SAN FRANCISCO – The Warriors made sure to do everything in their power to prevent another giant lead from slipping away two nights after their epic collapse to the Kings. Leading by as many as 18 points Thursday night at Chase Center, the Warriors held off the Los Angeles Clippers and came out on top, 120-114.
Steph Curry, Klay Thompson and Draymond Green enjoyed a night where the date already was celebrating the Warriors’ Big Three. The legendary trio combined to score 61 points to get the Warriors within one win of being back to .500.
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But Golden State’s victory was about the collective whole, and playing a much smarter brand of basketball. The Warriors saw seven players score in double figures – four being starters and three coming from the bench.
They handed out 30 assists for the sixth time this season, and had 11 fewer turnovers than their most recent loss.
Here are three takeaways from the Warriors improving to 9-10 on the season.
Golden State Warriors
Numerically, the day belonged to two of the best shooters in basketball history and one of the game’s greatest defensive players. So of course Green (eight points) was Golden State’s leading scorer after the first quarter, sinking two 3-pointers, as well as making both his free throws. Thompson racked up seven points in the opening frame, and Curry was at six – making both his tries from deep.
It appeared Thursday night’s matchup between two California foes was going to be another tough shooting night for Thompson. Entering the fourth quarter, Thompson had made only four of his 13 shots and was 1 of 5 beyond the arc. Then came the most important minutes of the night.
Thompson scored 10 straight points in the first three-plus minutes of the fourth quarter, scoring from long range and muscling up on the Clippers.
Curry finished as the Warriors’ top scorer, giving them 26 points on 8-of-15 shooting to go with eight assists and seven rebounds. Thompson tallied 24 points on 8-of-18 shooting, giving him 20 or more points in four of his last five games. Green scored 13 points on 4-of-8 shooting, and also had five rebounds and five assists, setting his teammates up and disrupting the Clippers’ offense.
Next Man Up
Down Andrew Wiggins, Chris Paul and Gary Payton II to injuries, several Warriors had to step into some big shoes in front of Dub Nation. The biggest opportunity was given to Moses Moody, who was inserted into the starting lineup after being inexplicably taken out in the fourth quarter while on a heater against the Kings two nights prior.
Moody entered the night a perfect 8-of-8 shooting and 4 of 4 on 3-point attempts over his previous two games. His shooting started off slow this time around, missing his first four shot attempts before finishing strong against Leonard.
In his third start of the season, the same amount he was given over 63 regular-season games a year ago, Moody made his next six shots and ended the night having 13 points on 6-of-10 shooting.
The Warriors’ roster being thin also meant more playing time for rookie Brandin Podziemski. Immediately, the 20-year-old’s impact was felt. Podziemski did a bit of everything in the first half, and his 10 points had him tied for being the Warriors’ leading scorer. Podziemski in the first half was a plus-16 in 14 minutes off the bench, going 4 of 5 from the field, draining each of his two 3-pointers, and he came down with three rebounds.
One game after receiving a DNP (Did Not Play), Podziemski nearly had a double-double, scoring 13 points and snatching eight rebounds.. He also wasn’t alone in rising to the occasion.
Jonathan Kuminga deserves ample credit for an outstanding performance. Kuminga was a game-high plus-15 behind 17 points, six rebounds and three assists.
Keeping It Simple
Basketball, like the game of life, becomes much easier when mistakes are minimized. The Warriors were reminded the hard way in Sacramento when their 20 turnovers led to 26 Kings points, and Golden State was whistled for 31 fouls, leading to 42 Kings free throw attempts and 27 points at the line. The first quarter looked like lessons were learned.
The Warriors in the first 12 minutes of the game committed two turnovers and were whistled for two fouls, one of which didn’t sit well with Curry.
Costly mistakes continued to come few and far between for the home team. They turned the ball over twice in the second quarter, three times in the third and two in the fourth. They were hit with five fouls in the second quarter, but six in the third and five in the fourth.
The Clippers scored 11 points off turnovers and had 18 points at the free throw line, a major difference from what the Warriors allowed the Kings to do.