Warriors deliver most complete game of season in rout of Clippers

Updated 10:12 pm, Monday, October 30, 2017

LOS ANGELES — In the waning seconds of the third quarter, Stephen Curry crossed midcourt, twice laced the ball between his legs, dribbled behind his back and, at the top of the three-point arc, drained a 26-footer as time expired.

Then, without so much as a shimmy or smile, the two-time NBA MVP raced toward the Warriors’ bench. With Golden State well on its way to a 141-113 rout of the Clippers at Staples Center, Curry seemed to focused on his next highlight to give into celebration.

It was a welcomed sight for a team that has struggled to focus much of the season’s first two weeks. A night after fumbling away a 14-point, second-half lead in a home loss to Detroit, the Warriors finally resembled the dominant group many have expected. Curry watched the entire fourth quarter from the bench as his less-heralded teammates polished off Golden State’s 11th straight win over L.A.

Fresh off Sunday night’s 26-turnover debacle against the Pistons, the Warriors only coughed the ball up 12 times. They shot 58.4 percent from the field and 48.3 percent from three-point range (14-for-29). On a night Golden State sank 23 free throws, Curry scored 31 points and hit seven three-pointers. Kevin Durant (19 points, seven rebounds), Draymond Green (16 points, nine rebounds, six assists) and Klay Thompson (15 points) made sure it was no one-man show.

After the Clippers inched within nine points midway through third, Golden State rattled off a 12-0 run to seize a 103-82 lead. Curry, who piled up five turnovers Sunday, was back to his did-he-really-do-that? ways. As he stepped to the foul line with 34.2 seconds left in the third, an “M-V-P” chant rained down from the rafters. Clippers fans, quick to realize what was unfolding, immediately drowned out that chorus with boos.

It was a fitting cap to what ended up being the Warriors’ most complete performance of the season. Now, Golden State can prepare for Thursday’s matchup at San Antonio without hearing about its nagging focus issues.

Because before Monday, the Warriors appeared in a mental haze. Waning attention, not effort, was their biggest issue. Inconsistent defense, costly fouls and sloppy passes largely overshadowed one of the most potent attacks in league history.

Ninety minutes before tipoff Monday, speaking to a large media scrum in a Staples Center hallway, Kerr put his team’s early malaise into perspective for a large media scrum: Many of Golden State’s problems were to be anticipated from a team trying to follow up its second NBA title in three years. In its fourth season atop the league hierarchy, Golden State was understandably having trouble getting up for every game.

Kerr could relate because he experienced a similar situation in 1997 with the Bulls. Coming off its second straight NBA title, Chicago stumbled to an 8-7 start. Such miscues were soon forgotten as the Bulls went onto win 62 games and a third consecutive NBA title.

With that in mind, Kerr fought against his own inclination after Sunday’s loss not to snap on his players. He followed assistant coach Ron Adams’ advice and waited on his team to start playing like the championship team it is.

If Curry’s response to his buzzer-beating three at the end of the third quarter was any indication, Kerr didn’t need to wait long.


READ ---  Assuming Kesha’s Song "Praying" Is About Dr. Luke Misses The Point