The Warriors proved they are who we thought they were, with an emphatic Game 1 win over the Clippers.
The Warriors had no answer for Montrezl Harrell and Lou Williams. They turned the ball over 21 times. They received terrible defense from DeMarcus Cousins and just 12 points from Klay Thompson on 5-of-14 shooting. They saw Patrick Beverly take up residence in Kevin Durant’s head, eventually sparking a brief confrontation that saw both players get ejected.
And they still won by 17.
Such is life when you employ the most talented roster in the league and still have Stephen Curry. The Clippers didn’t catch every break but they had a lot of things go their way and this game still never really felt close. The Warriors are still very much the Warriors.
Golden State Warriors
Los Angeles Clippers
Boogie is going to be a problem for the Warriors. In a game the Warriors won by 17, they were outscored by 21 in the 17 minutes that DeMarcus Cousins was on the floor. He looked a bit out of sorts on offense, shooting 4-of-12 from the field and adding 6 turnovers but the big problem (SURPRISE) was his defense. The Clippers repeatedly exploited his passive confusion and lethargy in pick-and-roll coverage and he was the one glaring weakness in an otherwise familiar Warriors win. Golden State is good enough to quickly dispatch the Clippers, even without Curry going supernova, but as the matchups get tougher it’s going to be harder for them to keep Cousins on the floor.
Montrezl Harrell and Lou Williams are something special. The two leading candidates for Sixth Man of the Year Award happen to be teammates with a remarkable synergy. Williams and Harrell were the only things that really worked for Los Angeles in this game and they combined for 51 points, 11 assists, 8 rebounds, 3 steals and 2 blocks on 22-of-36 from the field. Their pick-and-roll chemistry helped play Boogie off the court in the first half and, against smaller defenders, Harrell was able to do even more damage with his size and strength around the basket. The Clippers will need a lot more to make this a competitive series but if good things are going to be happening for the Clippers, they’ll probably be in the middle of it.
Stephen Curry. It took eight 3-pointers but Curry celebrated the Warriors win by becoming the NBA’s all-time leader in playoff 3s, passing Ray Allen. It was a signature Steph performance with deep 3s, lightning quick drives and a sense of jubilant inevitability. He finished the game with 38 points, 15 rebounds and 7 assists, shooting 8-of-12 on 3-pointers. Curry won’t be a part of the NBA conversation this season but tonight he made sure his name won’t fall out of any discussion of the best basketball players on the planet.