The LA Clippers win streak hit four with a 136-124 win over the visiting Golden State Warriors.

Summary

With everything that was at stake, it’s pretty safe to say this was the Clippers best win of the season. Both the Clippers and the Warriors came into the game with identical 36-33 records and looking to grab the fifth seed in the Western Conference standings.

At first, the game looked like the Clippers came in sleepwalking, not realizing the magnitude of this game. The Warriors got off to a quick 6-0 start, causing Tyronn Lue to burn an early timeout. Once the team was settled, the game had much more of a playoff feel.

Lue’s timeouts proved to be a big difference maker in the game. He used them strategically to halt the Warriors momentum, especially when Stephen Curry was in the midst of a shooting barrage.

“Early on in the game, Golden State took a little 6-0 run, I’m always going to call a timeout just to try to settle those guys down cause five or six can go to 13 or 14 quick,” Lue said after the game. “You just want to be smart with your timeouts especially early in the game, and especially early in the third quarter because they’re a third quarter team. We talked about that coming out of halftime. They went on a run and we had to stop it as quick as could.”

With the exception of a few possessions here or there, it felt like the Clippers were in control of the game despite Curry being on his way to a 50-point outburst. Every time Curry would knock down a jaw-dropping, incredible shot, the Clippers would punch back.

The Clippers offensive attack was led by Kawhi Leonard, who took full advantage of every defender the Warriors tried to throw at him. With no Andrew Wiggins, Leonard was just too big and strong for the Warriors defenders to do anything. He was patient and efficient, recognizing when to attack to score and when to find the open shooter.

Leonard would finish with a team-high 30 points on 52.6 percent shooting along with eight rebounds, five assists, and two steals. As he mentioned after the game, keeping their composure in the midst of a sensational individual scoring performance from an opponent was key in being able to pull off the win.

“When they come down, Steph or Klay coming down and knocking those big shots, threes, two or three in a row. . .we kept our composure, we stayed steady and we came down and executed on the offensive end and made shots,” Leonard said. “We were able to go on a run ourselves. It was kind of like that throughout the game. We did a great job staying at it in that fourth quarter even when they were in the bonus early. We kept fighting, we got in the bonus, we made big plays.”

Notes

-Terance Mann had a fantastic game and continues to show why he should be getting the most minutes out of everyone not in the starting lineup. Mann was aggressive all game attacking the basket and crashing the glass. He finished with 17 points, four rebounds with three of them coming on the offensive end and three assists.

-Russell Westbrook had probably his best game as a Clipper so far. He was active on the glass as well and kept the ball moving. He took the shots that came to him and even though he missed a couple of open ones, those are shots you want him to take and not hesitate on as he did at times with the Lakers. He finished with 15 points, nine rebounds, seven assists and zero turnovers.

-The Clippers are just worlds better when Ivica Zubac is on the court. It’s not a coincidence that the Clippers recent five-game losing streak came with Zubac being sidelined for four of those five games. He punished the Warriors smaller front line to the tune of 19 points and 16 rebounds. Tyronn Lue likes to go small in games especially during closing time, but Zubac is just so good for this team that he should be in the closing lineup most of the time.

David Yapkowitz

David Yapkowitz

David is in his sixth season as credentialed media at Los Angeles Clippers games and second season covering the team for 213 Hoops. He also covers the game at the college and high school levels. When his professional basketball dreams did not materialize, he turned to the next best thing, writing about it.

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