Another giant lead, another nail-biter for the Warriors.
The Warriors on Tuesday blew a 24-point lead to the Sacramento Kings, saw their 18-point lead cut to four Thursday against the Los Angeles Clippers and then led by as much as 22 points before their lead dropped to two points late in the third quarter Saturday against the Clippers at Crypto.com Arena.
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The Warriors entered the fourth quarter up by seven points and led by only one with two-plus minutes to go. Paul George then hit a 3-pointer with 8.9 seconds left to give the Clippers their first lead of the night, which they held onto for a 113-112 Warriors loss.
Golden State made 29 shots off 19 assists in the first half and was called for three fouls through 24 minutes. The Warriors then were outscored by 20 points in the second half, fouling the Clippers and watching their lead whittle away.
Draymond Green missed a corner 3-pointer for the win but shot great before then. Green scored a season-high 21 points on 8-of-15 shooting and was 4-of-8 shooting behind the 3-point line. This marked his first 20-point regular-season game since Christmas 2019 and his most points in a regular-season game since the 2017-18 NBA season.
Steph Curry scored 22 points and was the only Warriors starter with a positive plus/minus rating. Moses Moody scored 21 points in his second straight start while Klay Thompson added 17.
Golden State Warriors
The Clippers also crushed the Warriors in the paint, 56-38.
Here are three takeaways from the Warriors falling to 9-11 on the season.
The Clippers foolishly kept letting Green shoot wide-open 3-pointers to begin the game, and he kept making them pay – chirping louder each time.
Not once. Not twice. Not three times. But four times within the first eight minutes.
The Warriors made seven 3s in the first quarter, and Green was responsible for four of them. Ty Lue’s defense kept sagging off Green, giving him ample room to sink shots. He missed just once from deep in the first quarter.
Green’s fourth three of the first quarter had the Warriors so hyped that Klay Thompson was given a technical foul for coming off the bench and celebrating on the floor.
Green’s four 3-pointers in the first quarter also tied his career high for 3s in a single quarter, doing so within the first eight minutes.
Šarić In, Looney Out
Steve Kerr for the ninth time this season, and in the fifth straight game, trotted out a different starting lineup. Moody started again for an injured Wiggins, but on Saturday, Kerr opted to bring Kevon Looney off the bench and started Dario Šarić.
Šarić, coming into the night, was averaging more points in his three starts than his 16 games off the bench. Looney only has started the game as a reserve twice, but was more of a scoring threat in both. A 5-0 Clippers run with Green and Looney sharing the floor showed exactly why Kerr made the change.
Šarić brings much more spacing than Looney to the Warriors’ offense, but Saturday wasn’t his best game in particular. He scored six points on 3-of-7 shooting and missed both of his 3-point attempts. Looney, seven points and eight rebounds, was a plus-3 off the bench. His eight rebounds led the bench and were second only to Green’s nine.
But neither were on the floor down the stretch.
All that matters is the Warriors blew yet another big lead, making their flight home from Los Angeles much more frustrating than it needed to be. Who was on the court most matters, too.
Curry’s 36 minutes and 36 seconds played were the most by any Warrior. The second-most belonged to rookie Brandin Podziemski, who played only five seconds fewer than Curry. Moody played 31-plus minutes, and both he and Podziemski were in Kerr’s closing lineup.
Moody took advantage of being in the starting lineup yet again, and took a game-high 10 free throws. Podziemski continues to do it all, scoring 12 points, along with six rebounds, three assists, two blocks and one steal. It’s time to make a declaration.
Podziemski is the Warriors’ best rookie defensively since Green. He’s everywhere, at all times.
Even when the Warriors get back to full strength, Moody and Podziemski will have to be part of the rotation.