The Golden State Warriors finally ran into a worthy opponent, but even the Los Angeles Clippers couldn’t stop the Dubs freight train from carrying on with its undefeated start to the season, this time doing it with guile and simply executing a better game plan in the final minutes, while the Clips had another late-game meltdown.
A Paul Pierce free throw with 7:26 in the game opened up a nine point lead for the Clippers, but a five minute stretch without a field goal as Jamal Crawford and Paul Pierce took shots they shouldn’t have, while on the other side Harrison Barnes and Stephen Curry played fantastic basketball turned the game on its head. With 1:16 left in the game a DeAndre Jordan gave the Clippers the lead again (106-105) as the Warriors couldn’t breakaway for good, but Curry answered right back with a 3-pointer. Chris Paul missed two shots, which led us to a finish of free throws, and it’s impossible to make the Warriors lose that way.
We had a lot of game-plan mistakes throughout the game. That’s the difference right now between us and them, them being together and them executing.
Don’t make any mistake; the Clippers don’t suddenly feel inferior because they lost 112-108. On the contrary; they probably feel they let the game slip away from them. Like they let an entire series slip away from them in the postseason against the Rockets. Those things don’t just happen out of thin air. There’s a reason behind them, and it’s not just the players being mentally weak or something. Doc Rivers, who loves throwing his guys under the bus when he makes mistakes, makes bad decisions too, which is even easier to spot as the Warriors are playing without their head coach even on the sidelines (might be out until the All-Star break).
Too many minutes of the wrong players (Crawford and Pierce especially) might have been the costliest mistake, although that’s obviously the hindsight genius in me writing this. The Clippers couldn’t stop the Curry MVP machine (31 points, 7-of-11 from three) and paid for every mistake in the final 8 minutes with poor transition defense. The Clippers are no longer undefeated, and although talent-wise they’re a match for the Warriors, they’re behind on a few other important levels, including coaching.