Supremacy lingered somewhere beneath the mighty leaps of Lob City.
Just as the Golden State Warriors attempted to show superiority over their Pacific Division foes, the Los Angeles Clippers surged back with a 115-89 route at Staples Center on Saturday Night.
The statement was made: as simple as it seems to step over the Clippers, they bound back with matching vigor.
The Warriors’ (22-11) hopes of beating the first-pace Clippers (27-8) for the third time this season were ripped with the same force as the highlight alley-oop lobs throughout the night.
Though the Warriors delivered the Clippers their worst loss of the season with a 21-point walkover on Wednesday night, it was the Clippers who dished the worst loss of the Warriors’ season on Saturday night.
In an on-court postgame interview, Chris Paul was asked if his team’s victory was a statement. As Paul answered, a jovial, hoping-to-be-funny trio of Blake Griffin, DeAndre Jordan and Jamal Crawford, approached the background with awkward stares.
“It was a pretty good statement – let’s see how these guys feel,” Paul answered in the Hollywood moment.
Paul then backtracked a bit into a more serious answer: “It wasn’t about making a statement, it was about coming out here and winning a tough game. These guys beat us pretty bad two days ago and, after an emotional game against the Lakers last night, it’s a good win.”
If Los Angeles was seeking to make a response, it was made early.
The Clippers went on a 15-0 run in the opening moments and led 35-12 after the first quarter. Los Angeles shot 65.2 percent in the opening frame. It was the Warriors’ lowest scoring first quarter of the season as they shot 4-for-22 (18.2 percent).
After holding the Clippers to a combined 39 percent through the clubs’ first two meetings, Los Angeles shot 52.2 percent on Saturday including plenty of dunks and alley-oop finishes. The Clippers outscored the Warriors, 21-11, in fast-break points
“That’s not our brand of defense and that’s not our style,” Warriors coach Mark Jackson said.
Paul, the Clippers’ elite guard, scored 27 points, including 5-for-6 from three-point range, and added nine assists and five rebounds.
“It’s fresh in their mind what took place just the other day,” Jackson said. “We knew their mindset, we knew they were going to come out and go after us; we did not respond tonight.”
The Warriors shot 44.4 percent on the night, receiving just 10 points apiece from their usual scoring stars, Stephen Curry and David Lee. Klay Thompson led all scorers with 14 points.
After holding Los Angeles to just 32 points in the paint in each of the first two meetings, the Warriors lost the inside battle, 56-28. The Clippers outrebounded the Warriors, 41-30.
Too much Griffin
The Warriors, with as much smack and pull as they can deliver, could not restrain the herculean determination of Griffin, the Clippers superstar athlete. Griffin scored 20 points on 8-for-12 shooting in 30 minutes and added seven assists, five rebounds and three blocks. Griffin had 14 points in the first quarter.
Griffin was forceful in creating spacing, using his strength to bump his way toward the rim and finding his teammates when the defense collapsed.
Jackson prefers to use an athletic center against Griffin, someone with length who can force the Clippers forward to shoot over the top.
But Warriors rookie center Festus Ezeli couldn’t contain Griffin early, and Andris Biedrins couldn’t defend him without fouling. In four minutes, Biedrins picked up four fouls, three of which were drawn by Griffin. Carl Landry had three fouls in his first six minutes.
Lee picked up a flagrant foul in the second quarter when he gave Griffin a minor push in the back as the Clippers star dunker attacked the rim. Griffin came down on both feet on the play and was fine.
Tweet of the game: Broken alarm clock
@SF_XVII: Somebody check that darn rim! Nothing is going in for us! Let’s wake up #dubs #warriors #warriorstalk
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