The Los Angeles Clippers failed to defend their home court on Wednesday night, falling to the hyper talented Golden State Warriors 115-98.
These teams have a growing dislike for one another, and Warriors coach Steve Kerr even went as far as calling the Clippers their “rivals” before the game.
Los Angeles was feeling rejuvenated after a two-day rest and eager to close the power rankings gap between the two California rivals with their biggest win of the season.
You could sense the tension in the arena at tipoff. The Clippers were even more argumentative than usual, with Chris Paul picking up a technical foul within the first two minutes of game-time as he barked at a ref near the baseline.
Golden State baited Los Angeles into playing their signature brand of basketball in the first quarter; the Clippers settled for 3-pointers and tried to match the Warrior’s up tempo offense. A bad idea, as the Clippers trailed 37-19 at the end of the first quarter.
Los Angeles struggled to keep pace with the Warriors, fumbling the ball as they drove to the basket and throwing several poorly planned passes; The Clippers would give up nine turnovers in the opening period.
Clippers coach Doc Rivers looked for his bench unit to get the team back into the game to start the second, opting to send Austin Rivers, Jamal Crawford, Wesley Johnson and Alan Anderson on the court for some much needed defense.
But it would never come, as the Warriors led 46-29 with 6:45 remaining as the duo of Paul and Blake Griffin were re-inserted.
Crawford scored 13 points, including a trio of 3-pointers in the second quarter to bring the Clippers within ten with 1:22 remaining in the half.
The Clippers struggles continued to begin the second half, as Curry intercepted a pass and fed Draymond Green for the easy layup right out of the gates.
The Warriors would pull away even further in the third quarter, going on a 19-5 run to balloon their lead to 27 points.
Los Angeles wouldn’t make a fourth quarter rally, instead they folded and appeared complacent, accepting of a blowout at home to the NBA’s newest super-team.
Klay Thompson scored 24 points and Steph Curry had 19 points, four rebounds and six assists for Golden State. Green recorded 22 points, five rebounds and four assists. Kevin Durant added 16 points, eight rebounds and seven assists.
Crawford had a team-high 21 points for the Clippers. Paul scored 15 points and grabbed six rebounds and five assists. Marreese Speights added 15 points and nine rebounds off the bench.
The Warriors are now a league best 19-3 and will return home for their next game against the Utah Jazz on Thursday, Dec. 8.
The Clippers have now lost two consecutive games and five of their last seven. Los Angeles will continue a four-game home stand against the New Orleans Pelicans on Saturday, Dec. 10.