By: Kevyn Kovesdy
A day before their game against the Clippers, a classic matchup always proving to be memorable, Stephen Curry, Draymond Green, and Andrew Bogut joined up with SportsCenter to answer some questions, have a few laughs, and joke about ‘Blake-it is’ and ‘Steph’s MVP campaigning’. The interview itself is a perfect example of the identify of the Warriors this year and the atmosphere Coach Kerr has established. The Warriors having their best season in years remain relaxed and calm under the momentous pressure of keeping up their stellar performance come playoff time.
During the interview, the Warrior stars were loose and calm having some fun with the SC anchors before the game. Steph was asked what he thought about his teammates sitting next to him and he answered in the genuine, up-and-coming, baby-faced assassin way, we’ve come to expect from him.
” They bring it every night; both ends of the floor. Physical presence, and uh, they hold it down,” (on Draymond and Bogut). – Stephen Curry
Draymond was jokingly asked if Stephen did a lot of campaigning in the locker room and with a smile on his face he answered with, “ Nah, I do the talking for him off the court. I campaign for him.” Draymond whose known for being a playful, trash talker added on saying, “We just roll like that.” Indeed they do. The Warriors have developed their own style of play, their own character, their own personality, and just roll with it.
“Everyone is individually better than before this year. We want to be the top dog now.” – Stephen Curry
The Most Valuable Player, Most valuable Defensive Player, and Most Valuable Aussie, as proclaimed by the SportsCenter anchors, finished off the interview in good spirits being ask if they would be rested against the Clippers. Draymond jokingly mentioned that he would be sitting out with Blake-itis, “the fear of Blake,” and indeed he was out for the game, but for inflammation in both shins.
Warriors (61-13) 110 vs. 106 Clippers (49-26)
Stephen Curry 27 Chris Paul 27
Klay Thompson 25 JJ Reddick 14
Harrison Barnes 1 Matt Barnes 8
David Lee 17 Blake Griffin 40
Andrew Bogut 6 DeAndre Jordan 5
B: Mo Speights 17 B: Austin Rivers 7
Leandro Barbossa 7
(Out: Draymond Green) (Out:Jamal Crawford)
The game started out very poor for the Warriors. They were not really able to generate any offense or close down on defense which led them to fall back 0-7 early on in the first quarter on account of a Matt Barnes 3 and two Blake Griffin buckets. Griffin continued to be good through the first quarter hitting four out of his first 5 field goals. The Dubs did have some nice plays with a lovely flick on from Andrew Bogut to a back-door cutting Harrison Barnes to lay it in as he lost his defender, Chris Paul, who got stuck in the 7 foot Aussie. A few plays latter Barnes was fouled hard by Griffin on a fast break as Blake came crashing down with both arms extended as Harrison tried to get the basket. Although it look rough, typical for a Warriors-Clippers matchup, it was ruled a common foul and Harrison went 1/2 on the following free throws. Stephen Curry found it hard to get it going as he was being constantly doubled up for most offensive possessions, but he was able to splice through a Paul and Griffin double team and head to the basket with Bogut tipping in the missed lay up. After that the Warriors continued to struggle offensively against a solid defense display the Clippers, forced to run much of their offense through Draymond’s fill in, David Lee. Steph wasn’t really able to get any space, Klay was missing shots, and Barnes was absent for most possessions as well. They were missing Draymond’s presence both defensively and offensively. On the other hand, the Clippers were confident offensively with Blake hitting everything, especially his wide open jumpers the Dubs refused to close down, and Paul was dribbling around nonchalantly. Matt Barnes looked solid as well. At the end of one LA was up by 12 shooting at 56%. Steve Kerr commented on the first quarter saying, “their effort is better than ours. They’re playing for something.”
In the 2nd quarter the Warriors bench unit was able to make stops against the Clippers Bench but were still unable to find a way to get going on offense. They did manage to turn defense into offense as Shaun Livingston had a beautiful steal on “Big Baby” Glen Davis in the low-post, leading to a wide open Leandro Barbosa trey. Harrison Barnes also made is presence felt on the glass grabbing a handful of defensive rebounds. We saw the continued variation of Steve Kerr’s line-ups as Speights featured together with Bogut for the first time in what seem liked ages. Blake Griffin began to cool off in the 2nd as well, leading the Warriors to within 9 in the last 4 minutes. On the opposite side the Baby-faced Assassin was able to get it going escaping the double team and draining a ridiculous catch and release three while being shadowed by Chris Paul. Curry followed about the ridiculousness by completely dropping Paul on a nice little double behind the back, then sinking the jumper; a play you’ll be surely seeing on SportsCenter’s Top Ten for a while. The bench went completely crazy, jumping all around, holding each other back, and the hype man himself, Barbosa, fell over on rookie James Michael McAdoo in celebration. The Clippers were playing tense and the Warriors were playing loose. The Dubs went into halftime with a 7 point deficit.
The second half started out in favor of the Clippers with JJ Reddick heating up quickly and hitting an open 3 early on. He did cool off really quickly and instead Klay Thompson turned it on. He started out hitting a jumper with an and one against Griffin and the hit a 3 to bring the game to just a 3 point difference. Thompson would go on to make four of his first four shots that quarter. In the meantime Bogut set up Curry on a nice backdoor play a few seconds before Jordan almost stole the ball off Bogues. Jordan did end up getting involved in an interesting Clippers basket were he weirdly rebounded the ball hitting it off the floor and Blake somehow collected it and slammed it home. On the opposite end, Curry continued his destruction of Chris Paul once again wrecking his ankles and sinking a deep 2. Klay would move on to go 5/5 tieing the game at 67 a piece and the Splash Brothers would just completely take over the third quarter getting red-hot and staying red hot.The dubs started shutting down the Clippers offensively as well and the resurgence of the offense continued as Steph shot over CP3 to get the Dubs first lead in the game at 72-71. Chris Paul lost his cool and picked up a foul reaching in of Curry in frustration. The confidence he had shown in the first quarter was gone. In fact the whole spectrum had shifted with the Warriors playing confidently and becoming the dominant force on both sides of the ball. Nevertheless, the game continued to be hectic with just a constant back and forth between the two clubs. Blake Griffin started feeling it again and made an effort to put his team on the back. The Warriors unfazed, continued their dominance with Festus Ezeli getting a wide open dunk, then Mo Speights posterizing Davis.
In the fourth quarter Speights continued to be active off the bench even as tempers flared on both sides. The entire bench unit was solid in itself with Barbosa providing energy and Andre Iguodala providing calmness and leadership. Klay never turned off what he started in the third quarter and hit a crazy pivot, step back jumper. The game started to thaw out a bit and the two sides found themselves tied up at 98 with 4 minutes to go, then tied up at a 100 with 3 minutes to go. Statistically the game continued to be tight, but the Warriors were playing much better. A back-court violation and some free throws sealed the Dubs 110-106 victory reaching their 27th road win and 61st win overall on the year. Overall it was a thrilling game with again many memorable moments, although seeing a Green vs. Griffin matchup would’ve been fun. The Warriors put away the Clippers for at least until the playoffs and are now on to the Phoenix Suns.
Cover Image: By Keith Allison from Hanover, MD, USA (Stephen Curry) [CC BY-SA 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons