Despite shooting over 60% for the game and holding a lead as large as 18 points, the Clippers managed to cut that down to as little as 2 towards the end by winning the possession battle.
The plus side is that the Warriors looked fresher than they have in quite some time. The defense was active and the offense was patient.
This was game one of the final stretch of the season, and there were some good things to build off as the team makes its way towards the postseason.
Starting lineup shakeup
JaVale McGee got the start in place of Zaza Pachulia in an attempt by Steve Kerr to inject some energy into the team.
It seemed to work and McGee did a commendable job against DeAndre Jordan in the minutes he was given tonight.
Javale up and under for the pic.twitter.com/a7tfM6tznu— Warriors on NBCS (@NBCSWarriors) February 23, 2018
Opening the game with defensive energy
The Warriors came into tonight’s game ranked second-to-last in defensive efficiency in the first quarter — allowing 111 points per 100 possessions.
Although it wasn’t a perfect defensive showing, tonight’s effort was leaps and bounds better than what the team had put forth over the past month.
The Clippers were held to only 23 points on 41% shooting.
Draymond Green was all over the court, but the surprise came with Andre Iguodala as he looked fresher and bouncier than he has since the beginning of the season.
He was vital in containing the Clippers’ most dangerous offensive weapon.
Sweet n’ sour Lou
Lou Williams torched the Warriors for 50 points the last time they faced off.
The Warriors were intent on blanketing him more this time around and their game plan worked effectively in the first half, as he was held to only 5 points on 1-for-6 shots.
Whether it was Green, Iguodala, Nick Young or Klay Thompson, everybody’s on-ball defense on Williams was notable.
What was probably the more impressive part though — and a great indicator of the Warriors beginning to lock in — was how well the defense tracked his off-ball movement in order to deny him the ball.
Williams eventually broke loose in the second half and ended the game with 21 points. But that also included a shot after a blatantly missed travel call as well as an insane fadeaway 3-point shot near the end.
After starting the game 1-for-4, Stephen Curry went supernova, ending the game with 44 points and only missing two shots for the rest of the game.
He shot 8-for-11 from deep including this buzzer beater at the end of the first quarter.
Curry had all the answers down the stretch as the Clippers came to within 2 points towards the end of the game.
Steph is going to Steph. 44 for the 2x MVP pic.twitter.com/PLzeg55knS— Warriors on NBCS (@NBCSWarriors) February 23, 2018
The Durant & Thompson support artillery
Kevin Durant chipped in 21 points and drew some timely shooting fouls in the 4th quarter while Curry was off the court, knocking down critical free throws to help keep the Warriors ahead.
Sheesh KD. Plain unfair pic.twitter.com/zFd7qlWn1D— Warriors on NBCS (@NBCSWarriors) February 23, 2018
Thompson added 19 points and started the game on fire, going 7-for-8 in the first half. He cooled off after halftime, but was still effective on the defensive end and came away with the highest plus/minus for the game.
He also crossed the 10,000 point marker for his career.
Congrats Klay on reaching 10,000 points!!! pic.twitter.com/ShcfsJ5BtG— Warriors on NBCS (@NBCSWarriors) February 23, 2018
The Thunder come into town for their third game against the Dubs this season. The Warriors were blown out in their previous two matches against Oklahoma, but get the chance to serve a nice dish of revenge this Saturday.
Who was your Warrior Wonder for the win against the Clippers?
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