The first half of the game between the Golden State Warriors and the Los Angeles Clippers was hot and cold, and having Klay Thompson and Stephen Curry benched didn’t help. It was a closely-contested half, and the Warriors looked very sloppy on defense en route to a four-point halftime lead.
But, on the other hand, there was Kevin Durant. Oh mercy was there ever Kevin Durant.
Durant was unstoppable in the first half, with 25 points on 9-10 shooting, including 3-3 from beyond the arc. And he eclipsed the historical 20,000-point mark for his career, becoming the second-youngest player in NBA history to do so, behind only LeBron James.
Extended standing O for Kevin Durant hitting the 20K mark pic.twitter.com/GfJzfC7uum— Anthony Slater (@anthonyVslater) January 11, 2018
More on Kevin Durant's 20,000 career points: He is the second youngest player in NBA history to reach 20,000 points (behind only LeBron James) & is the first player to score his 20,000th career point as a member of the Warriors.— Warriors PR (@WarriorsPR) January 11, 2018
But if the first half was hot and cold, the second half was just cold. And ugly. Incredibly ugly.
The third quarter was the Lou Williams show. The guard put on a clinic, dazzling with a variety of moves, and dropping in a stunning 27 points in the quarter. The Warriors briefly led by nine in the quarter, but thanks to Williams, the Clippers stormed to a 97-90 lead after three.
From there, the Clippers lead ballooned to 20 before the final score settled at 125-106. Williams finished with a clean 50 points on just 27 shots - an absurdly beautiful performance.
Thompson’s defense was sorely missed, as a Clippers team missing Blake Griffin, Patrick Beverley, Danilo Gallinari, and Austin Rivers still managed to score 125 points. And Curry’s offense was sorely missed, as the Warriors struggled mightily to score in the second half, with just 16 in the final frame.
The only bright spot for the Warriors was Durant, who was beyond brilliant. He finished with 40 points on 14-18 shooting, and 6-7 from three, which is unthinkable. But no one else did anything, so it wasn’t enough.