Clippers survive Curry’s 50-point sport in win vs. Warriors

Slipping down a San Francisco baseline previous Phoenix’s Chris Paul late Monday, Stephen Curry claimed a basket and the ultimate phrase.

“This ain’t 2014 no more,” the Golden State star instructed his longtime combatant as cameras rolled.

Paul later claimed he didn’t know the reference, however on his podcast, Curry’s Warriors teammate Draymond Green defined its laden which means — that it had been that lengthy since Paul might be thought of the higher participant.

The comment was uttered inside Chase Center. It was felt within the hearts of the Clippers.

They responded Wednesday night time in a 134-126 win, surviving a 50-point effort by Curry thanks partly to 30 by Kawhi Leonard to stretch their successful streak to 4.

Nine years in the past, headlined by Paul at level guard, the Lob City-era Clippers had been ascendant. Even fallout from former proprietor Donald Sterling’s suspension on the eve of the postseason was not sufficient to cease them from successful a first-round sequence in opposition to Curry and Golden State.

But whereas the Clippers by no means recover from the postseason hump, Golden State has summited the NBA’s mountaintop 4 instances since. The 2014 sequence between Paul and the Clippers and Curry’s Warriors stays the final seven-game sequence misplaced by the Warriors to a Western Conference opponent. Even amid a Jekyll and Hyde 2022-23 season during which the Warriors are 29-7 at residence and 7-27 on the street, and even with Andrew Wiggins away from the workforce for almost two months for undisclosed personal issues, the Warriors stay the usual in opposition to which all West challengers are measured, a online game’s remaining boss lurking behind Curry’s ever-present potential for an offensive eruption.

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And so the groups’ assembly Wednesday at Arena represented a psychic take a look at.

It additionally was, extra importantly, a realistic one: With the groups getting into with similar 36-33 data and the Clippers needing a win to maintain alive hopes of claiming a tiebreaker, Curry, Klay Thompson and Jordan Poole arrived as the right stress take a look at to gauge whether or not the Clippers and the improved protection that underpinned their three-game successful streak had been for actual.

For three quarters, a sample developed: Golden State successful the early minutes behind back-cuts and shotmaking, forcing a fast timeout by Clippers coach Tyronn Lue. Then the Clippers stabilized and pulled away, normally a product of their protection, earlier than being reeled in by Curry and the Warriors for a frantic end.

When Ivica Zubac tipped away a Curry cross in site visitors late within the second quarter, Paul George pushed upcourt in transition and lobbed a cross on the rim dunked by Leonard for an eight-point lead.

Clippers’ Paul George (13) celebrates his 3-point basket with Ivica Zubac (40) as Golden State Warriors’ Draymond Green (23) walks to the workforce’s bench for a timeout through the second half on Wednesday at Arena.

(Jae C. Hong / Associated Press)

Following Lue’s timeout two minutes into the third quarter after a 7-0 Warriors run, the Clippers started a 16-4 run helped once more by their protection. When George rebounded Green’s missed layup, he discovered Eric Gordon for a fast 27-foot three-pointer. When Zubac slid over to swat Kevon Looney’s layup try, Russell Westbrook grabbed the free ball and located Gordon once more, this time for a 24-foot three-pointer for a 10-point lead. Gordon had began the second half after beginning ahead Marcus Morris Sr. was ejected late within the second quarter for hitting Green on the pinnacle whereas positioning for a rebound.

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They had been reminders that probably the most placing factor about their turnaround was not solely {that a} protection that had sagged since late December had returned, however had reappeared in crucial moments.

Since permitting a season-high 51 factors in 1 / 4 to Memphis throughout their third-quarter avalanche, the Clippers had held opponents to 40% capturing or worse in seven of their final 9 quarters getting into Wednesday. And Memphis, Toronto and New York had shot a mixed 31% in fourth quarters of these three straight Clippers wins.

The Clippers, ever cautious with workloads, haven’t all the time tasked their famous person two-way duo of Leonard and George to protect opponents’ most harmful offensive gamers for lengthy stretches. That modified Wednesday.

“They got it tonight,” Lue stated.

But as has been the case for a lot of the final decade, Curry stood between the Clippers and what they needed.

Starting along with his layup with 4:51 to play within the third quarter, the NBA’s all-time three-point king scored Golden State’s subsequent 12 factors, the amount rising when he a lot as touched the ball and exploding when a pair of circus pictures fell late within the quarter as he surpassed 41 factors. The Warriors shot 65% within the second quarter and 60% within the third as Curry made 9 of 11 pictures.

The Clippers’ lead grew to 12 to open the fourth quarter, fueled by Terance Mann doing every part, all over the place, unexpectedly — accumulating two offensive rebounds on a possession he ended with a basket and foul, then drawing an offensive foul on Golden State earlier than flexing. Then Curry checked again in. In a 72-second span, he ripped off six factors and assisted on a Thompson layup, the lead all the way down to seven with half the ultimate quarter to play.

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The Clippers’ readiness to complete the job was once more in query, the onus falling on their protection to offer any respiratory room, and the power of George, with 5 fouls, to keep away from being despatched off.

With three defenders keyed in on Curry, he discovered an open teammate for a nook three-pointer, then one other for a rolling layup, then hit 50 with a floater made attainable by a pump-fake.