Curry, Warriors wallop Clippers
LOS ANGELES — The Golden State Warriors used the challenge of a road game against one of the better defensive teams in the NBA to hit the reset button.
Stephen Curry scored 31 points and Kevin Durant added 19 on Monday as the Warriors cruised past the Los Angeles Clippers 141-113 a day after falling at home to the Detroit Pistons.
The end of October used to be the traditional start to the NBA season, so Warriors coach Steve Kerr simply acted as if he were back in his playing days when he spoke to his team.
“That looked like us,” Kerr said, finding the proper time for motivation after his team lost three of its first seven games. “I told the guys that tomorrow is Halloween, which means that tonight was opening night. Training camp is over, so we’re back to being us.”
There was plenty of Warriors familiarity in this one, like the fact that it was Golden State’s 11th consecutive victory over its Western Conference rival, with the Clippers last winning in the series on Christmas Day 2014.
Danilo Gallinari scored 19 points for the Clippers (4-2), while Lou Williams added 17 and Blake Griffin had 16. DeAndre Jordan scored 10 points and grabbed a game-high 11 rebounds for Los Angeles.
The Clippers took their second consecutive defeat after opening the season 4-0. They lost to the Pistons a day before the Warriors did.
Both the Clippers’ and the Warriors’ defeats against Detroit looked similar. They were both tight battles until the Pistons pulled away in the final quarter. It suggested that the Monday battle between a pair of teams with something to prove could be entertaining. The Warriors quickly made sure the home crowd would not be entertained.
After a competitive first quarter, Golden State (5-3) built a 17-point lead at halftime and was barely threatened. The Clippers cut the lead to single digits multiple times in the third quarter, but the Warriors pulled away with ease.
“We always have confidence going into every game that we will play our best, and so far this season that hasn’t happened,” Curry said. “Tonight, I think our defensive effort got us to where we wanted to be, and we kind of controlled the game from the start. We took care of the basketball for the most part.”
After the game, Kerr might have been talking in jest about Halloween, but before it, he laid out a task for his players.
“He gave us a challenge to kind of win the possession and the field-goal-attempt game tonight, however we can get that done,” Curry said. “I think in the first half we were pretty solid and we got to the free-throw line more. We played Warriors basketball, and now we have to sustain it.”
The Warriors once again showed how adept they are at sharing the ball. They had 37 assists to the Clippers’ 21, with three players — Curry, Klay Thompson and Draymond Green — recording six assists each, while Andre Iguodala had five.
“We’ve had the highest rate of offensive efficiency, but our defense and our turnovers have been kind of our Achilles’ heel so far,” Curry said. “Scoring the ball hasn’t been a problem. It’s just the other things we need to do to be a well-rounded team and the team we expect to be.”
Green added 16 points and nine rebounds while Thompson contributed 15 points and five boards. JaVale McGee came off the Warriors’ bench to score 10 points.
“(The Warriors) do a good job of moving the ball, but we knew that going into the game,” Clippers coach Doc Rivers said. “It’s funny, it’s rare when you look at the box score and have 113 points offensively and think, ‘We didn’t play good offense tonight.’ I thought it was night and day watching the difference in (ball) movement tonight.”
Curry was 7-for-11 from 3-point range, including one at the third-quarter buzzer when he raced down court and pulled up at the top of the arc.
Golden State hit 14 of 29 3-points attempts (48.3 percent), while Los Angeles shot 10 of 25 (40 percent) from long range.
“We need to be better defensively,” Griffin said. “We gave up too many easy baskets. They ran their offense and got open shots and layups. They pushed in transition. I think the transition points at halftime were 18-4, which is never a good thing.”
NOTES: Clippers F Blake Griffin made two 3-pointers Monday and now has multiple 3-pointers in six consecutive games, the longest such streak of his career. ... Los Angeles G Austin Rivers scored just five points as a starter Monday after entering the game averaging 17.3 points per game in his first three contests as a starter. ... Warriors F Kevin Durant saw his streak of consecutive 20-point games to start the season end at seven after scoring 19 on Monday. ... Warriors G Klay Thompson made just one 3-pointer, but it was enough to extend his 3-pointer streak to 62 games, currently the longest active run in the NBA.