In the closing moments of the Clippers’ game against the Golden State Warriors on Thursday, Los Angeles was unable to counteract Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson.
Early in the fourth quarter, the Clippers were within seven points, but Curry and Thompson took over, scoring 21 points between them in the last 9:53 to help Golden State win 120-114.
In a Saturday afternoon rematch between the two teams, Los Angeles will try to stop the superstar combination from entering the court once again.
On Thursday, Curry ended with a game-high 26 points, seven rebounds, and eight assists. Jonathan Kuminga scored 17 points off the bench, while Thompson contributed 22 points.
The performance on Thursday, according to Golden State coach Steve Kerr, should provide Thompson the much-needed confidence boost. Prior to scoring 10 points on 4-of-5 shooting in the fourth quarter, Thompson was only 4-for-13 from the field.
“He seemed to be rewarded by the game for simply fighting without stopping or thinking about anything else. Kerr said Thompson as having “kept shooting and the ball kind of bounced his way.” “That’s the Klay that I expect really the rest of the year.”
The timing of Thompson’s stroke discovery couldn’t have been more ideal, since the Warriors are already struggling due to injuries to Gary Payton II (right calf strain), Andrew Wiggins (finger discomfort), and Chris Paul (left leg nerve contusion).
Paul and Payton are anticipated to be sidelined once again on Saturday, after their absence from the previous game with the Clippers. After smashing his right index finger in a vehicle door on Thursday, Wiggins’ condition is unknown.
The Clippers are also facing some difficulty, but it has nothing to do with injuries. Los Angeles will play its sixth game in nine days on Saturday, and their defense is beginning to suffer from the turbulent run.
The Clippers have gradually grown more vulnerable after putting up a good performance in a 107-88 victory over the Dallas Mavericks on Nov. 25. On Monday, they gave up 113 points to the Denver Nuggets, and on Wednesday, they gave up 117 points to the Sacramento Kings, before Golden State scored 120 points.
“I think if we can keep teams in halfcourt sets, not give them easy baskets and rebound the ball, I think those are the two areas that we’re struggling in, especially in losses,” Paul George, the forward for Los Angeles, said. It’s obvious that we took care of the two in victories. And we have had difficulties when we have lost.”
The Clippers ended November with a 5-3 record despite their previous problems. They had started the month with a six-game losing skid.
“It seems like we’re beginning to establish a slight rhythm,” said Los Angeles forward Kawhi Leonard. “Defense still has to be strengthened. On Thursday, the Warriors had several easy layup opportunities and open threes.”
On Thursday, Leonard finished with a team-high 23 points and seven rebounds. Double-doubles were scored by Ivica Zubac (18 points, 13 rebounds) and George (15 points, 10 assists), with James Harden contributing 18 points and seven assists.
Since their first encounter in February of last year, the Warriors and Clippers have split their previous four games.