From the opening tip, the Golden State Warriors clicked on all cylinders and took a pivotal Game 3 win over the Los Angeles Clippers.
Golden State had their “Drago is cut!” moment in Game 2, blowing a 31-point lead with seven minutes remaining in the third quarter. The reigning champs needed to rebound from their embarrassing loss before whispers from talking-head doubters commenced.
It wouldn’t be easy against this tough-as-nails Los Angeles group and their blitzing three-guard lineup. After slapping up 73 points in the first half (same as Game 2), Golden State found themselves up 31 with seven minutes left in the third quarter (same as Game 2).
But the Warriors didn’t let up and the Clippers couldn’t catch lightning in a bottle twice. Just as, if not more importantly, Kevin Durant took the upper hand in the ongoing tussle with Patrick Beverley.
The Warriors are a cheat code
When Golden State has it going on, it’s like getting a star in Mariokart while you’re in first place. Kevin Durant, Steph Curry and Klay Thompson took turns burning down the nets at different points of the game. The hot-handed troika combined to score 71 (despite Curry only playing 20 minutes) on 58% shooting. Life’s not fair and neither is playing the Warriors when their stars align.
The fly in Golden State’s ointment is this year’s team isn’t as deep as past iterations. DeMarcus Cousins’ torn quad likely puts him out for the rest of the postseason. In his wake, the Warriors cobbled together their center minutes with Andrew Bogut and Kevon Looney (when they didn’t abandon the traditional center altogether). Bogut looked like the same player who they won a championship with; smartly moving the ball, rebounding, protecting the rim, and providing a never-ending parade of moving screens. If he can continue playing like he did in Game 3, Golden State could be on their way to another title.
As their otherworldly offense justifiably gets most of the attention, Golden State put the clamps on in Game 3. L.A.’s lack of superstars became apparent as they struggled to score the entire night. The energy was there, the ability to consistently get buckets was not. The Warriors’ executed a perfect gameplan of locking up Lou Williams by regularly trapping and sending double-teams. As impressive of a season the Clippers had, they’re extremely young and their inexperience shone in Game 3. We’ll see if L.A. can come up with a counter heading into Game 4.