The Golden State Warriors showed up in Game 1 against the Los Angeles Clippers and proved they can hang with some of the best in the league, but the Clippers in Game 2 revealed why they’re on a completely different level.
The Warriors have relied heavily on the scoring of their two star guards, Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson, and the decent support from role players like Draymond Green, David Lee and Andre Iguodala. Those role players played a mediocre game, but it was the complete shutdown of Curry and Thompson that led the Clippers to a blowout win that started from tip-off.
Curry went 0-for-10 combing the fourth quarter of Game 1 and the first quarter of Game 2 against the Clippers. Halfway through the second-quarter, he had one shot attempt. He didn’t knock down a three-pointer until the middle of the third quarter. In short, Curry was a non-factor.
Thompson picked up three fouls in the first quarter. No matter who you want to blame for that, he might as well have been injured. The Warriors have no scoring without Curry and Thompson, which to be fair, most teams would struggle to score if they were without their two best players. However, Thompson’s issue was a fluke, but the way the Clippers owned Curry was not.
The Clippers made Curry obsolete by way of aggressive defense and taking the ball at him on offense. Forcing a great offensive player to play defense on every possession is sometimes the best kind of defense on a star. It wears them down and gets in their head, and for a shooter like Curry, it’s all about the head game.
As for the Clippers’ offense, Blake Griffin was unstoppable, scoring from all over the court in a variety of ways. It was this kind of game that would make Griffin a clear third in MVP votes this season. Also, that bench for the Clippers is outstanding. Not only do the bench players come in and make things happen, like Jamal Crawford’s microwave-like instant offense, but the second unit has almost as much chemistry as the starters. The ball movement, spacing and scoring from the bench is a testament to the players, but Doc Rivers needs a lot of the credit in that department.
The Clippers beat the Warriors by 40 points in Game 2 on Monday, and with that kind of effort in most of their games in the playoffs, the Clippers could win the West — or even the championship.