January 21, 2021

DCTRS

Damascus Center for Theoretical and Civil Rights Studies

Clippers can’t limit Stephen Curry again, fall to Warriors

On their path to three NBA championships in five seasons, with lineups featuring three of the best shooters in league history fueling the final two titles, the Golden State Warriors left outmanned opponents with few options to stop them at their dynastic peak. Two were hope and prayer.

Things have changed since Kevin Durant bolted for Brooklyn in free agency and Klay Thompson injured, and then reinjured, his legs. Opponents now load up on Stephen Curry, gambling his young teammates won’t burn them.

If the job is more straightforward now, that hasn’t made it easier.

Two nights after holding Curry to five-for-17 shooting to kick off a two-game road series against the Warriors with a victory, the Clippers again threw a mix of defenders and coverages at the Warriors superstar, who put on a show reminiscent of his most valuable player seasons of the past during a 115-105 Warriors victory.

Highlights from the Clippers’ 115-105 loss to the Golden State Warriors on Friday night in San Francisco.

Curry made a season-high nine three-pointers to score 38 points. He also recorded a season-high 11 assists that directly led to 26 more points.

Dribbling toward the three-point arc and seeing Kawhi Leonard and Nicolas Batum in front of him with Paul George shaded to his right, Curry passed over their arms to Draymond Green at the free-throw line, and Green charged into a soft defensive rotation for a layup. He whipped an assist with his right hand to the left corner for a three-pointer by Michael Mulder, then zipped a left-handed, cross-court assist to the right corner for a three by Damion Lee.

Given a foot too much of space in the first half, he made his only two attempts during the opening minutes. He scored eight points during the third quarter’s final minute to supercharge an 18-2 Warriors run that trimmed a 22-point Clippers lead to six entering the final quarter.

With three minutes to play, and his Warriors leading by two, he wriggled into the lane and adjusted his body in mid-air to score around Clippers center Serge Ibaka.

George scored a team-high 25 points for the Clippers and Kawhi Leonard added 24 points, but they combined to score 17 after halftime. The bench contributed just 20 points.

Curry’s brilliance was matched only by the Clippers’ unraveling. It took fewer than five minutes for their 22-point lead to disappear, the fourth time this season the Clippers have allowed a double-digit lead to vanish.

The first three times it happened, however, the Clippers won — beating three of the Western Conference’s best teams in the Lakers, Nuggets and Suns.

Against a Warriors team that has struggled unevenly through the season’s first two weeks, their resolve was worn down by Golden State’s superior execution. The Warriors outscored the Clippers 52-18 after falling behind by their largest deficit, including a 12-1 run late in the fourth quarter that left Curry to yell into an empty Chase Center and the Clippers to hear the echo of their postseason collapses in September.

The Clippers (6-4) made 14 of their 31 three-pointers but committed 19 turnovers for the second consecutive game that led to 28 Warriors points.