It seems like every now and then, the Warriors deliver a game for the ages; sometimes all within a single quarter of basketball. This was one of those times.
The game was a seesaw adventure through halftime. The Warriors and Clippers exchanged runs, both taking turns looking like the team destined to win the game. Down 16 at one point, and looking like they were going to be unable to maintain their composure, the Warriors laid the Clippers out with one of their patented third quarter haymakers.
The Warriors are so impressive when they get going like they did tonight. It makes it so easy to look past the pointless turnovers, the lackadaisical effort and/or unwillingness to shut up and play through questionable referee whistles. I mean...just look at how Steph ended the 50-point third quarter:
The combo of Curry and Durant is starting to set into a natural rhythm. Here we see just about the most basic version of a pick and roll that exists. But it works so well because of the specific personnel involved. Both defenders stick with Curry on the high pick, and then Durant just uses one dribble and a change of direction to make Jordan looks about as bothersome as a fart on a motorcycle.
On the one hand, we sure did need that quarter. The Clippers pushed the Warriors to a near-breaking point in the second quarter. Austin Rivers (if you can believe it) was incredible, Blake Griffin was bulling his way around the low block, and the Clippers bench scorers Mo Speights and Jamal Crawford both looked unstoppable.
After watching all the moves other teams around the league made while the Warriors stood pat at the trade deadline, I’m sure I wasn’t the only Warriors fan that felt some trepidation heading into halftime. All the noisy fears were raised to cacophonous levels: we couldn’t keep Griffin away from the rim, our roster unable to respond to the elevated physicality of the Clippers, and Draymond Green appeared to be on a fast track to an early shower after picking up a technical for (surprise, surprise) arguing a call.
Kerr was apoplectic more than once, raging at perceived uneven whistles and frustrated by the Clippers multi-pronged attack. In fact, I think it’s a miracle that no clipboards were lost on this night. Kerr mentioned in his post game interview that he wants the team to “take a different tact” in regards to refs in general, and then seizes the opportunity to perfectly describe the razor’s edge that we all ask Draymond Green to walk:
Maybe it was the team responding to Draymond’s emotional ejection, or maybe this Warriors team is not the soft delicious cupcake that haters would like to make us out to be. Curry and Durant led the team into a third quarter surge that put the game out of reach.
Kevin Durant and Steph Curry in the third quarter: 32 points on 11-of-15 shooting, 8-of-11 from 3.— Anthony Slater (@anthonyVslater) February 24, 2017
The duo of Curry and Durant really fueled the offensive run tonight. Steph had one of his more impressive stat lines on the season, 35 points, 7 assists, 5 assists, 4 steals; and Kevin Durant chipped in with 25 points, 15 rebounds and 7 assists.
Zaza Pachulia and David West both made their impact felt in their returns tonight. Nothing spectacular from either player, but Zaza’s four blocks (in 8 minutes) set a career high, and West’s two blocks were instrumental in turning the tide and futzing up the Clippers waltzes to the rim.
Speaking of rim defense from our bench, this swat that Shaun Livingston laid on Mo Speights was one of my favorite plays:
In case you missed it, Draymond Green came right out of the gate talking crap (less than one minute into the game here):
Here’s what he said to Paul Pierce, "Chasing that farewell tour they don't love you like that. You can't get no farewell tour they don't love you like that."
Some guy I was in a band with once told this girl at a party that he wouldn’t be so mean if it wasn’t so hilarious. That’s Draymond. This was a pretty cold-hearted thing to say to a retiring legend. Then again, also, hilarious!
Whatever it is though, it works for us.
Kevin Durant said the Draymond Green sequence sparked them: "He kept his composure...well, he didn't keep his composure" pic.twitter.com/HQtPYSmnmg— Anthony Slater (@anthonyVslater) February 24, 2017
That’s 10 straight wins over the Clippers.
Next up: Warriors host the Nyets at Oracle Arena on Saturday at 7:30pm.
Postgame Interviews (audio - Warriors Soundcloud)
Postgame interview highlight videos (CSN)
Clipsnation recap (BE NICE or don’t say anything at all)