Lou Williams Ignites for 50 points, Clippers incinerate shorthanded Warriors 125-106
Riding a five-game win streak, the Golden State Warriors (33-8) took on the Los Angeles Clippers (18-21), and were looking to beat them for the second time in four days. To win, the Warriors would have to rely on their bench, as both Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson were sitting out. Stephen Curry slipped and sprained his ankle in practice, but Bob Myers has come out and said that it is not a big concern, and that he should be good to go for the road trip, and that the team didn’t want to take any chances. Klay Thompson was sitting out with scheduled rest, missing his first game of the season. Kevin Durant made his return to the lineup after missing three games with a leg injury, and was only 25 points away from eclipsing the 20,000 point mark in his career, which would make him the second-youngest player to do so. The Clippers would go on to beat the Warriors 125-106.
In the first quarter, the Warriors and Clippers battled back and forth, and somehow managed to put up a combined 67 points. I was absolutely shocked with the offensive performance of both teams, considering the lack of starters on both teams. Kevin Durant led the Warriors with 11 points, and was very efficient in doing so, taking only five shots. Andre Iguodala was the next-highest scorer for the Warriors with seven points on 3-3 shooting. For the Clippers, C.J. Harris was the leading scorer with 10 points, and he hit two nice threes. The first quarter was pretty slow, and did not have many memorable plays, but Zaza Pachulia did have six points, and he did so on some pretty interesting shots. As a team, the Warriors were shooting 56% from the field and 50% from three, while the Clippers were at 48.3% overall and 42.9% from three. Both teams were having decent offensive quarters, and after the first the Warriors led 35-32.
The second quarter was all about Kevin Durant. He finished the half with 25 points and had 14 in the second quarter alone. He scored his 20,000th career point, becoming the 44th man in NBA history to do so, and the second-youngest to hit the milestone. Perhaps the most impressive part of it though, was that in the first half, he went 9-10, and was looking as efficient as he has in a Warrior uniform. The next highest scorer on the Warriors in the half was Andre Iguodala, who had just seven points, which just goes to show how Kevin Durant was nearly-single handedly keeping the Warriors in the game. The Clippers’ leading scorer was Lou Williams with 13 points, and both C.J. Williams and DeAndre Jordan were close behind with 10 points apiece. The two teams had a back-and-forth affair going in the quarter, with the Warriors managing to pull ahead thanks to a Kevin Durant four-point play. Jordan Bell also had two incredible dunks, and continued to be a very good, high-flying, exciting player for the Warriors. The Warriors’ shooting percentage rose to 55.8% in the half, and their three-point percentage dipped to 41.7%. The Clippers did not have as good a quarter as they did in the first, at least offensively, as their shooting percentage dropped to 44.2%. Defense was not much of a factor in the first half, as both teams looked like they were playing a pickup game at 24-hour fitness, running up and down the court and playing very little defense. At the half, the Warriors led the Clippers 62-58.
In the third quarter, Lou Williams took over for the Clippers and became a walking bucket. At the half, he had just 13 points, but at the end of the third, he had 40 points. Yes, you read that right, he scored TWENTY SEVEN points in the third quarter. He put the Clippers on his back and brought them back from a nine-point deficit, and turned it into a six-point lead. He scored their last 18 points. The next closest scorer for the Clips was Tyrone Wallace, who had 14 points. The Warriors were still being led by Kevin Durant, who had 32 points on 11-13 shooting, but was deferring much more in the third quarter to get his teammates going. Unfortunately, his teammates did not get going, and the Warriors squandered a lead to the Clippers when Durant was subbed out. Only one other Warrior was in double-digits when it came to scoring, and it was Zaza with 12 points. Both teams were shooting the ball above 50% from the field, and after the third, the Clippers led 96-90.
In the fourth quarter, Lou Williams and the Clippers continued to just pour it on. It was a combination of incredibly hot shootin from Williams and some bad fouls for the Warriors. Lou Williams added 10 more points in the quarter and ended up with 50 total points, which was pretty cool. The rest of the Clippers did a good job of just playing harder than the Warriors down the stretch, and out-executed them basically all game. The only Warrior who seemed to have anything going was Kevin Durant, and oh boy, did he have it going. He finished with 40 points on 14-18 shooting, which tied his Warriors career high. He looked exceptional, and it made me really excited to see him back in the lineup with Steph over the coming road trip. All in all, this game was about as much of a scheduled loss as it gets for the Warriors, as they were without the two best shooters in NBA history. The Clippers beat the Warriors 125-106.
In all honesty, there isn’t too much to take away from this game. The Warriors did not have Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson, so going into this game, I had a feeling they would lose. The thing is, this game helps elevate Stephen Curry’s case for winning his third NBA MVP award. It proves how important he is to the team’s flow and morale, and he is able to create offense like no other player can. Even in a game like tonight, where KD is nearly unstoppable, the rest of the team couldn’t get anything going, because Durant does not have the same kind of gravity as Stephen Curry. I think he absolutely deserves to win his third MVP this year, and the choice will become even clearer over the coming road trip and the rest of the season.
Kevin Durant surpassed the 20,000 point mark in his career in the second quarter of tonight’s game, and it was absolutely incredible. He was brilliant all night, finishing with 40 points on 14-18 shooting. He essentially was the only player on the Warriors who had anything working constantly all night. He became the second-youngest player to every score 20,000 points, behind LeBron James. It is an incredible milestone for one of the most elite scorers the game has ever seen, and is a very exclusive club, with only 44 members. The best part of it all though, is that he is only 29 years old, so he has the potential to go down as the greatest scorer the league has ever seen, and I can’t wait to keep watching him play.
The Clippers took advantage of the Warriors being short handed, and they ended a 12-game losing streak against the Warriors. I would be more upset about this if Chris Paul was still on the Clippers, but now that he is in Houston, I don’t feel that bad about the loss. I thought it would be fun to check in and see how the world looked the last time the Clippers beat the Warriors. The last time the Clippers beat the Warriors, Obama was president, the Giants had just won their third World Series in five years, California was still in a drought and Jim Harbaugh was the coach of the San Francisco 49ers.
The Clippers’ win was pretty impressive, but not as impressive as the individual stat line of Lou Williams, who became the human torch in the second half. In the first half, he had just 13 points, but you could tell that he was starting to feel it. In the third quarter, he nearly outscored the Warriors. He had 27 points while the entire Warriors team had 28 points, and he was hitting shots from way beyond the arc, and now I know what life would be like if Stephen Curry was not on my team, and let me tell you this, I most certainly did not enjoy it. He hit several more deep threes in the fourth quarter, including one from nearly half-court in the last minute of the game to get his 50th point. Someone has scored 50+ points against the Warriors only 15 times (including the postseason), and Lou Williams joined a club with some pretty good players in it. That club includes Wilt Chamberlain, Kobe Bryant, Kevin Durant, Dirk Nowitzki, Karl Malone, Moses Malone, and Damian Lillard.
The Warriors play their next game on Friday, January 12, in Milwaukee against the Bucks at 5 p.m.