This game doesn’t deserve a proper recap. From start (was initially missed due to Memphis-Oklahoma City going into overtime) to finish, the Los Angeles Clippers outplayed the Golden State Warriors. Offensively Golden State couldn’t keep up. Defensively Golden State couldn’t maintain. So I’ll attack this one via bullet form:
- A 40-point victory over the Warriors is the widest margin of defeat for the Clippers in the playoffs, dating back to 2006 when Sam Cassell, Cuttino Mobley and Elton Brand all scored 20+ points to defeat the Phoenix Suns by 25.
- No Clippers player finished with a negative plus-minus. No Warriors player finished with a positive plus-minus. Domination.
- The “Blake Griffin only playing 19 minutes” thing didn’t carry over to game 2. Calling a lighter matchup, Griffin was able to impose his will on this game, scoring a career-high 35 playoff points. This was easily Griffin’s best game of the season, going 13-of-17 from the field and 9-0f-10 from the free-throw line. He rarely settled, dominated in transition, abused mismatches and played within the offense. Game 1 is all forgotten.
- Quiet would be the words used to describe Chris Paul’s game. Instead of being forced to impose his will by dominating in points, Paul ran the offense to precision and had a rare game. No player has posted a 12 point/10 assist/6 rebound/5 steal night since Rajon Rondo in 2009. Simple, yet effective.
- The second quarter set the pace for the entire game. A 31-20 first quarter in the Clippers favor felt like enough to keep the game distanced until the inevitable Stephen Curry flurry happened — and it happened, scoring 20 points in the third quarter — but the foot mashed the gas peddle once the reserves pushed the lead. Three consecutive threes from Jamal Crawford, Hedo Turkoglu and Danny Granger pushed the lead to 20 points and the Clippers never looked back.
- Speaking of Danny Granger and Hedo Turkoglu, two players who are expected to be well past their primes, had their best nights of the season, the two reserve forwards lead the bench, scoring a combined 28 points on 11-of-17 shooting (6-of-9 from three). Neither Granger or Turkoglu are consistent offensive players, struggling to make a true impact in the latter part of their career, but when they’re on, it adds another dimension to the Clippers offense. Even Jared Dudley hit a three.
- DeAndre Jordan continued to play well. He improved on the defensive end and shot 7-of-8 from the free-throw line. If he keeps this up, Hack-a-DeAndre will be a strategy of the past (kidding, or am I?!?!)
- Darren Collison lead the team in plus-minus. Not including the first month of the season, Collison has outplayed expectations and the $1.9 million contract he signed this past summer. The likelihood of him returning becomes less and less every day.
- It was a tale of two halves for Stephen Curry. The first half he was invisible which seems impossible. But the second half, he turned it up with 20 points in the third quarter. All meaningless? Sure, but this does wonders of his confidence going into Oakland. He hasn’t been taking many shots, piling it on like some scorers do, but he now knows that if he wants, offense can come easy for him. Well, if Mark Jackson decides to run the pick-and-roll offense that does so many wonders.
- Turkoglu and Granger outscored all Warriors starters not named Steph Curry. Foul trouble decided to bother Klay Thompson this game, rendering him near useless, even prior to Jackson throwing in the white flag. And Andre Iguodala, there’s not really a player for him in this series to guard on the Clippers. Usually adept at controlling elite wings, Andre is forced to chase the likes of J.J. Redick and Matt Barnes, resulting in foul trouble. Mark Jackson or Iguodala himself has to figure out a way to get him going.
There isn’t much you can say about tonight. When faced with slight adversity, the Clippers came up big. To some this may not seem like a significant matter, but the mental state of this team has often been in question, especially in years past when their backs are pushed to the wall, so seeing them respond is a good sign going forward.
Even with a 40-point win, getting cocky is the wrong move. Oracle arena is going to feed the Warriors and the Clippers can only combat that with great play.
Game 3 is on Thursday, April 24 at 10:30 P.M. Eastern Time.