Five-Star Review: Stephen Curry and the Warriors cook the Clippers
Golden State is looking more and more unbeatable by the day.
GAME OF THE NIGHT -- WARRIORS 110, CLIPPERS 106: The funny thing is this game started off slowly. Having already clinched first place in the Western Conference, the Warriors held out Draymond Green and appeared to care way less than the Clippers about this particular game. Golden State head coach Steve Kerr even said as much at the end of the first quarter.
Kerr's team chipped away at Los Angeles' double-digit lead in the second, though, and just before halftime everything got crazy. We should probably start with the play of the night, where Stephen Curry made Chris Paul stumble and fall.
Curry crossed over Paul again a little later.
I'm just not sure what in the world you're supposed to do to slow this guy down. I mean, what even are these shots?
Curry scored 27 points on 8-of-15 shooting, making four of his six 3-point attempts and going 7-for-7 from the line. Klay Thompson added 25 points, plus eight boards. The Warriors' defense won this game for them at the end, though -- they held LA to 3-of-13 shooting in the final frame.
A quick glance at the minutes distrubution should show you how much more this meant for the Clippers. Curry was the only Warrior to play more than 34 minutes, while each Clippers starter played at least 38. Tough, tough loss for Los Angeles. Hell of a comeback for Golden State, a team that is beyond terrifying.
LINE OF THE NIGHT -- BLAKE GRIFFIN: The Clippers big man took full advantage of Green's absence. He feasted on Golden State's frontline, going for 40 points on 16-for-25 shooting. He had 12 rebounds, five assists, three blocks and a steal, too. Can't blame him for his team coming up short.
OVERLOOKED PLAY OF THE NIGHT: Nobody will talk about this because Curry crossed CP3 over, but you have to see this dribble move and assist to Griffin from the first quarter. There's a reason we call him the Point God.
YOU SPIN ME RIGHT ROUND, BABY, RIGHT ROUND: Big Baby spin move in transition? Big Baby spin move in transition.
DUNK OF THE NIGHT: It wasn't all fun and games for Glen Davis. Marreese Speights wasn't too nice to him.
PICTURE PERFECT: I could watch Thompson shoot all day. The form is flawless.
ELECTRIC BOGEYLOO : Let's all take a minute to appreciate Andrew Bogut's passing. A minute is all I ask of you.
SPURS KEEP SPURSING: San Antonio stomped Miami 91-75, and we'd like to use this as an opportunity to remind you that Kawhi Leonard is a superstar. He does extraordinary things so easily on both ends, and he had a monster line of 22 points (8-13 FG), nine rebounds, three assists, four steals, two blocks and just one turnover against the Heat. Look at him locking up Dwyane Wade, getting the block and starting the break:
Wade shot just 6-of-20 in the game for 15 points, having to deal with Leonard's length and strength. Goran Dragic had a team-high 19, but Miami's offense couldn't consistently generate good looks.
Gregg Popovich was able to limit Tony Parker, Tim Duncan and Manu Ginobili's minutes to 26, 24 and 18, respectively. The Spurs got important contributions from Cory Joseph, Boris Diaw and Matt Bonner off the bench. This wasn't their prettiest game, but it was their 14th victory in their past 17 games. They look very ready for the playoffs.
POWER UP: Here's Super Mario Chalmers hitting a beyond-halfcourt shot to beat the buzzer.
And here's Pop's reaction.
YOUR HASSANITY UPDATE: Hassan Whiteside, AKA the new Bill Russell, had 10 points, six boards, two blocks and two steals in 23 minutes. But that doesn't adequately describe how compelling he was to watch. There are three plays you need to see.
1. His rude block on Diaw.
2. His and-1 with Parker hanging off of him.
3. His Magic moment.
Yeah, we're going to need to take another look at that.
THE NETS, HOW FUN: The Nets and Pacers played an important game if you are a person who considers the race for the eighth spot in the East "important." Brooklyn won its fourth game in a row and it's eighth out of 10 on the strength of yet another solid late-season performance from Brook Lopez. The big man had 24 points on 11-of-17 shooting, plus 11 boards and two blocks. Here are two of those points, with a nifty assist from Deron Williams:
And here is one of those blocks:
The Nets wouldn't have won without the contributions of Alan Anderson off the bench. The forward made three of his four 3-pointers and scored 20 points in 24 minutes on 11 field goal attempts.
The 111-106 victory means Brooklyn's back at No. 8, half a game ahead of the Boston Celtics. The Pacers, meanwhile, are in 10th, a game and a half back of the Nets. Indiana lost despite 28 points from George Hill and some honest-to-goodness offensive production from the bench -- Luis Scola, Damjan Rudez and C.J. Watson combined for 38 points on 21 shots.
THE BUD-Y SYSTEM: The Hawks' remaining games are pretty much meaningless, as they have the No. 1 seed in the East essentially locked up. With that in mind, Atlanta head coach Mike Budenholzer decided to use a platoon system against the Pistons, substituting his starters with a five-reserve unit. Budenholzer didn't sit anybody out to rest, but here's how the minutes shook out:
Pero Antic played 16:56, and missed all seven of his field goal attempts, if you were wondering.
Austin Daye played 7:20 and yes, he is indeed a member of the Hawks.
So it's not like Atlanta wasn't trying to win, but it wasn't exactly super motivated. Detroit won 105-95, with Andre Drummond once again stuffing the stat sheet -- he had 22 points, 13 rebounds, two steals and a block, shooting 8-for-11 from the field.
I WISH THE PISTONS WERE STILL IN THE PLAYOFF HUNT: Detroit is more enjoyable to watch than you think. Their offense has been awesome lately with Reggie Jackson and Drummond running a ton of pick-and-rolls, and you never know which of the role players are going to step up. Jackson was feeling ill and played just 22 minutes (enough time to register 12 points and 11 assists), and backup guard Spencer Dinwiddie hurt his ankle after four minutes. That meant John Lucas III had to step in and produce, and he managed 15 points on 7-for-11 shooting despite not playing since March 13.
SILLY BANKED 3-POINTER OF THE NIGHT: You have to love Jackson's reaction after this one dropped.
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