Once upon a time, this was a clash of behemoths, of superstars, hatred, and the undying thirst to upend each other in a battle for California hoops supremacy. In the present, frigid world of 2017, the matchup is more a premeditated affair between a father and son in the driveway. Start slow, create a little bit of a deficit, mock the other team while you’re at it, then find something to pump yourself up before going on to demolish the rest of the way. In the 123-113 victory the Golden State Warriors against the Los Angeles Clippers, the blueprint to this level of dominance has become downright familial.
They came out of the All-Star Break goofing around, collectively mailing in the first half. Steph came out jacking up shots but stopped to get the rest of the team involved. Draymond Green turned the ball over 5 times. Kevin Durant hurt his pinky and left the game. Klay Thompson held the offense together for a bit but the bench fell apart before culminating into a fiery Dray-Kerr argument. Just about anything that could look ugly, showed in a first half that exposed as many weaknesses as the Warriors could possibly have.
Then in peak Warriors fashion, they came out in the third quarter and completely annihilated them to the tune of 50 points in 12 minutes. Durant nailed 3 3s in a row, Klay came off screens from all angles to stabilize the downtime between explosions, and Steph capped it off with a peak Steph dribble around and jack it up prayer at the buzzer. There was finally a good Warriors chant that reverberated through the crowd and a good enough MVP cheer for Curry at the line.
After the game, Austin Rivers surmised that they beat themselves rather than the Warriors beating them. His dad stated the issue was not the defense but more than they couldn’t score. At this point, it doesn’t really matter what the issues are at any given moment or game for the Clippers. They simply aren’t able to gain an advantage at any facet of the game. Even with Green in foul trouble and out of sorts all game, Blake Griffin made 3 shots. Even when the Warriors went on a run, Doc Rivers decided to keep riding it out to the tune of a blowout. Even with a revamped bench, the likes of David West and Shaun Livingston still sonned the Raymond Felton and Brandon Basses of the world.
It was another old-fashioned beatdown, the 10th straight victory by the Warriors over the Clippers. It isn’t a rivalry anymore and hasn’t been for a while. Reminiscent of the battles in front of the lawn with you and your dad growing up, the Warriors decided when to start goofing around, when to start trying, and when to ultimately decide that the game is over.