Reeling from a loss to the Wizards two nights earlier in the same building, the Warriors ended a disappointing homestand on an up note with a 111-92 drubbing of the Clippers. Some wondered before this game if we’d see a fight, but Golden State knocked out their rivals with a 53-34 rebounding advantage while outscoring Los Angeles 66-22 in the paint.
Andrew Bogut set the tone early, patrolling the middle as he usually does while pulling down 17 rebounds and blocking three shots. Afterward he mentioned how things weren’t so cheerful in Warrior-land before Thursday night’s game.
“It hasn’t a happy place around here the last couple days, I’ll tell you that. A lot of guys are edgy right now, not in great moods because we’re not playing good basketball. That’s good, in my opinion. We had a pretty rough shootaround this morning. Guys got after each other a little bit, coaches got after us,” Bogut said.
“We needed to address certain issues. Everyone had their opinions on things, and we let it all out there. Guys knew we had to come tonight and bring a different energy and focus that we haven’t had the last three or four games.”
Starting games and halves has been a problem for this team lately, but not on Thursday night. The Warriors outscored the Clippers 58-32 in the first and third quarters combined, holding Los Angeles to just one field goal in the third quarter.
Also, the Clippers were exhausted. Like Portland on Sunday, the Clips were playing the second of back-to-back games and for the third time in four nights.
“The energy was bad. I was talking to some guys after the game, didn’t really feel like I ever had that wind or that second gear, second level,” said Blake Griffin, who led all scorers with 27 but could only come up with three rebounds.
“It’s tough, but everybody has to do it and we just didn’t have it tonight. They played better than us.”
After a dreadful collective performance against Washington, the Warriors starters made 59.6% of their shots against Los Angeles. They also cut down on the turnovers while getting back to the kind of ball movement they need to thrive.
The bench didn’t come up with numbers that were as pretty, but they extended the Warriors’ lead (Golden State never trailed in this game) in the second quarter. Even better, Harrison Barnes looked truly alive for the first time in eons. Forget that 4-for-13 number, because Barnes had two dunks in this game, including one in traffic that was unlike anything we’ve seen from him since … May?
“The thing I liked about him tonight was that he rebounded the basketball, eight rebounds,” said Mark Jackson. “He was engaged, aggressive and gave us the punch off the bench that we needed.”
— Lee followed up a 2-for-10 night against the Wizards with 22 points on 10-of-15 shooting with 11 rebounds. Lee has been getting anti-inflammatory injections in his left shoulder before games recently, and here’s what he said when I asked him if he got another one before facing L.A.
“Yes sir, I did. Hopefully after the Utah game I won’t be needing those anymore. Contrary to popular belief, I don’t like getting those shots,” said Lee, who didn’t say that in a way that was as serious as the quote might portray.
— Lee was asked if Bogut’s comments about the team’s mood were accurate.
“Andrew is very correct in his words. Coach was upset with us during shootaround. We were upset with each other. It’s just frustrating when we know we have the talent and the ability in this locker room to be a better basketball team than we are right now. You saw it on the court tonight, you saw it against Portland. That’s why the game against Washington was so frustrating.”
— Bogut had a nice all-around game, scoring 14 points for only the fourth time all season. He also made a turnaround jumper at the end of the shot clock. No big deal normally, except he was standing either on or right in front of the 3-point line.
I asked Bogut if we’d start seeing more 23-foot jumpers in his repertoire. (If you watched the video above of Bogut’s interview, you can skip the next paragraph.)
“Probably not,” he said with a smile. “I used to shoot them when I was in college, when I was a junior. The broken arm hasn’t helped the situation, my touch. I’ll take them every now and then. A lot less pressure when the shot clock’s winding down.”
I asked Stephen Curry (22 points, 8-for-10 from the field, 4-for-4 from three) about Bogut’s form as they were rushing us out of the locker room to catch a plane to Utah.
“Perfect,” he said.
— At one point during his press conference, Jackson transitioned perfectly from “it is what it is” to “this is a marathon, not a sprint.” The Clippers played back-to-back games … Jackson dropped back-to-back cliches.
— Jackson has also recently switched from bringing Barnes in off the bench to spell Andre Iguodala to subbing in Barnes for Klay Thompson.
— Sergio Romo was at Oracle Arena. He “took over” the Warriors’ official Twitter account for a bit, and during a timeout in the second half he helped deposit t-shirts into the stands. The hype men usually use air-powered cotton cannons to shoot the t-shirts everywhere, but Romo used his right arm.
Below is a video I shot of Romo playing t-shirt long-toss. He’s the one wearing a No. 54 Warriors jersey with a baseball cap turned backwards, if that helps at all. I apologize for the poor camera-work, I couldn’t decide at a couple points whether to follow the Giants closer or show the t-shirts were landing (mostly in the upper deck), and there was some guy holding up a sign who kept getting in my way.
I guess that last paragraph means I’m not a “no-excuse basketball writer.”
D. Lee and A Bogut are really intelligent, likable and funny people. That is kind of nice to see. So great for the Warriors to be able to finally play big. Small ball was getting tiresome. Offensive and Defensive boards are essential. Kudos to Iguodala and Green for being tough inside too.
Now we need the splash brothers to get their mojo back and get ready for the playoffs.