The Golden State Warriors brought their "A" game to Thursday night's Game 3 in Los Angeles, blowing the Clippers out 132-105 at the Staples Center. There was no 30-plus point meltdown in this one, as the Dubs clearly still felt the sting from blowing an almost impossible 31-point lead in Monday night's game.
Golden State got started early, going up 41-24 by the end of the first quarter, in a game in which the Clippers never held a lead. Stephen Curry and Kevin Durant were the catalysts of the Warriors' first quarter flurry, scoring 13 and 12 points respectively. Steph went a perfect three-for-three from beyond the arc, including a 29-footer. Durant was a perfect 5/5 from the floor, adding a pair of free throws, in just eight minutes of action.
The defensive effort and overall intensity of the Warriors were palpable throughout the entire contest. Golden State players were flying all over the court, getting in passing lanes and swarming to the help with on-ball defense, leading to several blocked shots. Every time the Clippers strung together a couple of scoring possessions, the Warriors answered back with an emphatic dunk or a dagger-three at the other end of the court.
Foul trouble was still a story in this one, though, unlike in last game, the Warriors didn't lose all interest midway through the third. Nevertheless, this will be something to look at going forward, in this series and the next (assuming the Dubs can get past the eighth-seeded Clippers). Steph was a little too cavalier about his foul situation, picking up a third foul with just over three minutes remaining in the first half. This prompted coach Steve Kerr to sit the two-time MVP, electing not to risk his star incurring an inexcusable fourth first-half foul. Again, as was the case in Game 2, Curry picked up his fourth foul with a hearty 8:46 remaining in the third quarter. Coach Kerr, likewise, removed Steph from the contest for the balance of the period.
With Curry sitting, Durant and Draymond Green took over, quickly slamming the door shut on any hopes LA had about a repeat performance of Game 2's fantastic finish. KD woke up from his three-point shooting slumber, nailing three from deep en route to an 11-point third. Draymond stepped up his offensive aggressiveness, getting into the paint and finishing for 6 hard-fought third-quarter points. After failing to narrow the gap to anything resembling a manageable deficit, Clippers coach Doc Rivers sent in the reserves, and the Warriors cruised to a 27-point statement victory.
Saw this play last night and immediately saved it. Without KD on the floor, the Warriors were able to execute that famous action for Curry on the strong-side wing.— Shane Young (@YoungNBA) April 19, 2019
But, with a wrinkle. Curry’s impact just by moving a few feet: pic.twitter.com/ebwDj3xlsf
Durant's "Technical" Difficulties
Technical foul totals are reset for every player at the start of the postseason. If a player accrues seven technical fouls throughout the playoffs he is assessed a one-game suspension. Warriors fans will undoubtedly remember Draymond's suspension for Game 5 of the 2016-'17 NBA Finals, after he hit the max-tech threshold. A series in which the Dubs would go on to lose after building a 3-1 lead. Which brings us to Kevin Durant and his ongoing feud with LA guard Patrick Beverley and seemingly the rest of the Clipper roster. During what seemed like a somewhat lighthearted albeit lengthy exchange with forward JaMychal Green, Durant and Green were hit with a double-technical. Both players were furious, pleading their cases, but to no avail. This latest tech puts KD at three on the very young postseason. Four more, and the Warriors will have to play a game without the two-time Finals MVP.