Despite time off from the All-Star break and extra rest for Draymond Green, the Golden State Warriors were clobbered by the Clippers in Los Angeles Thursday night, as off-court antics distracted from the 26-point defeat at Staples Center.
While most of the NBA was on rest this past weekend for the 70th NBA All-Star game in Atlanta, Golden State’s Steph Curry was getting his work in, championing his second Three-Point Contest on his last shot attempt before scorching 12 of the NBA’s 24 best players for 28 points on 10-19 shooting in a win over Team Durant.
That same scoring prowess and wanton sharpshooting did not carry over into Thursday night’s clash with one of the NBA’s best teams, as Curry scored 14 points on 6-16 shooting and 1-8 from long distance. Unfortunately for the Warriors, it was Clippers’ All-Star duo Kawhi Leonard and Paul George who were able to ride the momentum from the weekend showcase into this contest, combining for 45 points and 16 rebounds between the two.
Both teams were looking to erase a three-game losing skid, but it was Los Angeles who looked most primed to do so as the Clippers jumped out to an early lead following a brick barrage from the Warriors to open the game. While the Dubs were able to pull it within two points before the end of the first quarter, the lead quickly blossomed to 16 by half, before the wheels really flew off to begin the third frame.
At one point in the third quarter, as the Warriors’ deficit neared 40, a rare, passionate show of emotion erupted from Curry on the sidelines during a timeout, as the former two-time MVP could be seen on national television clenching his body, standing over his seated teammates and imploring them to dig for more.
Steph was heated during that last timeout 😡 pic.twitter.com/EidCUsygvD— Warriors on NBCS (@NBCSWarriors) March 12, 2021
Warriors star rookie James Wiseman was benched by head coach Steve Kerr for the first half of Thursday night’s matchup as Wiseman was forced to sit out of practice ahead of the game after missing a Covid test over the weekend. The Warriors’ big has shown his learning curve to be relatively steep this season, peppered with moments of study and accountability, and the team, despite clear frustrations from what transpired over the weekend, seems optimistic the rookie will turn it around.
"I just think when you’re 19 and you have so little experience, everything matters and everything comes into play," Kerr said in his postgame Zoom conference. "He’s just a great young man, we’re lucky to have him, and we’re trying to help him become the player that he can become."
No one appeared more disappointed after the loss than Kerr, despite offering a few words of encouragement and optimism after the dismal defeat.
“Early in the year, it felt like we just had a long way to go, so there was frustration, but we knew we were going to get better,” Kerr stated. “I think the frustration was greater tonight because we have proven that we can be competitive and win games, and we’ve made a lot of strides over the last six, seven weeks. And we were not competitive tonight, we did not bring it. I think that was Steph’s frustration.”
While the Warriors will have wanted to get back to playing high-level basketball to tip-off off their second half of the NBA season, the organization brought more entertainment with what was going on off the court than on it, and fell to 10th in the West and 19-19 on the season with the loss.
“That’s my job as a head coach,” Kerr told the media after the game. “I gotta make sure that we find a way to get competitive again, because that was a really disappointing, poor effort tonight.”
“We had an opportunity to set the tone for the second half of the season tonight and obviously didn’t do that, and we gotta do something about that going into the next game,” Curry said in his interview.
The Warriors will have a chance to put this one behind them against the Utah Jazz at Chase Center this Sunday afternoon at 1 p.m. PDT.
Top Image: Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images