Warriors snuff Clippers with NBA-best comeback
The Warriors have proven time and time again that they are never out of a game.
On Thursday night, Golden State pulled off a 23-point comeback to beat the Clippers 124-117 to keep their perfect season intact.
Down 109-99 midway through the fourth, an 11-3 run capped off by a corner three by Andre Igoudala made it at two point game.
Out of a timeout, Klay Thompson knocked down a three to give the Warriors their first lead since early in the first quarter at 113-112.
Jamal Crawford‘s three gave the Clippers the lead right back, but off a broken play on the other end, Stephen Curry made a triple to put the Warriors ahead 116-115 with a minute and a half to play.
From there, the Warriors’ defense clamped down. They forced three consecutive defensive stops and came away with an improbable, gutsy victory to advance to 13-0. They more than made up for a sluggish start by finishing the game on a 22-5 run.
Curry finished with 40 points for a game-high, outscoring Chris Paul, who had 35 for the Clippers.
Curry noted the team’s positive mindset, even when trailing by a large deficit:
“It shows the resiliency of this team. On the road, against a good Clippers team. We never feel like we’re out of it. We play like we’re never out of it. Just keep fighting.”
Curry recorded 23 enormous second-half points, keying the comeback.
Interim head coach Luke Walton joked Curry was “terrible” because he committed seven turnovers. In all seriousness, though, the MVP delivered when his team needed him most, according to Walton:
“He’s incredible. Every time we needed a big bucket, he was making plays. The bigger the moment, the more confident he’s going to make a play.”
Golden State methodically scratched and clawed its way back from the large deficit, keeping within striking distance until exploding in the fourth quarter.
Walton thought the little things added up and led to the comeback.
“We were telling them, ‘Just keep chipping away.’ The Clippers were playing great. They didn’t give in. Our guys went in and they just made plays — the little plays we kept making and it was enough to give us a chance. A lot of times in the road in the NBA, that’s all you’re trying to do. You’re just trying to give yourself a chance to win a game.”
The Warriors trailed by six heading into the fourth, but eight quick points by Harrison Barnes to start the quarter cut the lead to one at 96-95. The Clippers answered with a 9-1 spurt, capped off with a Paul three-pointer to bring the lead back up to nine.
Down big at halftime, the Warriors made a push in the third quarter, with Curry keying a 10-2 run to cut a 16-point lead down to seven at 83-76.
The Clippers responded with six straight points, but a three-pointer by Draymond Green to beat the buzzer trimmed the lead down to 91-85 heading into the fourth.
When asked if there was any doubt the Warriors could get back in the game, Green said:
Not at all. With six minutes to go in the first quarter, I told the guys, ‘We have 42 minutes left in the game.’ That’s a lot of time. We continued to fight. Even when they were hitting everything, it still never felt like they were just controlling the game. And when it’s like that, you’ve got a shot.”
The Clippers started off on a roll, making seven of their first nine shots.
Paul, a gametime decision, did not look as though the right groin strain bothered him, as he was a perfect 7-of-7 in the quarter for 18 points.
He knocked down jumper after jumper and either assisted or scored the Clippers’ first seven baskets.
Paul’s jumper at 4:30 of the first gave the Clippers a 30-16 lead before he went to the bench to a rousing ovation. That was part of a 10-0 run by the Clippers to grab control of the game early.
Thompson tried to keep pace with 15 first quarter points, but with Curry sitting with early foul trouble, the Warriors trailed 41-25 after one.
The Clippers’ bench continued the onslaught to start the second quarter. They reached the 50-point mark less than three minutes into the second on a Jamal Crawford jumper.
The Warriors outscored the Clippers by two points in the second with Curry putting in 14 points. His three with six seconds on the clock cut the lead to 68-54 heading into halftime. Still, the Clippers shot it at a 60.5 percent clip in the first half, with Paul at 23 points.
Undefeated 13 games into the season, the Warriors are not thinking about the unbeaten streak; rather, the focus turns to the Bulls on Friday at home. Said Walton:
“I already told the guys today, ‘It’s a great win, but let’s get in the showers and get out of here.’ We’ve got Chicago tomorrow night. Chicago is a very good team. You play so many games in the NBA. I’m worried about the next game and that’s it.”
But still, going 13-0 is special, as Curry admitted:
“It’s a big deal, Only four other teams in history have done it. We want to enjoy this. Some guys have been in the league for the long, long time. They’ve seen a lot. But 13-0, nobody’s ever done it in this locker room.”
The Warriors need to win three more games to set an NBA record for best start in NBA history at 16-0. They face the Bulls on Friday, followed by a road game against the Nuggets on Sunday and a home game against the Lakers on Tuesday.