Warriors drop 50 in third quarter, feast on Clippers

For a matchup that has been boringly dominated by the Warriors, Thursday night’s 123-113 Warriors win brought back memories of the once-intense rivalry — if only for one quarter.

The Warriors entered the game with a drag, as if their bellies were too full of gumbo and etouffee from their All-Star trip to New Orleans.

Whereas the Clippers came into this game starving for a victory, as it’s been a long drought for the once-considered rivals.

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

The last time the Clippers won at Oracle was Christmas Day 2011 — Klay Thompson’s rookie season.

Since then, the Warriors have owned this matchup, especially this year as their average margin of victory over the Clips was an embarrassing 25.3 points per game.

It was the complete opposite in the first half however, as the Clippers raced out to a 16-point lead in the second quarter.

Steve Kerr said it was just an overall awful first half:

“We didn’t have much fire at all in the first half. We weren’t very competitive and we weren’t very smart, I think we had 12 turnovers. So we talked at halftime about coming out and playing with a little more urgency.”

Then the eruption.

Draymond Green, who had been in foul trouble the whole first half with three fouls in just eight minutes, was whistled for his fourth with eight minutes to go in the third. With that personal foul came an unleash of emotion only Green could exude, which of course resulted in a technical.

Green was still bothered by that tech, even after the game:

“I wasn’t arguing though, I said how. How many arguments you got into in your life when you just say how? If you just say how, that means you’re just getting argued at, you’re not arguing.”

But that technical shook the Warriors out of their lackadaisical hibernation. Then came a tech on the Warriors bench, then another one on Andre Iguodala. Every technical just glanced off the Warriors like they were Hulk Hogan in the midst of Hulking up.

Kevin Durant said that when Green gets fired up emotionally, everyone else does too:

“Especially with our crowd, they see it and we feed off it. Draymond brought the intensity no matter what. He just kept his composure—well he didn’t really keep his composure, but he stayed in the game and his energy was contagious.”

They outscored the Clippers 38-21 for the rest of the quarter, part of an absurd 50-point third, the first time they’ve reached that mark as a franchise since 1989.

Down 12 at the half, up 12 after three, that’s what happens when you slap awake the Warriors.

When asked whether he’d ever been in a 50-point quarter before Durant said he had — in Sunday’s All-Star game. What makes that statement even crazier? That game that had a total of 374 points scored, only had one 50-point quarter, 53 points in the first by the East.

So technically not even in the All-Star game, with no defense whatsoever that ended 192-182, did Durant experience what he did Thursday against the Clippers.

Stephen Curry had 20 points on five 3-pointers during the third frame including an absolute dagger to end it.

Curry finished with 35 points on 10-of-16 shooting and looks to be over his mini slump he was suffering through before the break.

Kerr said that the break came at a great time for his stars:

“They needed to get their legs back underneath them a little bit and the time off I think helped. That’s kind of what happens after the All-Star break, guys get their bounce back and feel pretty good about everything.”

Durant left the game late in the first with what the Warriors called a left pinky contusion, but X-rays were negative. He poured in 25 points, 15 rebounds and seven assists so it looked like his pinky was fine, especially on this hammer:

For the Clippers, Austin Rivers had himself a night as he had 19 points on 7-of-16 shooting, including two stepbacks over Durant and a couple clean strips of the reigning MVP.

But it was all erased with that incredible third quarter run, and the Warriors were able to turn the game into another ho-hum blowout. Their supremacy over the Clippers remains, with another regular-season sweep.

Up Next

The Warriors get a day of rest before taking on the last place Brooklyn Nets Saturday. Golden State will get their first peak at the new-look Nets who made a few deadline deals. Gone is starting shooting guard Bojan Bogdanovic but back is Jeremy Lin who missed all but 12 games this season.

Notes

With the win the Warriors now have bested the Clippers in 10 straight regular-season contests, and also improve their home winning streak against them to 11 straight. … Chris Paul missed his 14th-sraight game with a torn ligament in his left thumb. He’s been medically cleared to return but will be held out for at least one more game. …Klay Thompson broke his streak of eight straight games with 20 or more points as he finished just short with 18 Thursday. … Zaza Pachulia made his return to the starting lineup with extra oomph as he blocked three shots in the first five minutes of the game, which matched his career high for blocked shots in a game. Pachulia missed the last seven games before the break with a shoulder injury.


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.