On a night when Steph Curry couldn’t find his rhythm against a hunting defense, the warriors’ shortcomings were on display.
In the Warriors’ 108-101 defeat by the Clippers on Wednesday night at the Chase Center, Curry was the target of Patrick Beverley’s defense in the chest and a permanent doubles team that pushed the ball out of his hands. And since Klay Thompson had lost for the season to an Achilles tear and Draymond Green was reluctant to score, the Warriors (4-4) had no recourse as Curry was 5-of-17 (1-of-6 von) finished with only 13 points (3-point range), five assists and four rebounds.
Andrew Wiggins’ push in the second quarter and 19 points from Eric Paschall, who led a banking unit that surpassed that of the Clippers 47-34, were not enough. Without a consistent source of offense, the Warriors were outdone by the All-Star Clippers duo (6-3) composed of Kawhi Leonard and Paul George.
After a 10-0 run with Damion Lee’s 3-pointer, the Warriors took the lead 87-83 at the beginning of the fourth quarter. However, Leonard went up and down a run of 25 to 10 to comfortably improve the Clippers by 11 at 1:36. Leonard and George both finished with 21 points each.
Make no mistake, this game was a slog. Sloppy sales piled up, the game was played at a creeping pace, and both teams battled to take perimeter shots or offend on the half-court. Golden State went 8-for-30 from 3-point range, while the Clippers shot 11-for-34 from a distance.
But these are also the games where the top teams find a way to win. The Warriors were carried by a banking unit that was numerically strong and competed in the fourth quarter. They never broke up, they were just over-talented.
After being blown away by championship-caliber teams in Brooklyn and Milwaukee earlier in the season, this could be taken as a sign that the Warriors are emerging as playoff contenders.
This was the first game in a two-game series against the Clippers and a challenging seven-game course featuring some of the best in the league. The rematch is Friday when the Warriors will try to find a way to get Curry rolling and explain a talent mismatch that could be exploited over the next few weeks.
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