Clippers “Trying To Find Themselves” After 121-104 Loss To Golden State

Rowan Kavner

OAKLAND – The undefeated Warriors are off to their best start in 20 years. The Clippers are off to a shaky one at best.

That much was evident Wednesday night at Golden State, as the Clippers’ stretches of poor play through their first four games caught up to them quickly in a 121-104 shellacking at the hands of the Warriors, who quickly put a cap on the Clippers’ euphoria of last year’s seven-game playoff series win.

“It’s no secret we’re trying to find ourselves right now, and we’re trying to win at the same time, because you have to do that when you’re in the West,” said Chris Paul. “But it’s no secret we’re not playing the right way. We’ve got to play better. We kept saying we don’t leave off from where we were last year, new team, but it starts with our core. We’ve got to figure it out.”

The competitiveness of that playoff series was never evident Wednesday. In fact, head coach Doc Rivers went as far to say that if this was a playoff series right now, the Clippers would lose in four games.

“What we found out is they’re way better than us right now,” Rivers said. “They’re tougher, they play harder. From our standpoint, just for me, I’ve got to do a better job, and I told the guys that. This is not their fault. I’ve got to figure it out.”

DeAndre Jordan sank two free throws with 6:48 remaining in the first quarter to give the Clippers a 9-7 lead. From that point on, the Clippers never led again. They trailed, 30-20, after the first quarter and only cut the deficit to single digits one other time all game.

The Clippers fell to 3-2 with the loss, and the home team has now won each of the last eight regular season games between the Clippers and Warriors, a team Rivers said is beautiful to watch right now.

“They’re bitter from losing last year, and you can see them together, and it’s gorgeous to watch,” Rivers said. “It’s beautiful basketball. The only way you counteract that is you’ve got to be that way, and we’re not that way.”

Despite the final score, the Clippers actually shot 46.3 percent from the field in the game, but defensive lapses prevented the Clippers from ever building on a run. It also wasn’t indicative of the lack of rhythm offensively, which was evident by the Clippers’ 42 points at the half.

When the Clippers did figure it out offensively, every Clippers run was answered by one just as long or longer by the Warriors, who put up 65 points by halftime and shot 58.1 percent from the field.

The Warriors also went 20-for-20 from the line, shooting 18 of those free throws in the second half. The Clippers only had one foul in the first half and no Clippers player finished the game with more than two fouls, something Rivers wasn’t proud of when getting beat handily.

“I’ve never been in a game where a team scores 65 points and we have one foul,” Rivers said. “That, to the core of me, bothers me to no end. I mean, I have never seen that before, and I think the foul was late and it was a mistake. It probably wasn’t a foul. So for me, I’m doing something wrong, because that’s as soft as you can probably get in a game.”

Jamal Crawford played his part off the bench in keeping things competitive late, helping the Clippers cut the deficit to 13 points in the fourth quarter and finishing with 24 points on the night to lead the team, but a 9-0 Clippers fourth-quarter run was followed by a 12-3 Warriors run.

The Clippers will return home to face Portland on Saturday.