The Warriors and Clippers each showed why they’re the two best defenses in the NBA, but Golden State forced a season-high 24 turnovers — including 19 steals — while holding the Clippers to 40% overall shooting.
GSW also struggled to score, especially at the free throw line, but its suffocating defense limited Los Angeles to 90 points.
Stephen Curry (33 points, 6 assists, 6 steals) took over in the fourth quarter, and Otto Porter Jr. provided a spark with 18 points off the bench. But it was the swarming defense that led to a 105-90 win for Golden State (18-2).
Before the Warriors’ matinee in Staples Center, Golden State coach Steve Kerr noted every team deals with choppy water. So far, it’s been nothing but smooth sailing for the Warriors. But adversity due to injuries, poor play or other external forces tend to be inevitable in the NBA.
But on the horizon right now, there’s only blue seas ahead.
Here are three takeaways from another Warriors victory:
It wasn’t dribble-off-your-foot, Bad News Bears level play, but neither offense played their best to start Sunday’s game.
Both the Clippers and Warriors committed six turnovers. Golden State shot 40% from the floor, while Los Angeles made nine of their 24 attempts (37.5%).
One sequence went: Marcus Morris Sr. missed layup, Andrew Wiggins turnover, Luke Kennard turnover and a Kennard foul 75 feet away from the Clippers’ basket.
And to open the second quarter, Gary Payton II intercepted his third steal, but missed an open layup on the other end. About a minute later, Stephen Curry nabbed his fourth steal, but also missed a contested look at the rim.
Paul George coughed up half of LA’s first-quarter turnovers, while Andrew Wiggins and Draymond Green each gave two back.
For two of the West’s top teams, it was ugly basketball. Four second-half technical fouls mucked the game up further.
The Warriors and Clippers boast the two best defensive ratings in the NBA, at 99.9 and 102.0 respectively. The slugfest could’ve been the stout defenses, or maybe the early start after an off-night in Los Angeles, but neither team looked particularly sharp to start.
Angry Steph goes off
In the first quarter, Curry hit his 100th 3-pointer of the season. It only took him 19 games to reach the century mark, the fastest anyone’s ever reached 100 in a single season.
The second-fastest to reach 100 3s? Steph Curry in the 2015-16 season. In third place? Stephen Curry in 2018-19. In both those years, it took him 20 games.
At this point, Curry must have the NBA record for times breaking his own records. Can we get Elias Sports Bureau on that?
More relevant to the outcome of Sunday’s tilt, Curry didn’t stop at just one 3. He poured in seven on 13 attempts. After picking up a rare technical foul for arguing a questionable no-call, Curry dropped three ridiculous bombs in the fourth quarter to help pull away from the Clippers. After the third, he banged his chest with both fists as his eruption forced Ty Lue to call timeout.
As the Warriors broadcasted debated the merits of nickname options like Spicy Curry and Psycho Curry, the two-time MVP sat on the bench and laughed as his team led by 16.
He’s not always angry. But when he is, he prefers to will the Warriors to victory.
Both Jordan Poole and Reggie Jackson, secondary options in strong offenses, average 18 points per game. They each struggled while matched up opposite each other, though.
Neither shooting guard is their team’s second leading scorer — or in Poole’s case, third — by design. The Clippers are missing Kawhi Leonard with a knee injury. Klay Thompson will return to make up the second half of the Splash Bros soon.
But Poole and Jackson have both stepped up. Just not against each other.
In one stretch in the third quarter, Jackson made an excellent move to snake all the way to the rim, but missed a right-handed layup. On the other end, Poole found himself four right outside the paint, but left his floater short.
Neither guard could get much of anything going, until LAC’s backup center Isaiah Hartenstein blocked Poole at the rim. Hartenstein stood over Poole and yelled at him, picking up a technical foul. Right afterwards, Poole, seemingly rejuvenated, nailed four 3-pointers in a row including a heat-check banker.
Poole went from two points to 17 in a flash. Jackson, meanwhile, finished with zero. The Clippers could’ve used a bit more than that.