San Francisco – The Golden State Warriors got a dire win, 112-97 over the Los Angeles Clippers to put an end to their 5-game losing streak. The win gives the Warriors the series win over the Clippers 3-1 and can spark their next winning streak.
“Obviously for us, there is a sense of urgency,” All-Star Stephen Curry said. “Understanding to give ourselves a chance to get out of this hole and get a win; our defensive energy and presence needed to be there.”
Before the Warriors (44-22) dropped 9 of their last 11 games, they were sitting pretty with the second best record in the league behind the Phoenix Suns. With Draymond Green, Andre Iguodala and James Wiseman healing in the wings; the Dubs are looking to get on track for a deep run in the playoffs. With 16 games remaining, they hope it’s enough runway to get them flying high like in recent championship years.
Golden State resembled their winning ways tonight, hitting their coveted 30-plus assists. They finished with 33 assists, which landed 6 players in double-figures. Emerging rookie Jonathan Kuminga led all scorers with a game-high 21 points. Jordan Poole contributed 20 points off the bench, shooting a stifling hot 61.5-percent. Klay Thompson also added a dub, as he continues to ease his way to playing more minutes. He also added 5 rebounds and 2 blocks over his 33-plus minutes.
Stephen Curry had 15, Andrew Wiggins finished with 14 and Moses Moody had 10 rounded out the other double-digit scorers. The Warriors struggled offensively in the first half, making just 42-percent of their field goals. However, it was their defensive pressure that gave them the advantage.
Coach Steve Kerr acknowledged that this was “our best defensive effort in a long time. Ball pressure was good, rotations were good, guys were challenging shots. (The) Clippers obviously didn’t have a great night shooting.. they missed some open ones. I thought we had something to do with that too.”
The Warriors blew this open in the second quarter out scoring the Clippers 33-15. Golden State went on a 12-0 run to end the first and start the second quarter. Los Angeles, in the 8th spot at 34-33, went scoreless for 6:30 in that quarter before veteran Nicolas Batum stopped the hemorrhaging with a 16-footer. He had a team-high 17 points on 6-of-11 from the field, which is 9 points above his average. The Clippers had a tough time hitting their target tonight, especially in the first half as they shot under 27-percent as a team.
Even though the Warriors dug themselves a whole with 16 regular season games remaining; they feel they have the muscle memory to get back to the Finals caliber firepower. The bright spot for enduring the injury this season is that their young bench. Guys are becoming more battle tested with the minutes they received that will help prepare them for a playoff run.
Green is expected to be back on the court for the Wizards game on March 14th, while Wiseman will start playing with the Santa Cruz Warriors on Sunday to get his season underway. The question is whether there are enough games left for the full team to gel and build a winning chemistry down the stretch. With a month left it will be up to Kerr and his staff to figure out the best line-ups. Everyone being healthy; would be a good problem to have.
“Some of this is being in the doldrums a little bit,” Kerr admits. “I think the attention to details was better today. And I think it will continue to get better especially when we get Draymond and Andre back.”
This win is moving them in the right direction. But will it be enough momentum to sling-shot them to the Finals. Which is where they looked to be headed at the start of 2022. Since their January 3rd win over the Miami Heat they have gone 15-15, and still holding on to the third best record in the league, tied with the Heat.
“Hopefully we have enough games to call his number, and we’ll see what happens,” Curry said about Wiseman returning to the team. ” There is a sense of urgency to get us on the right path, these last 16-17 games.”
Klay getting some shots with Will Ferrell aka Jackie Moon.
Photo by Warriors/Twitter