Five Takeaways: Clippers Comeback Falls Short at Golden State
OAKLAND — In their first game after the All-Star break, the Clippers nearly surmounted an 18-point deficit against the defending champion Warriors, but eventually fell to Golden State, 134-127.
Here are five quick takeaways from the Clippers’ loss:
1) Clippers fight back —
The Warriors led for a majority of the night, with their lead ballooning to 18 at one point. However, the Clippers fought back. Whenever the Warriors ripped a run, the Clippers answered with a mini run of their own. Led by a unit mostly consisting of reserves, the Clippers closed the lead to six in the fourth quarter. Montrezl Harrell continued his fantastic play off the bench, running hard towards the rim. Harrell finished with 15 points on 7-for-8 shooting from the field.
Then, the closing unit came in. Lou Williams scored 10 points in the fourth quarter. Tobias Harris drew fouls near the rim, adding 7 points. Harris finished with a team-high 22 points.
The team finished with a season-high 32 assists and eight of the 10 players who saw action scored. The offense put up 124 points, and it was a team-oriented attack that closed the deficit.
2) Splash Brothers take turns --
Klay Thompson, the four time All-Star, opened the game making his first seven shots, in a style reminiscent of his 60-point outing a year ago, rarely putting the ball on the ground, shooting right when he touched the rock. Thompson ended the first half with 17 points, a game-high at the break.
It was his backcourt mate, Steph Curry, that took control of the game in the third quarter. The two-time MVP scored 18 points with two three-pointers. The guard scored with the ball in his hands, dancing with it, hitting step back jumpers.
With the Clippers closing the lead to two, Curry killed any chance LA had of taking the lead, using a high screen and pulling up into a deep three from a few feet behind the line. Curry finished the game with 44 points.
3) Williams career-night —
Lou Williams has been the Clippers best player for most of the season, leading the team in scoring and assists. When the Clippers beat the Warriors in January, it was because of a Williams 50-point game. And when the Clippers almost came back against the Warriors on Thursday, it was Williams who almost finished it. He ended the night tying a career-high with 12 assists. He flipped the extra attention into easy baskets for this teammates. He also added 21 points, making it his 28th straight game with 15+ points, second to only Giannis Antetokounmpo among active streaks.
4) Warriors open game strong —
Before the All-Star break, the Warriors had the 29th ranked defense in the first quarter. They would constantly find themselves in holes to open the games. In their first game back since the break, they held the Clippers to 41 percent and 1-for-10 from behind the arc in the first quarter. And to couple their improvement, in the frame they scored 34 points on 67 percent shooting. Their offense performed selflessly, swinging the ball from teammate to teammate in search of the perfect shot. Of their 12 made buckets, 10 were on an assist.
The Warriors then continued their offensive assault throughout the entire second quarter, ending the half with 70 points. It felt like their offense made every shot. But, in reality it was 68 percent with 18 assists.
5) Wallace returns home —
Tyrone Wallace played college ball in the bay area at the University of California, Berkeley. He made his NBA debut against the Warriors in LA on January 6. Tonight, he returned home and made a bevy of plays key to the Clippers comeback. The two-way guard ended the night with 8 points, 3 assists and 2 steals. At 6-foot-5, his lengthy defense forced timely turnovers during the Clippers run.
What’s Next? — The Clippers travel to Phoenix for the second half of a back-to-back set, tipping off tomorrow at 6 p.m. PST.