Golden State Warriors
Los Angeles Clippers
MVP: Stephen Curry continues to incinerate any basketball net he comes near, this time by going for 40 points on 22 shots. He would also rack up 11 rebounds, 4 assists, and 3 steals.
That was … polar: The Clippers got out to a 23 point lead in the first half by executing well on both ends of the floor. The exact opposite appeared to be the case in the second half, with the Clippers giving up 70 points in the last two quarters and ultimately the game itself.
X factor: Draymond Green would get his fourth foul with 11:21 left in the 3rd Quarter. Rather than send him to the bench, Luke Walton kept him in the game. The Warriors forward would go on to score 13 of his 19 points in the period, including a buzzer-beating three-pointer that would cut the Clippers lead to six.
— Brandon Tomyoy
Tweet(s) Of The Game
— Positive Residual (@presidual) November 20, 2015
Since start of last season, Warriors are 3-3 in games in which they trail by 20 at any point. Rest of the NBA is a combined 13-486
— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) November 20, 2015
Blake Griffin on the Warriors: "I wouldn't call this a rivalry. They're the better team. They have the upper hand."
— Jovan Buha (@jovanbuha) November 20, 2015
Check Your Messages
Seeking the Promised Land
There are nights on which Chris Paul, Point God, is content to rule from afar, omniscient but a little ambivalent. Tonight was not that night. Tonight he came out like the vengeful Point God of the Old Testament, unleashing plagues of swarming D and 3-point locusts on the flamethrowing golden calves from the Bay. And then he left us.
For eight minutes of game time that felt like eight days of darkness he sat on the bench, resting and waiting for the call to return (and getting looked at by the training staff). In those eight minutes the Clipper lead sublimated from a rock solid 12 to a one-point wisp amid a red, white, and blue sea of mismatched lineups that wouldn’t part and a defense that would, over and over. On several occasions the Warriors’ Green, Barnes, and Iguodala found themselves wide open, thanks in part to both miscommunication and a very creaky Paul Pierce, and they punished the Clippers with repeated short corner lashings. Not to mention the Clippers’ stagnant and predictable offense.
When the Point God came again he unleashed another string of lightning bolts, but it was too late. The damage had been done to his team’s collective psyche, and the Warriors had found a little too much of their corny affected swagger. The question now, after all of the ups and downs, is whether the Clippers need a walk in the desert, or a full-on flood.
– Ben Mesirow
Don’t Call it a Rivalry
First of all … this is the kind of loss that has you doing irrational things if you’re the Clippers. Dumb trades to start, and departures to finish.
Second of all, I’m not here to provide hope to the comment section. Just don’t call this a rivalry anymore.
No, really. The Clippers hadn’t played since Saturday afternoon. They had four days off. The Point God had more time than that. The Clippers were at home. (Well, maybe home is where the hatred is, because the Clippers at STAPLES Center against another California team is just depressing right now.) LAC wanted – NEEDED – to win this game. Doc Rivers was so desperate tonight to win this one. You saw it with the injury reports, the minutes given to the old legs.
The Clippers had a 23-point lead – that you knew they would blow. Look, the Warriors have beaten the Clippers 5 of 6 times. The fight has been called. It’s over. This game probably had mothers of 9 year old daughters in Tennessee upset with the way the Warriors danced on the Clippers’ grave. The official NBA account had a side comment about an “off night” from the MVP because he had 7 turnovers. The Clippers scored 117 more points in a loss. The Warriors ended the game on an extended run that saw them outscore L.A. by 30.
Bottom line – the Clippers don’t have a chance in hell against the Golden State Warriors. They can’t figure out the lineups, can’t figure out the pace, will never be able to shoot with them. They can’t even talk smack with them (sorry, Lance). Rivalries at least have a back-and-forth. This isn’t a rivalry. Maybe it was in May, but not now. The Clippers can’t see the Warriors right now. And the way these two teams are constructed, they never will.
– Law Murray
With both the clock and the lead dwindling down late in the fourth quarter, it was easy to wonder why Doc Rivers would ride out the game with two players in their mid-to-late thirties finishing out the game. Neither has a reputation as a solid defender at this point, and on the night, neither one was able to muster up enough offense to make a case for them to continue to be on the floor. And so the many began to question why an analog better-suited to the rigors of defense was not swapped in.
It’s easy to make that judgement on the outside looking in; there is no personal attachment we have to these players. There is no building of trust. There is no rapport or deeper understanding beyond a results-oriented outcome that dictates why we judge another’s decision as bad or good.
Unfortunately, sports are a results-oriented exercise, and a definition of success is predicated on said results. That makes it easy for onlookers and bystanders to question if personal attachment is clouding sound judgement. It’s as if Doc is a Nicholas Sparks protagonist, too blind to see that the person they once knew is no longer the same. The reality of it is likely less about attachment and more about trust; as a so-called “coach’s coach,” Doc surely is aware that trust is lost far easier than it is earned, and the impact that has on keeping all of his players engaged and in the fold.
Must the empirical nature of relationships be sacrificed for the sake of winning basketball games?
Whatever the answer is, it’s much easier when given after a victory, and not a loss after leading by 23 points.
– Brandon Tomyoy