The Golden State Warriors blew a 22-point lead to the Los Angeles Clippers on Saturday afternoon in a 113-112 loss. In what seemed like a positive performance for much of the night, the Warriors were on the verge of returning to .500. Instead, they fell to 9-11 on the season.
With Andrew Wiggins sidelined, Moses Moody remained in the starting lineup. However, head coach Steve Kerr made another adjustment to the rotation, starting Dario Šarić over Kevon Looney at center.
The extra floor spacing seemed to pay dividends in the first half. Golden State’s starters took an early lead and Brandin Podziemski provided a massive spark off the bench. Steph Curry caught fire as halftime approached, scoring 10 points in a span of 52 seconds, to give the Warriors a 67-48 halftime lead.
The Dubs would extend their lead to 22 early in the third quarter, but the Clippers steadily began eating into their deficit. After making more than half of their three-point attempts in the first half, the Warriors shot just 36% from the field in the third quarter.
With Golden State’s offense slowed down, Clippers guard James Harden delivered one of his best stretches of play since he was traded to Los Angeles. Harden led the Clippers to a 37-point quarter, which cut the Warriors lead to single-digits heading into the fourth.
In a rare showcase of offensive explosion, Draymond Green dropped in a pivotal 21 points. The Clippers dared Green to shoot all game long and he made them pay. He finished 4-for-8 from three-point range and was even more efficient inside the arc. He also recorded 9 rebounds and 3 assists.
The Warriors went small in the final minutes, replacing Šarić with Podziemski, who finished with 12 points, 6 rebounds, 3 assists, 2 blocks, and a steal. Podziemski’s aggressive style of play has been a necessary spark for Golden State.
With less than two minutes remaining, the Clippers had trimmed the Warriors lead to 107-106. Podziemski finished a crucial layup out of an out of bounds play to extend the lead to three. Then, a turnover by Kawhi Leonard and a transition take foul by Paul George gave the Dubs a chance to give themselves some breathing room.
Moody knocked down a pair of free throws to extend the Warriors lead to 111-106. Moody has taken advantage of an expanded role in Wiggins’ absence and finished with 21 points, 5 rebounds, 2 assists, and 2 steals.
However, the Warriors were unable to score on the free possession they received from the take-foul call. It proved costly.
Layups by Harden and Kawhi Leonard during the next minute brought the score to 112-110 with 35.5 seconds left on the clock. The Warriors had possession and drew up a play for Curry and Podziemski. Curry missed a stepback jumpshot, giving the Clippers an opportunity.
Paul George took the ball the other way, and knocked down a three over Klay Thompson to take a 113-112 lead with 8.9 seconds left on the clock. It was the Clippers first lead of the game.
Out of a timeout, Podziemski in-bounded the ball to Curry, who was guarded by Kawhi Leonard. Curry drove inside, kicked the ball out to Green in the corner who missed the would-be game winner.
Green had been effective throughout the night, but it’s hard not to think the Warriors wanted someone else to take a shot with the game on the line.
Now the Warriors will head home, and have an opportunity to try and figure things out before they host the Trail Blazers at Chase Center on Wednesday. Opening tip off is scheduled for 7:00 PM Pacific.