To the Golden State Warriors’ credit, they showed grit in the first half last night. After being down by 14 early in the first quarter, D’Angelo Russell went on a personal 10-point run when no one else could find their touch to close the deficit to six.
A spirited defensive effort forced seven Clippers’ turnovers. The energy was solid and even hopeful.
It’s a damn shame that the Warriors couldn’t keep it though, as the Los Angeles Clippers obliterated Golden State 141-122. Here’s how it happened.
Field Goal Disparity.
The Clippers torched the Warriors’ attempt at defense all night. They shot a blistering 62 percent from the field, while the Warriors couldn’t even buy a bucket on credit. The Dubs shot an anemic 39.4 percent from the field. Most of that as a result of trapping Stephen Curry on the ball and hounding him off of it therefore forcing others to make shots. As expected, they couldn’t. Golden State couldn’t match the firepower of the Clippers’ starters nor could they match their bench-outscoring the Dubs 68-52
Third Quarter Downward Spiral
In recent years, the third quarter belonged to the Warriors. They would either blow the game open in the third stanza or use it to make a comeback. Last night, the Clippers ran away with the game in the third, scoring 46 points and doing it in the same fashion that the Warriors have done-with unconscious three point shooting. With hustling in transition and turning defense into offense. To make matters worse, the Clippers took the Warriors’ will to even try to defend. Remember, the Warriors at least hustled and tried to defend earlier. They forced turnovers to make the game competitive. Glenn Robinson III at least tried to pinch Kawhi Leonard. Robinson hung step by step with the reigning Finals MVP but it didn’t matter. Leonard is just too skilled. Robinson forced Leonard in some tough shots in the paint but what can you do? solid defense. better offense. Charge it to the game.
Steph’s Passivity/shot selection.
A passive Stephen Curry has been an off-on issue for the past three years. This year, he can’t afford to be passive. So why did he last night? Granted the Clippers were going to trap him. Patrick Beverly was going to hound him off the ball, which happened. However, Curry stifled himself by settling for threes when they weren't going down, and running off the ball more than he has to.. He only put the ball on the floor twice. The result? four points. Granted he had 20 attempts but they seem like 10. Sometimes when he’s struggling from deep, he’d force the issue instead of going for some middies. Had Curry been smarter about his shots and more aggressive in driving the paint and finding other ways to score, who knows, the outcome of the game might have been different.
After last night’s loss Warriors Head Coach Kerr said this in his postgame presser:
“It doesn’t feel very good,” Kerr said. “Losing stinks. It’s no fun. This is more the reality of the NBA. For the last five years, we’ve lived in a world that isn’t supposed to exist. Record-wise, the best stretch anybody’s had over five years … We’re starting over in many respects.”
He also said this according to the San Francisco Examiner:
“A night like tonight, it’s going to happen again...This is the reality. There are going to be nights like this this year.”
Quiet as it’s kept, this loss is on Kerr most of all. Why? For one he’s stubborn as all hell. He is forcing motion offense on a team that doesn’t have the right players to run it. He’s better off simplifying the offense for the younger players. The motion offense won’t work with this roster because the only active shooters on the team are Curry and Russell. Both guards will have to work for theirs and opposing defenses will have a field day forcing Green,et al to shoot.
Also Kerr needs to diversify the playbook for Curry and Russell. This offense now is a pick and roll dominant offense whether Kerr likes it or not. So he should run sets for Russell and Curry, especially when Willie Cauley-Stein returns. No more of Curry running pin downs for Omari Spellman of all people. I know Kerr believes that they are capable of running “Strength In Numbers.” However, the reality is that there is no strength. There are no numbers and there is sure as hell no strength in numbers. That’s the reality that Kerr needs to face in order to survive the season.