Five Takeaways: Clippers Suffer Worst Loss Of Season To Warriors
OAKLAND, Calif. – The Clippers (30-18) suffered their largest margin of defeat of the season Saturday night, allowing a combined 86 points in the second and third quarters before falling by 46 points at Golden State (40-7).
Here are five quick takeaways from the Clippers’ 144-98 defeat.
1) Turnovers, rebounding put Clippers in early bind – Prior to a loss J.J. Redick called the worst of his career and “completely embarrassing,” he said a margin for error that’s already small while playing shorthanded becomes even smaller when playing against the Warriors. The Clippers kept things close early on, but then the mistakes crept in, and Golden State pounced.
The Clippers committed nine first-half turnovers and were outrebounded by eight in the first half, with the Warriors corralling six offensive rebounds and scoring five times off of them. Golden State continued to exploit defensive mismatches, scoring 41 points in the second quarter, and suddenly a single-digit deficit stretched to 21 by the end of the half, capped by a buzzer-beating half-court shot from Stephen Curry. “The mistakes kind of build,” Redick said. “As they take advantage of it, it becomes like an avalanche.”
2) No answer for Curry, Golden State offense – It seemed like both teams might play without their star point guards, with Chris Paul already out and Curry entering the night questionable with quad soreness. There was no such break for the Clippers, though, as Curry looked anything but questionable as he proceeded to drop 43 points, nine assists and six rebounds. After getting hot late in the first half, Curry exploded in the third quarter with 25 more points. By the end of the third quarter, the Clippers’ deficit and Curry’s point total were both at 43. Adding on Kevin Durant’s efficient 9-for-11 night, the Clippers had few answers defensively for a Warriors team that shot 62 percent from the floor.
“We had two great days of practice where we were attacking,” said Blake Griffin. “Guys were playing hard. Defensively, we were great. And then, to come out here on the stage that you were practicing for and not to do it, it’s embarrassing.”
3) Warrior woes – Saturday’s loss to the Warriors was the Clippers’ eighth straight against the Western Conference leaders, but the Clippers don’t have much time to dwell on it. After a matchup against the Suns, the Clippers play the Warriors again, which will be the second of two February matchups against Golden State. To change the result, Redick said the Clippers will have to fix one thing in particular that’s held them back this year.
“We can talk about, like, being who we are,” Redick said. “But who are we? To me, we’re the most inconsistent team maybe in the league…If we’re going to be inconsistent, we can’t expect to come in here and play these guys and be inconsistent and play well. It’s not realistic.”
4) Griffin effective in post in second game back – One of the lone bright spots for the Clippers was Griffin’s work on the block in his second game back from an 18-game hiatus following right knee surgery. The Clippers went to him often, as he piled up 20 points on 9-for-14 shooting, taking advantage of 1-on-1 mismatches as he attacked the rim. But Griffin picked up two early fouls, which meant only 4:22 of playing time for him in the first quarter as the Warriors started to build their lead late in the quarter.
5) Doc’s illness still lingers – The illness that forced head coach Doc Rivers out Tuesday in Philadelphia hasn’t yet gone away, thought Rivers said he was “good enough” to coach Saturday. He continues to go through tests to try to figure out the problem, but admittedly it’s tough to focus without many answers.
“You’ve just got to do it, but it hasn’t been a lot of fun,” Rivers said. “It has been three weeks now, so it’s not been a fun stretch. I’ll get through it. I just want to find out what the hell it is, to be honest.”
What’s Next? – The Clippers get three days off before playing Wednesday at Phoenix in the first game of a back-to-back, ending Thursday at home against Golden State.