Curry ignites Warriors in thrashing of Clippers

Saturday marked the first day of the year of the rooster, but from the looks of it, it might be the year of Stephen Curry once again.

Curry invoked memories of last season in a 144-98 walloping of the Clippers, not only with a blistering shooting display that has been hit or miss throughout the season, but also with a half court dagger he hit at the buzzer.

This story has been updated with quotes and post-game material from the Warriors’ locker room at Oracle Arena.

Curry said he looks forward to getting chances to heave up a last second shot from long range:

“I love throwing up those however far shots at the buzzer just to give it a chance to see if it will go in, and thankfully tonight it did.”

Draymond Green said that Curry isn’t the only one who wants to see his last-second heaves:

“You know at any moment it’s going in. There’s probably a 50/50 chance it’s going in and I think that’s pretty high. After you see something so many times, it’s like alright, it’s a great chance it’s going to go. I was directly behind him and once he let the ball go I knew it was going in.”

Curry ended the game with 43 points in just 29 minutes on 9-of-15 from 3-point land, which marked just the 10th times all season he has shot over 50 percent from behind the arc. And almost all of them came on pull ups, the one thing that’s been lacking all season.

More than half of his points came in the third quarter, in what has become another Curry tradition, scoring 25 points on 8-of-11 shooting with five triples in the third frame alone.

Steve Kerr had just one explanation for his star’s explosive third quarter:

“People write this, but Steph gonna Steph. What does that mean? I don’t know. I’ve read it, but whatever that means, I think that’s what happened.”

And Curry almost missed the game today as he was questionable with a quad injury and wasn’t actually given the go ahead until just after warmups.

The Clippers were without Chris Paul who is sidelined with a torn ligament in his thumb and without him they are left without their best offensive weapon, but more importantly their only defensive stopper. And it showed, as the Warriors easily ran up the score on the helpless Clippers, hanging 117 points on them through three-quarters, the most in the NBA this season.

Just for reference, the Clippers came into the game giving up 103 points per game.

Blake Griffin was the only Clipper to have any sort of offensive impact, scoring 20 points, which didn’t even make a dent in the 40-point deficit and brought back memories of the absolute destruction of the Clippers in the preseason when the Warriors won by 45, except even worse.

The absence of Paul certainly muted what was once an intense rivalry, but it could have also been the way the Warriors have absolutely owned the Clippers recently.

With their win tonight, the Warriors extend their regular season winning streak over the Clippers to eight games. Their last regular season loss was all the way back on Christmas Day 2014.

Kevin Durant had another quiet game of 23 points, missing just two shots all night. Games like this have become so regular from him that it’s easy to take for granted that he’s putting up career highs in field goal percentage, rebounds and blocks per game.

But this game had Curry’s name on it from beginning to end, and keep in mind that the Warriors have piled up an 40-7 record with arguably their most important player being openly questioned for not having a great year.

Kerr said it all comes from Curry finally being comfortable on the court with Durant:

“I think early in the season, Steph was really going out of his way to try to find KD, make him feel comfortable, get him shots. And I think he was almost worried that if he shot too much it would take away from Kevin. I think what Steph has realized is that he can just go be himself and let it fly. He doesn’t have to worry about Kevin or Klay or anyone else. We feed off of his shooting.”

If this Curry is the one we will see for the rest of the year of the rooster, there’s no measuring the Warriors ceiling. Regardless, it’s bad news for the rest of the league. New year, old Steph.

Up Next

The Warriors enter a weird stretch in their schedule as they will play a two straight home-road back-to-backs. They travel to Portland to take on the Trail Blazers tomorrow night. The Blazers have won their last three and sit just outside of the Western Conference playoff picture.

Notes

The Warriors are now 4-0 all-time at home in their Chinese New Year jerseys. … Andre Iguodala celebrated his 33rd birthday Saturday and also celebrated his 250th regular season game as a member of the Warriors. … Marreese Speights returned to Oracle after signing with the Clippers in free agency. Speights is averaging 10.2 points this season with a career high 1.4 3-pointers per game after having spent the last three years with the Warriors.


Curtis Uemura is SFBay’s Golden State Warriors beat writer. Follow @SFBay and @CUemura on Twitter and at SFBay.ca for full coverage of Warriors basketball.