It’s hard to describe that warm and fuzzy feeling every basketball coach gets when he or she sees a team execute their game plan to perfection. And that’s precisely what the Golden State Warriors did to the Los Angeles Clippers. On the second of a road back to back, the Clippers came out flat and didn’t know what hit them, as Klay Thompson and Stephen Curry combined to shoot 11-17 from three point range.
The game was won in the first half when the Clippers got sucked into the Warriors trap, taking bad shots and not transitioning back on defense well. While we focus only on the three point shots the Warriors got in the first half, almost all their shots in the first half were in rhythm and open, as evidenced by them making 20 out of 30 attempts.
More After The Breakdown
What makes the Warriors so scary as a team is that they have Andrew Bogut waiting in the wings. If they can get him healthy, they have all the elements of a Western Conference Finalist. David Lee (20 ppg,11.1 rpg, 3.7 apg) is the only player averaging 20 and 10 and is shining his shoes for the All Star Game. Steph Curry is shooting an other-worldly 46% from three point range, even though he takes almost 7 per game. Jarrett Jack has also inserted himself in the conversation for 6th man (12 ppg, 5 apg), and the way Mark Jackson has them running, they aren’t simply a jump shooting team.
The Clippers had a nice stretch in December, winning every game that month, but 2013 hasn’t been kind, and their schedule doesn’t let up too much. They take on the Lakers on Friday, and have Golden State, Dallas, Memphis, and Houston to look forward to. This will be a key test to see if this team is for real and can withstand the rigors of a deep Western Conference. While Chris Paul has firmly taken back the title of best point guard in the league, Jamal Crawford has to prove his fine start was no fluke, and they still need more production out of their reserve front court players. Lamar Odom and Rony Turiaf have not been very effective off the bench, and that can hurt them against teams with elite front courts like the Memphis Grizzlies.
This Western Conference race will surely be a roller coaster ride as several teams will be considered the best in the conference before season’s end. While Oklahoma City is still the class of the West, don’t rule out the Warriors and the Clippers as serious threats to their reign.