After the quick two-game road trip to Texas, netting them wins against the Mavericks and Rockets, the Warriors returned to the state of California to play the “rival” Los Angeles Clippers at Staples Center on Saturday afternoon. The Warriors were still without Kevin Durant, who continues to nurse his injured calf muscle. The Warriors had to deal with another obstacle— a 12:30pm pacific time start. Early starts, especially those in Los Angeles, have often spelled doom for the Warriors.
But even though they did not shoot well for much of the first half and struggled with some sloppy play, the Warriors blew out the Clippers, leading by as much as 30 before defeating the Clippers 121-105.
Once again, Curry torches the Clippers
The day belongs to Stephen Curry, who put on a show for the matinee crowd at the Staples Center. While the other Warriors struggled on offense, Curry was locked in from the start.
We even had an early appearance of the Curry shimmy, coming after another of his three-pointers in the first period.
Shimmy after the 3 so I know it's real... pic.twitter.com/m2oRXjGSSM— Warriors on NBCS (@NBCSWarriors) January 6, 2018
Curry led the Warriors with 17 points in the first quarter, scoring 12 more in the second to give him 29 points at halftime, with nine of those 12 second-quarter points coming as part of a 14-5 Warriors run after the Clippers had tied the game.
Curry scored 16 points in a dominant third quarter for the Warriors that effectively ended the competitive portion of the game. It continued the team’s dominance of third quarters and gave Curry a season-high 45 points. The third quarter featured one of those quintessential Curry three-pointers that only he can take (and only he can make).
In what was probably his best performance of the season thus far, Curry also grabbed six rebounds and handed out three assists, while also making three steals. Curry scored all those points in just 30 minutes of action, sitting out for the entire fourth quarter, thus preventing him from adding to his point total.
Saturday afternoon also continued Curry’s sublime play after missing those 11 games with an ankle injury. At the near-midway point of the season, Curry looks to be getting into Vintage Curry form, which should scare the hell out of the rest of the league.
Green nearly gets a triple-double while West and McGee play well off of the bench
Though the Warriors (outside of Curry) didn’t play their best or crispest game, the team was able to get enough contributions from other players to get the victory. Draymond Green came close to getting another triple-double, finishing with 9 points, 12 rebounds, and 7 assists. Unfortunately, a technical foul also showed up on Green’s stat line, giving him his eleventh of the season.
Technical #11 for Draymond Green arguing that non-call on a dunk attempt. He's now 5 away from a one-game suspension.— Anthony Slater (@anthonyVslater) January 6, 2018
Going up against a team with the size that the Clippers have, the Warriors needed good performances from their big men. They got another great game from David West, who scored 10 points while playing just seven minutes. Going 4 for 5 from the field, West gave the Warriors an offensive boost in the second quarter while their non-Curry players struggled with their shooting.
Another player who played well against the Clippers was JaVale McGee. Getting lost in the Warriors big-man shuffle, McGee played 13 minutes against the Clippers, his most since early December, scoring 11 points while helping the Warriors deal with the Clippers’ front court. After such a fun and special 2016-17 season, it’s been a bit sad to see McGee’s minutes shrink and to not see him out there throwing down alley-oop dunks. It was a pleasant surprise to see him get into Saturday afternoon’s game and have a positive effect.
An already-thin Clippers team loses Griffin to a concussion
There was a scary moment early in the game as Clippers forward Blake Griffin went down and stayed laying down on the court for quite a few minutes.
Blake Griffin taken to the locker room after inadvertently colliding with JaVale McGee's elbow. pic.twitter.com/EKj8lucXSP— Warriors on NBCS (@NBCSWarriors) January 6, 2018
Griffin was diagnosed with a concussion after the inadvertent elbow from McGee and was ruled out for the rest of the game.
This made things very difficult for the Clippers as they were already pretty short-handed.
Without Griffin, the Clippers were able to get some offense out of Lou Williams. Coming off of the bench, Williams led the Clippers in scoring with 23 points. DeAndre Jordan also had 15 points and 11 rebounds in his 24 minutes of action. But outside of the two of them, the Clippers didn’t have much else going on and so keeping up with the Warriors was going to be a tall task.
Iguodala continues to struggle with his shooting
The one thing that stood out in a negative light, and something that we as Warriors fans have been particularly attentive to, is the offensive struggles of Andre Iguodala. Once again finding himself in the starting lineup due to Durant’s injury, Iguodala went 0 for 2 from the field and again looked hesitant to shoot.
While the Warriors certainly don’t need Iguodala as a leading scorer, they still need him to be something of an offensive threat and not apprehensive about shooting when he is open. Though Iguodala is valuable as a distributor (he totaled seven assists against the Clippers) occasionally he overpasses, which yields turnovers (he had three on Saturday) and poor shots for other players.
That said, Iguodala still made some nice plays in this game, including this block of a Sam Dekker shot attempt that ended with a nice pass to set up a Zaza Pachulia layup.
Nice sequence here from Andre Iguodala. Blocks Sam Dekker on one end then finishes the break with a behind the back pass to Zaza. pic.twitter.com/v5Uhs8xsyx— Logan Murdock (@loganmmurdock) January 6, 2018
Again, I don’t think it’s something to be overly concerned with, but I do think it’s something that is a new wrinkle and definitely not a good thing. It will be interesting to see if he can get back on track as a scorer.
A final thought
As the Warriors pushed their lead into the neighborhood of 30 points, The Athletic’s Marcus Thompson tweeted this out:
The Warriors should not STILL be getting this much joy beating the Clippers— Marcus Thompson (@ThompsonScribe) January 6, 2018
Even though Chris Paul, who in many ways provided the genesis for this “rivalry” (can we really call it that anymore?), has moved on, the Warriors still seem to relish the opportunity to eviscerate the Clippers. Why is that, you ask? I submit the following:
As long as Doc Rivers is a part of this, the Warriors are never going to stop trying to take it to the Clippers.
In other words, you can probably continue to expect games that end with you thinking this:
Who was the Warrior Wonder for the Warriors’ win over the Clippers?
This poll is closed