141 in an NBA game. 12 turnovers in a Warriors game. 60 percent shooting through an entire half. Actual defense, closeouts, weakside rotations, and team rebounding. For the first time all season, the Golden State Warriors put together a full game effort and emerged from Los Angeles with another crushing blowout of the Clippers to the tune of a 141-113.
Even though the Warriors flew in the night before and skipped shootaround, there was no chance they’d let go of an opportunity to put clown shoes on the Clippers. It’s what they’ve been doing Steve Kerr took over the team and it wasn’t going to stop now despite an awful loss to the Detroit Pistons the night before.
Speaking of Kerr, after the turnover-filled affair against Detroit, decided to give a little more thought to the rotation in terms of fit. And the players decided to focus and try harder at the things they’ve perfected long ago. For Kerr, who in pregame said he debated whether to lose it on his own team, certainly made the right choice.
In the game against the Pistons, they had deactivated Jordan Bell, ended the half with weird lineup combinations that have never played with each other, and mostly mashed players together never before seen. I don’t think we’ll ever see lineups with Nick Young and JaVale McGee with Klay Thompson running the playmaker role much again.
Kerr left Steph and KD in to finish the first quarter, one where they turned the ball over just 3 times. He then started the second with a defensively-focused lineup of Draymond, Klay, West, Iguodala, and McCaw. Instead of the up-and-down nature of Young and the lack of playmakers, this brings back the tough lineups the Warriors kept leads afloat before Steph came back in. Even though they lost 3 points off the lead in the six minutes, it foreshadowed Kerr’s thought process for the rest of the season.
Then Jordan Bell came into the game. For a guy that was not active the last two games and with whispers of getting outplayed by Kevon Looney in practice, he put on a show. Like Draymond when he got into the league, you can just tell he knows where he needs to be, and is able to think a step ahead, anticipating, instead of reacting. That leads to another high-IQ player on a team full of them. And he hit a J to cap it off. He’s going to become this team’s starting center next year, and if anyone but Kerr had their say, he would probably be that guy right now.
This was the first game all season the Warriors put together a strong half. And in the second half, they topped it off but completely a full Warriors effort, running up the score, filling up the box score, and disrespecting the opponent by throwing 15-foot alley oops to JaVale McGee, Steph transition 3s, and a complete defensive masterpiece on Blake Griffin. That matchup still belongs fully to Draymond Green.
The Clippers had yet to allow 100 points in a single game all season. The Warriors dropped 107, capped by a classic Steph wiggle into a bomb to end the third. It took a while, but the Warriors are back.