Five Takeaways: Williams drops 50 as Clippers knock off Warriors
SAN FRANCISCO — Lou Williams scored 50 points as the Clippers (19-21) beat the Warriors (33-9), 125-106, for their first victory over Golden State in the two teams’last 13 matchups.
Here are five quick takeaways from the Clippers win.
1) The Sweet Lou Show —
Clippers guard Lou Williams became the main storyline on national television during his third quarter explosion. He had 27 points on 11 shots. He made three threes in the quarter. He scored the last 18 points in the quarter over a quick five minute span. He scored the most points in a quarter in the NBA this season. And when he subbed out, the momentum carried on for the Clippers.
From 5:16 remaining in the third quarter to 6:17 left in the fourth, the Clippers secured a 37-11 run. Clippers forward Montrezl Harrell worked the post, finishing the game with 14 points and grabbing 6 rebounds. Sam Dekker and Willie Reed each contributed 4 points.
But it was Williams who led the Clippers to victory. He ended the game with 50 points, a career-high, and he is only the fifth player in the league to score 50 this season, joining LeBron James, James Harden (3x), Bradley Beal, and DeMar Derozan. All thanks to Williams’ big night, the Clippers secured their first victory over Golden State since 2014 and their first in Oracle Arena since 2011. Williams is the first Clipper to score 50 in a game since Charles Smith tied a franchise record with 52 points on December 1, 1990. He joins Smith, Bob McAdoo (4x) and Freeman Williams as the only players in team history to reach the half-century mark in a single game.
2) C.J. Williams follows game winner with strong start —
After beating the Atlanta Hawks on a 26-foot three pointer with 9 seconds remaining, Clippers guard C.J. Williams burst out of the gates on Wednesday with confidence from the previous game, scoring 10 points on 4-of-5 in the first quarter, equaling Kevin Durant, whom he was also guarding.
Then in the third quarter, Williams rolled his ankle, rendering him unable to return in the game. However, his two-way partner Tyrone Wallace played his best game as a pro, joining Lonzo Ball and Kyle Kuzma as the only rookies this season to top 20-points in their first three NBA outings.
22p/6r/4a/2s | Tyrone Wallace joins Lonzo & Kuzma as only rookies this season with a 20-point game in his first 3 NBA games. #NBAVote— LA Clippers (@LAClippers) January 11, 2018
Wallace totaled 22 points, 6 rebounds, and 4 assists, a well-rounded performance, impacting the game in nearly every way. He was superb on the defensive end, using his length to help bother the Warriors’ three-point attack into just a 34-percent night from deep.
3) Warriors start Clipper alums —
No Stephen Curry for the Warriors. No Klay Thompson. It was the first of 258 home game for the Warriors without either of the guards. However, Kevin Durant returned after missing the past three games. But, without his usual starting backcourt, Warriors coach Steve Kerr turned to Shaun Livingston and Nick Young for the start. Livingston played for the Clippers from 2004-2007, while Young played for them in the 2011 season.
The Clipper defense did a great job minimizing their impact, as they combined for only 15 points and 5 assists. Livingston managed only 8 points on 1-of-3 shooting. Young shot the second most shots on the Warriors with 11, scoring only 7. Holding them in check was a rotation of all Clippers guards, with Jawun Evans and Wallace excelling.
4) Historic milestone —
Entering the night, Kevin Durant was 25 points short of reaching the 20,000 career points scored milestone. The Clippers threw a myriad of defenders at the future hall-of-famer, with C.J. Williams, Tyrone Wallace, and Wesley Johnson all getting their chances, but Durant was too good, reaching the milestone at the half. He recorded his 25th point on a pull-up three pointer from the left wing, and when the next dead ball occurred, the Warriors put the stat on the jumbotron. Oracle Arena reacted with a standing ovation, as Durant saluted the reception with a pat on his chest and wave to the crowd.
Durant finished the night with 40 points on 14-of-18 shooting, the most efficient scoring game of his NBA career. When the Warriors made a late run, it was because of Durant making tough shot after tough shot, willing the Warriors to hang around.
5) Return of Lob City —
For the first bucket of the game, Jawun Evans dribbled around a DeAndre Jordan screen, used an in-and-out dribble to create space, then threw the ball up to the heavens, which Jordan tomahawked through the bucket in one fluid motion. The Clippers went on to pass two more alley oops in the first quarter, highlighting the unselfishness in the opening quarter. On 14 made field goals, the Clippers tallied 10 assists, with the ball movement too quick for the Warriors defense.
By the end of the night, the Clippers had 24 assists. Not only did he lead the team in scoring, Lou Williams lead the team with 7 assists, and Evans was second with 6. Even DeAndre Jordan posted 3 assists, along with 10 points, and 12 rebounds.
What’s Next? — The Clippers play on Thursday night in Sacramento at 7:30 PST.