The Los Angeles Clippers (25-14) came out of the All-Star break last night to completely kick the asses of the Golden State Warriors (19-19) 130-104 at Staples Center. Going into the break the Clippers were on a bit of a skid, losing 3 in a row and 4 out of 5. They turned those frowns upside down by smacking their much hated rival around for four quarters. Clippers fans do not hate any team like they do the Warriors, so as a die hard Clipper fan myself nothing could please me more than what I saw last night.
Yes, teams tend to come out of the break vulnerable, but GSW still had 2 time MVP Steph Curry, who can win you a game by himself. LAC guarded him well though, and he had an off night. Watching them get embarrassed filled me with such joy. The Clips only led by 2 after the first quarter, probably due to being in a bit of an All-Star break funk themselves. After that they just completely trounced Golden State, building a lead as large as 39. They were able to rest their starters for the entirety of the 4th quarter, and skated home to what turned out to be an easy victory.
STAR OF THE GAME
Kawhi Leonard and his 28 points, 9 rebounds, 4 assists, and 3 steals. Kawhi was one of the Clippers 2 representatives for the All-Star game and he showed why last night. He took it upon himself to get the Clippers off to a promising start to the second half of the season and he did just that. Leonard scored 20 of his 28 points in the first half and ended the game going 10 for 17 from the field including 5 out of 7 from 3. He could have had even bigger numbers but he did not play in the final quarter.
To start the game he looked like he and Ibaka were the only Clippers to come out of the break not in a funk. Leonard was knocking down his shots with relative ease. When the Warriors looked like they were going to make it a game for a brief minute in the first quarter, it was Kawhi who nipped that in the bud by hitting 3 pointers and giving it his all on the defensive end. Boy I love seeing the Warriors lose, and any Clipper who leads the way in defeating them is my hero.
In a blowout win against the team I hate the most in all of sports there is very little for me to be concerned about. The one thing that comes to the forefront of my mind is the health of the team. Patrick Beverley left the game in the first half and did not return due once again to his knee. The one crucial thing to the Clippers winning a championship is their health. They have everything they need to do so, they just need to be at full strength.
To start the second half of the season having their starting point guard immediately go out with injury is worrisome. I am sick to death of Beverley being out with his shoddy knees. He is a valuable player yes when he is actually out on the floor. But the best ability is availability and Pat just does not have it even close to consistently. It seems to me he is most valuable on the trade market. The Clippers should definitely explore looking to move him before the trade deadline.
Serge Ibaka and his double-double of 16 points and 14 rebounds. To start the game Ibaka scored the team’s first 7 points as he and Kawhi were the only the Clippers to start the game with their legs under them. They needed that boost from Serge early in this game before the rest of the team was able to find their energy. Ibaka is not known to be a big time scorer, he is out there for his defense, rebounding, and to hit the occasional 3. So to see him producing against the Warriors was pleasing to the eye.
This was one of Serge’s better games of the season so far, and for him to have it against Golden State was great. He seems to be adept at knocking down outside shots, but he still struggles from in close. If he can just seem to start making those chippies, he can start to put up double digits in points on a more consistent basis.
Vs, New Orleans Pelicans, Sunday March 14th at 6:00 PM Pacific
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