The NBA schedule for Wednesday night gave us what was shaping up to be a stellar matchup between the Los Angeles Clippers and Golden State Warriors, two of the hottest and most exciting teams in the league this season.
On paper the matchup appeared as if it would go down to the wire but the Warriors young guns had other plans, jumping out to a 33-24 first quarter lead and never looking back on their way to a 115-94 victory. And the Warriors dominant performance against the Clippers should serve as an indication of what this team is capable of, when healthy.
Stephen Curry put on an absolute shooting clinic against Chris Paul by scoring a game-high 31 points on 11-19 shooting, including 6-8 from three-point range. Curry also connected on eight of his first 10 attempts on his way to a 25-point first half. Second year wing Klay Thompson chipped in 19 points on 5-9 from three. David Lee was excellent all-around with 24 points, 13 rebounds and seven assists. Rookie Harrison Barnes even reached double figures.
A healthy Curry has been a key component in the Warriors success this season; the versatile PG is averaging a career-high 20.4 points per game along with 6.5 assists and 4.5 rebounds a night while shooting .456 from long range, while also playing in every game. Curry’s surgically-repaired ankles appear to be holding up just fine, allowing him to be the lead guard the Warriors envisioned when they decided to extend his contract after trading away Monta Ellis last season.
Golden State also features one of the NBA’s most underrated benches, with a nice mix of veterans in Jarrett Jack and Carl Landry to compliment young promising rookie Draymond Green. All of the Warriors players just seem to know how to play the game the right way, and that’s a testament to Mark Jackson’s leadership in his the second season of his first head coaching gig.
The 22-10 Warriors clearly have enough talent to maintain their current ranking of fifth in the Western Conference. Health is and has been the only thing holding them back, and so far this season the Warriors have been fortunate enough to avoid the injury bug (except for Andrew Bogut, who has missed 28 games and counting). With their home-court advantage in Oracle Arena and cohesive mix of youth and veteran talent, Golden State is one team no one will be looking to face come playoff time, something the Warriors haven’t experienced since 2006-2007. Things done changed.