Five Takeaways: Late Run Not Enough As Clippers Fall To Warriors
LOS ANGELES – A late run from the Clippers’ reserves to cut the deficit to single digits wasn’t enough to prevent a Warriors (43-7) win, as the Clippers (31-19) lost for the third time in their last four games overall and for the ninth straight time to the Warriors.
Here are five quick takeaways from the Clippers’ 133-120 loss.
1) Early turnovers start Clippers on wrong foot again – Three possessions. Three turnovers. The Clippers started Thursday night’s matchup against the Warriors much the same way as their loss at Golden State two games ago, with offensive errors and rebounding issues putting them in an early bind. The Clippers ended the first quarter with more turnovers (seven) than rebounds (four), finding themselves down 11 despite shooting 53.3 percent at the time, and those mistakes can be lethal against a team that takes advantage of them the way the Warriors do. “Our turnovers were deflating,” said head coach Doc Rivers. “It looked like a replay of the last time we played them.”
2) Griffin goes for season high – With Draymond Green out of the lineup and Blake Griffin coming off a 29-point night, there was little doubt the Clippers would feed their power forward. And they did just that, with Griffin doing his part offensively. Griffin scored a season-high 31 points, marking the first time a Clippers player has crossed the 30-point mark this year. He also added a poster dunk on Kevon Looney and passed Bob McAdoo for No. 2 on the Clippers’ all-time scoring leaderboard.
3) Second chances points a problem– The Warriors are tough enough to stop beyond the arc, but even in the Clippers’ previous 46-point loss to the Warriors, it was what Golden State did in the paint that bothered head coach Doc Rivers even more. Again, the Warriors won on the glass Thursday night, outrebounding the Clippers by nine and putting in 27 second-chance points, including 20 in the first half. Of course, the Warriors variety of 3-pointer shooters also still posed a threat, particularly as the Clippers tried to cut into the lead late in the fourth.
4) Can’t go cold – The Clippers were still hanging close in the third quarter at 89-78, when Durant hit a shot. Marreese Speights missed a dunk shortly after, and Ian Clark hit one of the Warriors’ 14 3-pointers at the other end. Against the Warriors, any off stretch can be lethal, and Golden State took advantage when the Clippers went cold the final three minutes of the third quarter. All of a sudden, the Clippers trailed by 17 points heading to the fourth.
5) Reserves provide a final push – The Clippers trailed by a game-high 21 points early in the fourth quarter, and halfway through the fourth, Rivers appeared to be pulling the plug, with both Griffin and DeAndre Jordan out of the game as the Clippers trailed by 16. But with a group of Brandon Bass, Austin Rivers, Jamal Crawford, Wesley Johnson and former Warriors big man Marreese Speights, the group of backups cut the deficit down to seven. Crawford finished with 21 points on the night, going 5-for-8 behind the arc, and Austin Rivers scored 12 of his 18 points in the fourth quarter, but the Warriors’ regulars were still on the court and eventually put it away, with both Kevin Durant and Klay Thompson hitting dagger 3-pointers in the final minutes.
What’s Next? – The Clippers hit the road for a five-game East Coast road trip, beginning Sunday in Boston.