Notebook: Warriors 115, Clippers 94

Posted Jan 3, 2013 2:03 AM

By Geoff Lepper, for

THE FACTS: Stephen Curry scored 31 points and added eight assists and six rebounds as the Golden State Warriors beat the Los Angeles Clippers 115-94 Wednesday night to climb within 2 1/2 games of the Pacific Division leaders.

David Lee added 24 points, 13 rebounds and seven assists -- his league-leading 14th game with at least 20 points and 10 boards -- and Klay Thompson tied his career high with five 3-pointers as part of a 19-point night.

Jamal Crawford led the Clippers with 24 points, but Los Angeles -- playing for a second night after losing in Denver on Tuesday -- often looked lethargic in suffering a second straight defeat after winning 17 straight games. They were held to 36.2 percent shooting from the field, a season worst -- even less than their 38.5 percent against the Nuggets.

QUOTABLE: "[Curry] has been great. The guy's an All-Star. Maybe I'll hold my own game if these two guys [Curry and Lee] aren't in there. Maybe that's the answer, but 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. It was great, because what happens is, the rest of the guys realize, we've got a guy at the head of the snake that's not backing down, and it breeds confidence and breeds life."
-- Warriors coach Mark Jackson

THE STAT: In a battle of defenses ranked No. 3 (Clippers) and No. 4 (Warriors) in terms of opponent field-goal percentage, Golden State won big, but even though Los Angeles was finishing a back-to-back, it was hardly a fluke. This is the fifth time in the Warriors' last six games that they've held a club to 40.2 percent shooting or worse -- and Golden State has won all five of those contests.

TURNING POINT: The Warriors' lead never dropped below 10 points in the second half, but maybe the most emblematic moment came at the 9:30 mark of the fourth quarter, when Paul was in the midst of stripping the ball from Jarrett Jack -- only to have play stopped because Crawford, still angry about a non-call on the Clippers' previous possession, was drawing a technical foul behind the action.

HOT: Curry blistered the Clippers in the first half, going 9-for-11 from the floor -- including a 4-for-6 mark behind the arc -- to rack up 25 points and help the Warriors blow out to a 62-49 lead by intermission. That's the biggest single-half output for a Warrior this season. In his last seven games, Curry is shooting 54.4 percent on 3-pointers.

QUOTABLE II: "He's in a zone right now. You're shocked when he misses it. That first half was a thing of beauty."
-- Mark Jackson on Curry

GOOD MOVE: Mark Jackson is loath to call timeouts in the face of an opponent's run, subscribing to the Phil Jackson school of letting his players figure out how to stop the bleeding themselves. But the Warriors coach did so early in the third quarter when the Clippers went on a 7-2 run -- capped by a turnover that led to an uncontested dunk for Paul -- and it helped Golden State steady the ship. Los Angeles eventually shaved another four points off the lead to get to within 72-62, but Golden State never let it slip to a single-digit lead and weathered the storm.

BAD MOVE: Paul played unselfishly, but possibly to a fault, often eschewing open 3-point shots to set up teammates instead -- teammates who more often than not clanked their own shots. Paul finished with 23 points -- 19 in the second half -- but his push came too late to save the Clippers.

ROOKIE WATCH: It was an eventful night for Warriors center Festus Ezeli. Matching up with Blake Griffin put the first-year center in foul trouble almost immediately -- the Vanderbilt product picked up two whistles within 83 seconds -- and was later hit with a flagrant foul when he grabbed Griffin's elbow after getting beaten off the dribble. Griffin landed hard on his left shoulder and head, although Jackson did not agree with the referees' decision and felt it was a bit of dramatics on the part of the All-Star forward. Whatever the case, Griffin was limited to a 2-for-11 performance and 10 points on the night.

QUOTABLE III: "I loved it. He's a great actor. I've seen those Kia commercials."
-- Mark Jackson on Griffin

NOTABLE: Clippers forward Matt Barnes, a Northern California native and former Warrior, made his second start of the season in place of Caron Butler, who missed the game due to personal reasons. Butler is expected to rejoin the Clippers in Los Angeles on Friday for their all-Staples Center battle with the Lakers. Barnes started hot with 16 first-half points but finished with 19.

UP NEXT: For the Warriors, Saturday @ L.A. Clippers, Wednesday vs. Memphis, Friday vs. Portland. For the Clippers, Friday vs. L.A. Lakers, Saturday vs. Golden State, Wednesday vs. Dallas.