The Golden State Warriors spent most of the night looking like the second best team. They were soft both inside and outside, and didn’t execute their own game when given the chance. And yet...they almost came out of Staple Center with a win.
Instead, they head back to Oakland with their third loss now in the books.
Credit to the Clippers, they had six players score in a balanced attack that came from all over the place. Montrezl Harrell had the most dominant-feeling 23 point and eight rebound game I’ve ever seen; Lou Williams (25 points) was unstoppable in overtime... hats off to them.
While the Warriors looked off and didn’t shoot especially well, this game was also defined by fouls. Already short-handed, losing Durant to a questionable call at the most critical juncture of the game was an insurmountable mountain - especially when built atop the vast hills of inept play play from numerous Warriors throughout the night.
The Warriors did manage to come back, starting with about 5 minutes left and down 11, the Warriors went on an 19-5 run.
But this game was a sloppy, sloppy mess down the stretch.
If I could give you any advice related to the game, I’d say just watch the last five minutes of the fourth quarter if you know what’s good for you.
KD got the ball with 37 sec, didn’t realize it was 2-for-1 time until Kerr yelled at him. (Steph has 2-for-1 time burned into his biological clock, since it’s the only time he truly feels free.) Then Dray bullied downcourt instead of giving to KD or calling timeout. OT.— Eric Apricot (@EricApricot) November 13, 2018
Though we have everyone else back, the lack of one Stephen Curry is felt deeply. While the Warriors played well enough
The first quarter mostly looked fine - some decent plays on both sides, but nothing worthy of highlights. Kevin Durant picked up a couple of fouls (one warranted, one was a horribly botched call on a pretty nice block from Durant).
But just so we don’t go an entire quarter without some sort of highlight, check out this quick little bucket right here:
Andre Iguodala and Jonas Jerebko both hit threes, and Quinn Cook looked pretty nice as our backup point guard cosplaying as Steph Curry. It’s going to be interesting to see how the bench adjusts to the return of both Iguodala and Livingston - both significant bench players who have missed a fair amount of time in this young season.
Clippers end the quarter on top, 34 - 30
I really love watching how the team steps up when Curry is out. Iguodala and Livingston both came out aggressively looking for their shot. While it didn’t always work out, I wish they’d convey some of this aggression into their normal repertoire. For players who are selfish almost to a fault, the added emphasis on getting buckets is immediate and noticeable.
Warriors trail Clippers by three, 61 - 64.
Kevin Durant was the best player on the court in the first half - he finished with 21, but didn’t get much help from anywhere else. Klay Thompson and Andre Iguodala both had seven points each, but on subpar efficiency.
More than that though, the Warriors were just getting killed everywhere. It was remarkable that the game was this close, honestly.
The Clippers smashed us in points in the paint (30 - 18), and rebounds (23 - 13). If it weren’t for the nine turnovers by Los Angeles, the Warriors would be facing a much steeper climb out of the hole they dug themselves in the first half.
Clippers have 4 players in double figures. Lead at half 64-61 shooting 60.5%! Durant with 21 only Warrior in double figures. Too many points in the paint for Clips.— Jim Barnett (@uograd66) November 13, 2018
Well, if you were expecting a quick turnaround in the second half, the Warriors sure had a nasty surprise for you - three of ‘em actually. The team started off the 3rd quarter with three turnovers in the first three minutes, including a really ugly sequence where Thompson almost threw the ball away, and then the recovered ball was then bounced off Damian Jones’ shin and out of bounds.
Speaking of Dame... this block is so disgusting, you may want to avert any sensitive eyes.
But, the Clippers were giving us a lot of problems.
Yeah, the refs were wildly inconsistent, and there’s some expected “they just hittin’ everything” that can happen in any given basketball game - but the Warriors got a bit rocked in the third.
The Clippers ended the third with five players in double digits, Kevin Durant sitting on the bench with five fouls, and eight turnovers from the Warriors.
There’s an internal pressure that builds when you watch the Warriors trail their opponent for a long time. Sure, nine points is nothing to this offense, but as the time continues to run down, the pressure increases.
I still think the game can be won.
Also, just a quick words on the refs. I know that they have a hard job, but putting Durant in foul trouble and making inconsistent call both ways puts a real damper on a fun game. Oddly enough, I think it was bad enough both ways that it somehow energized all of the players, but watch the very beginning of this clip.
After calling ticky-tack fouls ALL night, Durant is blatantly grabbed on a fast break and no call is made. It’s not that this call is egregiously bad in isolation, but within the context of how the entire game was called, the inconsistency was maddening.
(the grab is just as the video starts to play)
Anyways, the Warriors then proceeded to go on a run that I knew/hoped was coming all along. It was clampdown defense on one end and a bunch of crazy buckets on the other.
Rough end to regulation though. With just about 30 seconds left the Warriors hoisted a quick shot, just to get the two-for-one. They defended well and got the ball back with the game tied. Golden State opted to run the ball up without using a timeout but Draymond Green ended up bobbling away another turnover.
The Warriors came back and tied it, but were heading to overtime now, carrying Durant with five fouls, and a team that has looked a bit out of sorts all night.
Remember that play above that showed Durant getting grabbed with no call? Well keep that in mind; I present to you: the play where KD fouled out:
OT was rough. Klay’s heroics almost saved the day, but it was too much Lou Williams, and too many errors from the Warriors.
I’m sure we’ll have more on Klay’s end of things - he made this much closer than we had any right to be.