By Marcus Thompson
Friday, January 4th, 2013 at 8:42 am in Uncategorized.
The Los Angeles Clippers, headed for a second straight blow-out loss in as many nights, cranked up the physicality. They swiped, pushed, smacked and clobbered, hoping to derail the Warriors.
It didn’t work.
MATT BARNES: “We just got beat from start to finish. The bottom line was they beat us to the punch tonight in every aspect.”
The Warriors (22-10) bucked back, beating the Clippers 115-94, displaying the resilience and confidence that has marked their season.
The Warriors’ much anticipated showdown with the Los Angeles Clippers proved to be the latest statement of Golden State’s legitimacy. The Warriors (22-10) handled one of the best teams in the NBA.
After winning 17 straight, Los Angeles left Oracle Arena with its second straight loss and just a 2.5 game lead over the Warriors in the Pacific Division standings.
The Warriors are now 7-1 when they hold opponents below 40 percent and 20-2 when they in the battle of the boards.
More on Wednesday’s victory …
MVP: David Curry
The Warriors’ two stars (who appeared together on SportsCenter last night) played like it when the Warriors needed them to. Curry had 25 of his 31 points in the first half, setting the table for the rest of the game. And once the Clippers’ defensive attention locked on him, Lee began to abuse the one-on-one coverage, putting up 24 points and 13 rebounds.
More than his scoring, though, Lee’s passing was vital. He was an excellent conduit for the Warriors offense, more than his seven assists even suggests.
JACKSON: “Maybe I’ll hold my own game if these two guys aren’t in there. Maybe that’s the answer. These two guys are All-Stars. Steph Curry played Chris Paul, and it looked like two of the best in the business going at it.”
MDP: Jarrett Jack
He came up with a couple of big shots, but that yanked his performance from the terrible category. He seemed too pumped at the outset and it showed in his play, surprising from such a seasoned vet. He was 4 of 12 shooting, 0 of 4 from 3 (which is too many shots for him if he’s not clicking) and his 5 assists were all but negated by his 4 turnovers. A rare stinker from Jack, though even on an off night like this he still helped the Warriors.
KEY MOMENT I: The Warriors trailed 7-6 after a layup by Clippers guard Willie Green with 9:50 left. Then Golden State went nuts.
The Warriors forced the Clippers to miss their next 11 shots over the next six minutes, leading to a 20-1 run.
Harrison Barnes started it with a 3-pointer. Then after a scurry that included two steals by Lee, Curry nailed a 20-footer. A couple minutes later, Thompson and Curry nailed back-to-back 3-pointers, putting the Warriors up 21-8.
Thompson capped the run with another 3-pointer, this one in transition, to give the Warriors a 26-8 lead with just over four minutes left in the first quarter.
JAMAL CRAWFORD: “It’s tough once you get down 15, 20 points. We started to get away from what we’ve been doing 20 games or so.”
YEAH, WHAT HE SAID: “I said it against Utah when (Paul) Millsap said we weren’t a physical team. The streets are lying. That was our old identity. We will embrace force and meet force with force. It does not mean we’re going to have great nights every night, but we’re not running for the hills.” — Mark Jackson
KEY MOMENT II: The Clippers had cut the Warriors’ big early lead and made it a game again. It was down to 35-31 early in the second quarter. Golden State’s lead was 48-43 after a Crawford layup with 4:32 left in the half. But the Warriors re-took control of the game with an end-of-half surge. And it was mostly Curry.
His 3-pointer put Golden Stateup 53-43. With Chris Paul playing especially pesky defense, Curry drove and dropped in a floater. After a stop, Curry took an inbounds pass and, with Paul riding his hip, he dribbled from just beyond halfcourt, to the opposite side of the lane, and lofted another runner while being shoved by Paul. It banked in, leading to Curry getting off about six punches to an invisible punching bag, and sending Oracle into a frenzy. His free throw put the Warriors up 13. They took a 62-49 lead into the locker room.
TELLING STAT: The Clippers shot 36.3 percent from the field, including 8 of 29 from three. YES, they took 29 3-pointers. Lob City, featuring an athletic frontline and a point guard who can usually get in the lane at will, had just 32 points in the paint on 37 attempts. The Warriors are a better rebounding team, but they dominated the boards (53-38) and kept the Clippers from hurting them on the offensive glass (11 offensive boards, 11 second-chance points).
VINNY DEL NEGRO: “We got outworked on the glass, no question. They killed us on the glass. We struggled to score. … We really struggled to score the basketball. They outworked us on the glass alone. But we didn’t shoot the ball well enough to put any pressure on them.”
SERIOUSLY?: The flopping by the Clippers was out of control. You got Jamal Crawford trying to get four-point plays, Chris Paul trying to draw a foul on every drive, and Blake being Blake.
Even when he wasn’t flopping, it was laying it on super thick. Festus Ezeli did grab his arm, and with Blake’s explosiveness that probably produces a nice yank. But Blake’s Cirque de Sole twirl just seemed over the top. It worked, though, landing a flagrant for Ezeli. Jackson didn’t agree.
JACKSON: “He’s a great actor. I’ve seen the Kia commercials.”
KEY MOMENT III: The Warriors made another end-of-quarter surge to really pull away from the Clippers.
They were ahead 72-62 with just over three minutes left in the third. To that point, the teams had combined for 23 points. But Golden State put together a 10-2 run, forcing its will on the weary Clippers.
Curry found Jack for a fast-break layup. Then after a stop, Landry converted a hook in the lane to push the lead back to 16. After a runner by Paul, Lee got Oracle to its feet by cutting for a two-hand dunk.
Clippers forward Lamar Odom then clobbered Jack coming off a screen, knocking Jack into the scorer’s table. Moments later, Lee drove to the basket and was hit hard in mid-air.
As he slid on his backside, Lee stared at Griffin and clapped emphatically. His two free throws sent the Warriors into the fourth quarter ahead 82-64.
JACKSON: “Let’s be fair, they played (Tuesday) night. We are a good basketball team and we were ready. When a good basketball team is sitting home and waiting for another team who worked the night before … you impose your will. We did a good job of fighting and getting a win.”
BEFORE YOU GO: Another productive night from Biedrins. He played 16:29 and finished with five rebounds, three blocks and an assist. He was active, physical and engaged. He’s playing so well,Jackson played him twice as much as he did starter Festus Ezeli. And Biedrins’ emergence is cutting into minutes from Draymond Green, who played just over seven minutes.Jackson used Green a lot in his small lineups.