Stephen Curry had 38 points and a season-high 11 assists as the Golden State Warriors (5-4) exacted revenge two nights after losing to the Los Angeles Clippers (6-4) with an impressive second-half comeback – erasing a 22-point deficit – to win an electric affair at Chase Center.
Warriors 115-105 Clippers: Curry makes Dubs believe
Curry – 38 points, 11 assists, nine 3PM // Wiggins – 16 pts, 6 rebs
George and Leonard combine for 49 pts on 30 shots (53%FG)
Stephen Curry responded after an inefficient showing in style, carrying Golden State to an unlikely win against the Los Angeles Clippers – who were up 85-63 at the 3:15 mark in the fourth.
He had 13 points on 5-of-17 shooting (1-of-6 3PM) in the reverse fixture two nights ago, hobbling after tweaking his left ankle late to compound a cold shooting night for the two-time MVP.
Head coach Steve Kerr said it best post-game:
“It’s just who Steph is. He’s been doing this for many, many years and it’s one of the reasons he’s a two-time MVP. Usually when he has a tough game, he bounces back with the next one.”
The 32-year-old guard was listed as questionable to feature but started, as did divisive forward Andrew Wiggins (quad) – both proved pivotal in clawing back a heavy deficit in crunch time.
Clippers’ All-Star duo Paul George (25 pts, seven assists) and Kawhi Leonard (24, four ast) played their part but Golden State’s defence improved after a sloppy first-half where they were down 14.
Cutting a huge deficit, one play at a time
Golden State outscored their visitors 34-18 in the final 12 minutes, snapping a four-game losing streak against the Clippers – who held firm despite a promising surge midweek, to win 108-101.
This time around, roles were reversed and Curry took over when his teammates needed his herculean efforts most. Helped by a small-ball lineup as a struggling Kelly Oubre Jr (2-of-7, six pts and five rebs) was sacrificed, he got hot and continued to inspire others down the home straight.
After Kawhi’s two made free throws gave Tyronn Lue’s men the aforementioned 22-point lead, Steph scored or assisted 15 of the Warriors’ next 18 points. That deficit was now cut to 87-81.
In a matter of minutes, the game was suddenly competitive again.
Curry’s playmaking and clutch ability prevails
Curry recorded a joint game-high three steals alongside reserve guard Kent Bazemore and picked the right moment for his final one: snatching Marcus Morris’ bad pass mid-air before dishing a bullet pass to assist Damion Lee’s three – exiting the game at the 10:49 mark down one.
George scored over Bazemore at the 10:39 mark but didn’t score again, while Eric Paschall earned five straight points to give Golden State their first lead since it was 3-2 early on.
Bazemore, Wanamaker and Wiggins all made important shots as the clock ticked down before Curry and Leonard returned to the action with 5:15 to play.
Kawhi scored a tricky jumper over Wiggins but like George, those were his final points of the game. It was Wiggins’ hustle and anticipation, chasing after a missed Curry three, which helped them establish some brief separation on the scoreboard – up five momentarily.
After more resistance, Curry danced through traffic and made a tough shot to restore that lead, which grew after Kawhi missed successive shots. Draymond Green ghosted past Leonard from another Curry assist, before Wiggins and Steph scored threes over George, icing the game.
This win earns Golden State a split of the mini-series against the Clippers, while team spirit and resiliency was praised after an unlikely comeback which should encourage them going forward.
They host the Toronto Raptors (2-6) in the early hours on Monday, who snapped a three-game losing streak with an impressive showing against Sacramento overnight.
As for the Clippers, they entertain a bullish Chicago team who have Zach LaVine and others ready to pounce on any potential vulnerabilities after a narrow defeat by the Lakers last time out.
Questions will re-emerge surrounding their ability to close out games, having squandered multiple promising positions in last year’s playoffs. It’s up to them to silence that outside noise.
Picture source: Yahoo, AP — stats via ESPN