Even though the Los Angeles Clippers kinda stole the who with their upside down jerseys and black socks, the Golden State Warriors were at the center of attention and especially Stephen Curry, unleashing his full long range shooting ability to lead his team in a 118-97 series, making it a tied series at 2-2.
Curry started the game by hitting 5-of-5 from beyond the arc and ended up scoring 33 points, including 7 3-pointers, 7 rebounds and 7 assists. He is the first player since Mookie Blaylock to have 7-7-7 like he had in a postseason game. Curry was only 28.5% from beyond the arc through the three previous games in the series, averaging “only” 18 points. Curry scored 27 points on 16 jump shots, 14 of them contested. Obviously, it didn’t really matter.
Andre Iguodala had a big night offensively, something we’ve rarely come to expect from the veteran small forward, who was having a rough season with his shooting. He scored 22 points on 6-of-10 from the field, as the Warriors moved the ball better than they have in the previous three games, making 55.4% of their shots from the field and knocking down 46.9% of their three-point attempts.
Now was this the Clippers breaking down due to the whole Sterling affair? Hard to say. The Clippers did let the game slip away from them in the first quarter, but they didn’t really give up the rest of the way. On the other hand, Doc Rivers made some interesting comments after the game about finding it difficult to motivate his players at the moment, and not feeling like the Staples center is a home to them anymore. He might be speaking from the heat, but he might also be playing some mind games.
The Warriors shouldn’t care about that. Racist owner or not, they don’t really like the Clippers anyway. We’ve talked more than once on the importance of Harrison Barnes and Draymond Green in evening out the size problems they have with Andrew Bogut injured. The 10 minutes with Jermaine O’Neal on the floor were very bad, but Green did an excellent job in the starting lineup, doing a lot more than just the four points he scored.
Harrison Barnes came through from the bench, having a good series so far, scoring 15 points on 6-of-7 from the field. The Clippers have the size advantage with Griffin and DeAndre Jordan supposedly ruling the paint, but they couldn’t get comfortable down low, also probably trying to eat away at the big lead with long range shots. Their average shot distance was almost 1.5 feet further than the Warriors. The Clippers took 22 shots from 10 feet or closer, tied for their second-fewest such attempt in a game this season.
With the 21-point loss, the 3rd worse in Clippers postseason history, the team failed once again to record their first ever three-game winning streak in the playoffs. The question that remains: Was this an actual aftershock of the Sterling scandal, which means that this team isn’t going to win anymore in this postseason with this huge elephant in the room?
Or perhaps this was just a case of inconsistency and these incredible playoffs, which have guessing at every corner (except for the Miami series), and that the Warriors, despite their reliance on Curry and not having their starting center, keeping finding ways to beat a supposedly better rival? Game five will probably answer that for us.