Despite bench struggles, the finally-healthy Clippers were able to finish strong vs the Warriors and eke out a win in San Francisco by containing Steph Curry defensively.
The box score of this game is charitable to the Clippers. They only lost one quarter, had five players in double figures, and were perfect from the free throw line. But the more one looks, the turnovers (19), assists (only 19), and lack of bench scoring are a hint that this game was not all smooth sailing.
The first quarter was particularly bleak: Both teams were missing everything and playing sloppy basketball. Seven minutes into the first frame, the game was tied at 4-4. The Clippers, balanced between Paul George, Kawhi Leonard, Patrick Beverly, and even Nick Batum, played Steph Curry well and held him to 1/6 shooting in the first quarter.
The rest of the first half was rife with missed opportunities. The Clippers had five turnovers in the second quarter and did not get much scoring off the bench. Marcus Morris, Sr., who made his season debut tonight, was one of the few bright spots, with seven first half points on 3/5 shooting. Interestingly, Morris was (is?) apparently is open to coming off the bench, as reported by Andrew Greif and others.
The Clippers would go on to give up another end-of-half run, letting the Warriors score night straight going into the half, cutting the Clippers’ lead to just one. In the third, the Clippers started to get offense going, but it was still choppy and they turned the ball over five times. In general, the Clippers had trouble connecting on interior passes.
The Clippers’ biggest lead (twelve) came around the end of the third quarter, but they eventually gave it up early in the fourth. The Clippers would go on to finish the game well, led by strong drives to the basket by both Kawhi Leonard and Paul George, a few nice Batum corner threes, and tighter play.
- Perfect from the line: The Clippers went 25/25 from the line. Per the Clippers, this was the third-most free-throws made without a miss in a game in franchise history. This is the 24th time in franchise history that the Clippers were perfect from the free-throw line. (Clippers PR.)
- Rebounding: The Clippers out-rebounded the Warriors by 13, let by Serge Ibaka (14) and Paul George (12). This was the highest number of rebounds for the Clippers so far this season (48).
- Bigger than basketball: After the game, George, Morris, and Leonard addressed what went on at the Capitol earlier today. The two teams kneed during the anthem, but Morris did not think the NBA should have played at all. Hopefully, the NBA and the Clippers will not have to deal with these questions going forward — that is, hopefully there won’t be anything else worth addressing — but it is likely the team will have to think through how they want to support the voice of the players over the next few weeks and beyond.
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