Warriors blast Clippers in gritty home win
A feed to Draymond Green, well on his way to the net, and a dunk worthy of Tim Kitzrow’s “Boomshakalaka,” made famous by NBA Jam. That play made it clear: Golden State had this in the bag.
The Warriors beat the rival Los Angeles Clippers 114-98 Wednesday night, and while the box score noted eight lead changes, the outcome was hardly in question after the first 20 minutes.
Head coach Steve Kerr said:
“The first half was kind of weird. There was kind of a dead atmosphere in there. There didn’t seem to be the usual energy in there from the rivalry. These teams have gone at it the last few years and I didn’t see the same fire.”
Kerr’s thoughts were echoed by Green, Andrew Bogut and Klay Thompson, who poured in 32 points with three assists.
A tale of two halves is what the night became. Between a surging Harrison Barnes and a defense that is beginning to fire on all cylinders, Golden State grabbed the bull by the horns.
Everything that came after Curry’s steal and Green’s dunk further solidified that the Warriors aren’t as worn down and the national media seem to believe.
The win is the sixth straight against the Clippers, and seals a season sweep of a team that was a formidable rival and beat Golden State in the seventh game of the 2014 NBA playoffs’ first round.
“I think you play a team so much, you kind of figure them out. And they got us figured out as well. They know us like we know them. I’m not sure how we’ve been able to win six in a row, that’s a very good ball club.”
Green credits the win to taking care of the ball and defending well, both making the difference in a showing the forward considered sub-par.
As the Warriors stood relaxed on the sidelines during a timeout with just over six minutes left and a 12-point lead, the feeling was unshakable.
The top was about to come off. Golden State was going to make this a 20 point lead in less than two minutes.
That didn’t happen, but didn’t need to. The game was won. Doc Rivers‘ squad was proven to be so inferior that regardless of the breaks caught by Jordan and Paul, there was no way out.
The only thing Wednesday night’s win over Los Angeles was missing was a three from either Marreese Speights or Andrew Bogut. Golden State was otherwise as dominant as they could be, even if they didn’t post a 50-burger against their interstate rival.
Curry finished the night with 33 points, five assists and four rebounds. Green notched his 28th double-double of the year with 12 points and 12 boards.
Jordan led Los Angeles with 19 points while adding 20 rebounds and two blocks.
Bogut’s return from a two game absence due to an injured left foot was a nice one. His final line includes 10 boards, four assists and four points, but his defensive presence — something stats can’t portray well enough — was like the seven-footer never missed a beat.
Bogut took a foot to his left shin, and expects to play the rest of the season while he manages the pain of a banged up foot.
In an off-court issue, Green posted a video to his Snapchat account showing a vehicle traveling at 118 miles per hour, taken from the driver’s point of view. The snap was deleted soon thereafter.
Green seemed to confirm that he was the driver, though did not say so directly. What Green did say was:
“Obviously poor judgement. But I think think it’s not a story, of what it’s trying to be made out to be. I’m not here to take any attention away from this team. But like I said, poor judgement.”
The NBA has not suspended a player for any kind of social media post, though Cavaliers guard J.R. Smith was fined in 2012 for tweeting a photo of a scantily clad woman.
Golden State hosts Dallas Friday night, followed by two home games against the 76ers and Wizards. Wins in the three games would give the Warriors 67 wins, just six shy of the the would-be record of 73 wins in a seasons.
Jason Leskiw is SFBay’s Golden State Warriors beat writer. Follow @SFBay and @LeskiwSFBay on Twitter and at SFBay.ca for full coverage of the Warriors.