Clippers survive Curry’s 50-point game in win over Warriors

Slipping down a San Francisco baseline previous Phoenix’s Chris Paul late Monday, Stephen Curry claimed a basket and the ultimate phrase.

“This ain’t 2014 no extra,” the Golden State star informed his longtime combatant as cameras rolled.

Paul later claimed he didn’t know the reference, however on his podcast, Curry’s Warriors teammate Draymond Inexperienced defined its latent that means — that it had been that lengthy since Paul might be thought of the higher participant.

The comment was uttered inside Chase Heart. It was felt within the hearts of the Clippers.

9 years in the past, headlined by Paul at level guard, the Clippers had been ascendant. Even fallout from former proprietor Donald Sterling’s suspension on the eve of the postseason was not sufficient to cease them from successful a first-round sequence towards Curry and Golden State.

However whereas the Clippers by no means recover from the postseason hump, Golden State has summited the NBA’s mountaintop 4 occasions since. The 2014 sequence towards Paul and the Clippers stays the final seven-game sequence misplaced by the Warriors to a Western Convention opponent. Even amid a Jekyll and Hyde 2022-23 season during which the Warriors are 29-7 at house and entered Wednesday 7-26 on the street, the Warriors stay the usual towards which all West challengers are measured, a online game’s last boss lurking behind Curry’s ever-present potential for an offensive eruption.

If the groups’ assembly Wednesday at Enviornment represented a psychic take a look at it was additionally, extra importantly, a practical one.

With the groups coming into with an identical data and the Clippers needing a win to maintain alive hopes of claiming a tiebreaker, Curry, Klay Thompson and Jordan Poole arrived as the right stress take a look at to gauge whether or not the Clippers, and the improved protection that underpinned their three-game successful streak, had been for actual.

They answered with a 134-126 victory, a fourth straight win during which Kawhi Leonard and coach Tyronn Lue lauded the crew’s composure amid Curry’s one-man present as he completed with 50 factors whereas making 20 of 28 pictures, together with eight three-pointers.

“This isn’t my first time seeing [Steph] explode like that in 1 / 4,” Leonard stated. “Being there earlier than, it sort of helps you keep centered on the second.”

Clippers’ Paul George (13) celebrates his 3-point basket with Ivica Zubac (40) as Golden State Warriors’ Draymond Inexperienced (23) walks to the crew’s bench for a timeout throughout the second half on Wednesday at Enviornment.

(Jae C. Hong / Related Press)

Of their five-game dropping streak that started after final month’s All-Star break, surefire wins had disappeared in clutch moments. They’ve flipped that to begin a brand new streak. The Clippers dedicated just one turnover within the second half. They grabbed 16 offensive rebounds. Russell Westbrook performed maybe his most disciplined sport of his Clippers tenure, with zero turnovers.

The win separated the Clippers (37-33) and Warriors (36-34) within the standings and displayed but once more the optimistic returns from a closing lineup pairing Eric Gordon (16 factors) and Terance Mann (17 factors) alongside starters Ivica Zubac (19 factors, 16 rebounds), Leonard (30 factors) and Paul George (24 factors, seven assists).

“I suppose we’re beginning to know our tendencies, know when anyone’s going to move you the ball or they’re going to chop — there are all kinds of issues that tie into chemistry and that’s constructed up with taking part in with each other,” Leonard stated.

For 3 quarters, a sample developed: Golden State successful the early minutes behind back-cuts and shotmaking, forcing a fast timeout by Lue. Then the Clippers stabilizing and pulling away, often a product of their protection, earlier than being reeled again by Curry and the Warriors for a frantic end.

Following Lue’s timeout two minutes into the third quarter after a 7-0 Warriors run, the Clippers started a 16-2 run helped once more by their protection. When George rebounded Inexperienced’s missed layup, he discovered Gordon for a fast 27-foot three-pointer. When Zubac slid over to swat Kevon Looney’s layup try, Westbrook grabbed the unfastened ball and located Gordon once more, this time for a 24-foot three-pointer and a 10-point lead. Gordon began the second half after beginning ahead Marcus Morris Sr. was ejected late within the second quarter for hitting Inexperienced above the shoulders.

They had been reminders that probably the most putting aspect about their turnaround was not solely {that a} protection that had sagged since late December had returned, but in addition had reappeared in essential moments.

Since permitting a season-high 51 factors in 1 / 4 to Memphis, the Clippers had held opponents to 40% taking pictures or worse in seven of their final 9 quarters coming into Wednesday. And Memphis, Toronto and New York had shot a mixed 31% within the fourth quarters of these three straight Clippers wins.

However as has been the case for a lot of the final decade, Curry stood in between the Clippers and what they wished.

Beginning together with his rating with 4:51 to play within the third quarter, the NBA’s all-time three-point king scored Golden State’s subsequent 12 factors, the quantity rising when he a lot as touched the ball and exploding when a pair of circus pictures fell as he surpassed 41 factors. The Warriors shot 65% within the second quarter and 60% within the third as Curry made 9 of 11 pictures. They completed with 55% taking pictures, and but the Clippers’ lead grew to 12 early in the fourth quarter, fueled by Mann doing every little thing, in all places, abruptly — accumulating two offensive rebounds on a possession he ended with a basket and foul, scoring once more, then drawing an offensive foul on Golden State earlier than flexing.

Then Curry checked again in. In a 72-second span, the Warriors ripped off six factors and the Clippers’ health to complete the job was once more in query as was the flexibility of George, with 5 fouls, to keep away from being despatched off.

However the Clippers didn’t enable a degree from 3:41 remaining till 1:13 was left — a stand that allowed their result in develop from six to 13, and with it their successful streak.