Josh Smith of the Clippers fouls the Warriors’ Festus Ezeli during Thursday’s game/Staff photo by Hans Gutknecht
– It’s true the Clippers were playing a great team in the Warriors, so the problem wasn’t so much losing a 23-point second-quarter lead. Rather, it was being outscored 25-8 over the final 5:54. The Clippers were up 109-99 at that point and scored just eight more points. That can’t happen.
– In the amazing statistic department, the Warriors shot 56.7 from 3-point range, making 17 of 30. Moreover, they made 8 of 9 in the decisive fourth quarter. That’s 88.9 percent. Seriously?
– Except for shooting for a better free-throw percentage than usual – he was 5 of 8 – DeAndre Jordan was almost a non-factor in this one. He scored just nine points on four field-goal attempts, pulled down 10 rebounds and had zero blocks. He’s averaging 12.6 rebounds – down from 15.0 a season ago – and 2.7 blocks.
– When you shoot 50 percent from the field overall and 44.8 (13 of 29) like the Clippers did, you expect to win. The Clippers lost, and by now they might be wondering how the heck they are ever going to beat the Warriors. The Clippers led them by 10 in the fourth quarter at their place Nov. 4 and lost by four. The Clippers led them twice by 23 points in the second quarter of this one and, again, by 10 midway through the fourth – and lost both times.
– If we don’t take the time to tip our cap to Golden State’s Steph Curry, we wouldn’t be doing our job. Curry scored 40 points after scoring just three in the first quarter because he took two early fouls. He scored 13 of his points in the fourth. He also had three steals. To top it off, the 6-foot-3 guard led everyone with 11 rebounds. Yes, he had seven turnovers. So he’s not perfect.
Austin Rivers/Photo courtesy of Los Angeles Clippers
One thing about the Clippers, they lack a killer instinct.
They proved that again Thursday when they twice led by 23 points in the second quarter, and by 10 with just under six minutes to play in the game before falling 124-117 to the Warriors, who are now 13-0, at Staples Center.
Austin Rivers, who scored 10 points and made two steals in 26 minutes off the bench, afterward scolded his own team while praising the defending-champion Warriors.
“I think in these games, we need to take something away,” said Rivers, whose team was outscored 25-8 over the final 5:54. “We keep saying, ‘We almost had them.’ I think we need to trust each other better on offense toward the end of the game. We have to execute better. This was one of the most frustrating losses I’ve had besides the Houston series last year.
:”We wanted this game badly and we out-played them the whole game. There’s a reason why they’re champions. They are better than us right now.”
Kevin McHale/Photo courtesy of NBA.com
The firing of Houston Rockets coach Kevin McHale on Wednesday after a 4-7 start seems to have been a stunner. All McHale did this past season was lead the Rockets to the Western Conference finals, a place the team had not been since the 1996-97 season.
In getting that far, McHale led his team back from a 3-1 deficit to defeat the Clippers in the conference semifinals, to advance.
Count Doc Rivers among those left shaking his head.
“Yeah, very,” he said, when asked if he was astonished by the news. “I think it’s surprising for everyone. They only made it to the Western (Conference) finals last year. But that’s our league. And I think I’ve given this speech now my last 11 years a lot – nothing surprises me anymore.”
Chris Paul/Photo courtesy of Los Angeles Clippers
Chris Paul scored 18 of his 23 first-half points in the first quarter and the Clippers took a 68-54 lead over the Golden State Warriors into the locker room at halftime.
The Clippers twice led by as many as 23 points.
Paul made his first seven shots from the field, including three 3-pointers.
Blake Griffin contributed 18 points and Austin Rivers scored seven.
Klay Thompson had 18 points for Golden State and Steph Curry scored 17 after having just three points in the first quarter.
Chris Paul/Photo courtesy of Los Angeles Clippers
If Chris Paul and J.J. Redick don’t play Thursday when the Clippers host the defending-champion Golden State Warriors, the Clippers will have little chance of winning.
Prior to practice Wednesday, coach Doc Rivers was asked for an update. It wasn’t great news for Clippers fans. Not the worst, either.
“We’re going to put them both out there (to practice) and if we like what we see … but my guess right now is 50-50,” Rivers said.
Paul and Redick both have missed the past two games – Paul with a groin strain, Redick with back spasms.
The Clippers are 6-4. The Warriors are 12-0, with their smallest margin of victory coming Nov. 4 when they beat the Clippers 112-108 at Oracle Arena in Oakland.
Paul scored 24 points in that one and first tweaked his groin there in the final seconds.
Steph Curry/Photo courtesy of Golden State Warriors
Steph Curry scored 37 points to lead the defending-champion Golden State Warriors to a 115-110 victory over the Toronto Raptors on Tuesday at Golden State. The Warriors, now 12-0, will play the Clippers on Thursday at Staples Center, to try and extend that unbeaten streak at the outset of the season.
The NBA record for consecutive victories to start a season is 15, so if the Warriors win four more without losing, they will have set a record. Curry says the team is not concerning itself with that.
“We don’t talk about it that much, we’re just happy to get a win,” Curry said post-game. “We feel pretty loose out there, so even in close games we feel and get the sense that everyone is composed and loose. Definitely confident we pulled that out. We have to go out and execute, you can’t just think that you’ve got to do something about it. There’s no pressure on us, no cloud hanging over the locker room, no 16-0 number, just staying in the moment.”