It’s been an ugly few weeks for the Golden State Warriors but after resting several veterans in Monday night’s loss to the Nuggets, the Dubs routed a depleted Los Angeles Clippers team in a 112-97 victory. Steph Curry, Klay Thompson, and Andrew Wiggins were all back in the starting lineup after sitting the first half of their back-to-back. However, players up-and-down the rotation made the difference in the blowout win.
While the Clippers are missing both Kawhi Leonard and Paul George with injuries, Los Angeles has found a way to remain competitive in the Western Conference despite missing their stars. Still, there’s no denying that Clippers head coach Tyronn Lue has limited offensive firepower to deploy. Given the Warriors' defensive struggles over the past couple of weeks, the Clippers might have been just the matchup they needed.
But the Warriors had easily their best defensive performance in some time. The Clippers missed some opportunities, but Golden State’s defensive energy and intensity were clearly at a higher level than they have been in recent games. Early on, however, it was the Warriors offense that lagged behind.
The Clippers were aggressively trapping Curry early, forcing the Warriors secondary scorers, like Wiggins and Thompson, to beat them. Both wings were aggressive all game long but were particularly ineffective early. Still, the Clippers were not fairing any better offensively. The score was tied at 21 at the end of the first quarter.
Then, the young Dubs started to strike. Despite playing 30+ minutes the night before, Jordan Poole, Moses Moody, and Jonathan Kuminga each brought plenty of energy for the Warriors. Moody and Kuminga each stood out defensively and stayed within the flow of the offense. They combined for 31 points, 14 rebounds, and 9 assists on 11-for-18 shooting from the field. Poole was once again a consistent highlight reel. Coming off the bench, Poole scored 20 points on 8-for-13 shooting from the field and was tied with Wiggins for a game-high +14 plus/minus.
While the Clippers' offense spiraled in the second quarter, scoring just 15 points, the Warriors' offense exploded and helped them build a 54-36 halftime lead. Their offense continued rolling in the third quarter, extending their lead north of 20 points.
The Clippers found some offensive success in the fourth quarter, bringing the Warriors lead down to a dozen, but Kuminga scored a few buckets in the final minutes to keep Los Angeles from pulling within single digits.
Curry only needed 15 points, 5 rebounds, and 5 assists on the night. Thompson scored 20 points, but once again struggled with efficiency (9-for-23 from the field). Wiggins had his first double-double of the season, finishing with 14 points, 11 rebounds, 3 blocks, and 5 turnovers.
The Warriors will now enjoy one day off before they return to Denver to face the Nuggets again on Thursday at 7:00 PM PST. Despite the Warriors' recent skid, they are still less than a game back of the Memphis Grizzlies for the second seed in the Western Conference.
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