The Golden State Warriors put together arguably their most complete performance of the season on Wednesday night, though they ultimately fell to the Los Angeles Clippers 109-101.
How did they do with their pregame keys to victory? Let’s find out.
The key: In a battle of MVP candidates, have Steph Curry look like the best player on the floor.
The outcome: After two straight dominant performances, Curry had something of a dud against the Clippers. He had just 13 points on 5-for-17 shooting, and went just 1-for-6 from beyond the arc. In a true sign that it wasn’t his night, he shot just 2-for-4 from beyond the arc.
Golden State’s offense struggled all night, and Curry was part of the reason and part of the effect. Neither Paul George nor Kawhi Leonard excelled at an MVP level either, but Curry didn’t quite have it.
Grading the key: 2 out of 10.
The key: James Wiseman needs to be aggressive and not let Serge Ibaka’s strong defense keep him on the perimeter.
The outcome: Wiseman was extremely critical of himself after the game, and admitted that he got confused on numerous plays, and frustrated as a result.
Simply put, he didn’t have it on Wednesday, and his confusion resulted in passivity. He did play fairly well on defense, but wasn’t a strong contributor in the paint.
Grading the key: 4 out of 10.
Bring the energy
The key: Warriors need to win the energy battle since the Clippers are on the back end of a back-to-back.
The outcome: The Warriors offense may have been sluggish, but their effort level was not. They were playing hard from the opening whistle.
Unfortunately, the Clippers were too. Despite playing on the back end of a back-to-back, and traveling after the first game, LA had a lot of energy.
Grading the key: 5.5 out of 10.
Small ball 5
The key: Eric Paschall needs to hold his own if he plays small ball 5 against Ivica Zubac.
The outcome: Paschall had a strong game, finishing with a team-high 19 points on 7-for-14 shooting. In the battle of backup centers, the Warriors small ball option was better than the Clippers traditional option.
Grading the key: 8 out of 10.
Not enough for victory, but still a nice showing.