The Warriors blew the Clippers out, and they didn’t even shoot that well. It was a thorough domination.
The Clippers’ home game against the Warriors was a litmus test, a chance to prove they were a worthy playoff contender to the league’s most terrifying team, and they failed miserably. And while a 115-98 final score is awful, it actually could have been even worse.
Kevin Durant made his first three-pointer in the Warriors-Clippers game with 6:27 left in the third quarter. Durant and Stephen Curry had combined to miss 10 three-point attempts during the first 30 minutes of the game. When Durant’s shot finally swished in from 25 feet, the Warriors were already up by 24 points anyway.
Golden State didn’t light up the Clippers on Wednesday with their shooting, and it was a blowout anyway. Los Angeles — with the league’s fourth-best record, generally considered the team with the best chance to beat the Warriors in the West — couldn’t keep up despite Durant, Curry and Klay Thompson shooting 20-of-51 (39 percent) and 4-of-19 (21 percent) from deep on the evening.
This is the danger of the Warriors. They can hit 20 three-pointers in a game with ease, but they can also score 115 on an off shooting night (or 149 with only four players scoring double figures). Their defense might not be league-best anymore, but it’s still damn close at its best — especially suffocating when their small ball lineups switch everything with pterodactyl-like wingspans across the floor.
Look at the ball movement that led to the one three that Durant did hit in the middle of the third quarter. How do you stop this?
The Warriors average 12 made threes per game on about 39 percent shooting, and they ended up finishing this game with seven on 30 attempts (23 percent). They led by 19 points after the first quarter despite that, and kept a 20-point margin nearly the entire second half. All the early season concerns about the team not coming together have quickly fallen aside, and Golden State looks every bit the juggernaut we expected.
Los Angeles could still be a valid playoff foil for the Warriors this postseason — they have personnel that match better than nearly any other team in the league. But with the way this game went, it’s hard to see how that would happen right now. The Warriors thoroughly outplayed them, and on a different shooting evening for Golden State, it could have been even worse.