. Andre Iguodala and Shaun Livingston contributed 5 and 8 points, respectively. Though their final point totals were not that high, they were important points and had a positive impact on the game, reflected in their high plus/minus ratings for the night (+26 for Livingston and +23 for Iguodala).

Two of Iguodala’s points came on this dunk that showed he still has that spring in his step.

In addition to bench scoring, the Warriors got their best offensive performance out of Draymond Green. Green’s shot still wasn’t falling in the first half but he was able to contribute by driving to the basket for layups and getting to the free-throw line.

Green finished with a season-high 16 points, three of those points coming on a much-needed 3-pointer that hopefully will help get his outside shooting back on track.

A better all-around defensive effort

One of the most fun things about a Warriors-Clippers game is seeing Blake Griffin and Green going up against one another. While Griffin has been a great offensive force in the league, he often struggles against the Warriors due in part to Green’s defense. Tuesday night was no different. Griffin was held to 16 points, his lowest-scoring effort of the season thus far, on 4 of 10 shooting. The Warriors also out-rebounded the Clippers, 46 to 35 while also blocking 8 shots and forcing 15 Clipper turnovers that led to 21 Warriors points. No Clippers player scored over 20 points as the Warriors put in their best defensive effort of the season thus far.

NBA: Golden State Warriors at Los Angeles Clippers
The Warriors defense was focused, containing Blake Griffin and limiting him offensively on Monday night.
Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

Steph and KD do their thing

Curry was the hot hand in Monday night’s game, leading all players by scoring 31 points. He also had his best game of the season shooting from 3-point range, going 7 for 11 from distance. One of those 3-pointers came in the final seconds of the third quarter as Curry found himself guarded by Austin Rivers.

Getting that little bit of daylight, Curry was able to knock down the 3-pointer as time ran out in the third, giving him 31 points in just 30 minutes of action, embarrassing Rivers as a result. In addition to scoring, Curry also handed out 6 assists and grabbed 5 rebounds.

Durant had the second highest point total for the Warriors, putting in an efficient 19 points to go with 7 rebounds and 4 assists in 30 minutes of playing time as well. Perhaps most impressive, each player only had a single turnover.

Something sweet

Since today is Halloween, it wouldn’t feel right to not have some kind of treat for you all, so I give you Jordan Bell’s two highlights. The first came midway through the second quarter while the Clippers were still trying to make a game of it.

That was a great play, particularly when one notes that it happened when the outcome of the game was still in doubt. But Bell’s fourth quarter dunk, coming deep in garbage time, was something really special.

Tracking a missed Nick Young 3-pointer, Bell gets the offensive rebound and throws it down for a rim-rattling one-handed dunk. After being inactive for the previous two games against the Pistons and Washington Wizards, Bell made the most of his return to the active lineup by scoring 8 points. It’s always wise to temper one’s expectations. but between Bell and Patrick McCaw (7 points and 3 assists off of the bench), last night’s game reminded us of the potential sitting on the Warriors bench right now.

Poll

Who was the Warrior Wonder for the Warriors’ beatdown of the Clippers?

This poll is closed

  • 1%
    Zaza Pachulia
    (27 votes)
  • 39%
    Draymond Green
    (735 votes)
  • 1%
    Kevin Durant
    (29 votes)
  • 0%
    Klay Thompson
    (13 votes)
  • 45%
    Steph Curry
    (854 votes)
  • 0%
    Shaun Livingston
    (10 votes)
  • 0%
    Andre Iguodala
    (2 votes)
  • 5%
    Jordan Bell
    (103 votes)
  • 0%
    Nick Young
    (5 votes)
  • 1%
    JaVale McGee
    (33 votes)
  • 0%
    Omri Casspi
    (14 votes)
  • 1%
    Patrick McCaw
    (20 votes)
  • 0%
    David West
    (12 votes)
1857 votes total Vote Now