Warriors

Warriors know they can't be complacent in Game 5 vs. Clippers

Warriors know they can't be complacent in Game 5 vs. Clippers

LOS ANGELES -- The Golden State Warriors seized control of their NBA playoff first-round series against the Los Angeles Clippers, taking a three games-to-one lead Sunday afternoon.

But any Warriors observer can admit the team's susceptibility to complacency, evidenced by their blown 31-point lead in Game 2 last week.

The occasional lapses have been met with a scrappy, young, No. 8-seeded Clippers team that has stuck with the champs tooth and nail throughout the series. Despite the loss, the Clippers showed why the Warriors can't afford to display their complacent ways in Game 5 on Wednesday night.

"They're a talented team," Warriors guard Stephen Curry said after Sunday's 113-105 win. "They're an eighth seed of whatever that means, but they're competitive, and they have guys that you got to pay attention to."

In a game the Warriors led by 10 at the end the first quarter and eight at halftime, the Clippers never seemed out of it. Rookie guard Shai Gilgeous-Alexander scored 25 points, helping offset Klay Thompson's 27 first-half points. In the third quarter, the Clippers opened on an 18-11 run to cut the Warriors' eight-point lead to one with 6:19 to go in the quarter. A little over two minutes later, Los Angeles even took a brief five-point lead before Golden State regained control.

"I loved how we fought," Clippers coach Doc Rivers said. "I loved how we kept coming back. You know, because you have to against them. I didn't think any of our guys were fazed when one of their guys made a shot or made a great play. We went right back at them. I think that's how you have to play them."

Many NBA observers didn't believe the Clippers would be in the playoffs two months ago, let alone secure the No. 8 seed. One day before the trade deadline, the Clippers sent away leading scorer Tobias Harris, center Boban Marjanović and forward Mike Scott in exchange for forward Wilson Chandler, big man Mike Muscala and rookie guard Landry Shamet in a move that was seen as a deal to build the team for the future instead of play for the present.

Instead, the Clippers won 13 of 15 games in March to earn a playoff berth in the final weeks of the season. Still, the Warriors -- who have battled with complacency issues all season -- have had mental lapses in the first-round matchup. On Tuesday, they were outscored 85-58 in the second half of Game 2, as Shamet scored 12 and made the go-ahead bucket late in the fourth quarter, putting a brief scare in the champs.

"They don't stop, man," Durant said. "They're one of those teams, they make you feel them all game, and even when you go home after the game, you're going to be thinking about them because they're tough."

Despite being severely outmanned in the series, the Clippers have given the Warriors their best shot. Guard Patrick Beverley has baited Warriors forward Kevin Durant into an ejection, enticing Curry into foul trouble and earning the champs' respect in the process as both teams head to Oracle Arena for Game 5.

[RELATED: Dip in the ocean woke up Klay for Game 4]

"One thing I will say about our team is we will be ready," Rivers said following Game 4. "We'll show up. I can guarantee you that. This team has never not done that, and it would be nice to get back here, that's for sure."

"We have definitely had to earn the wins we've gotten," Curry added. "And the work is not done until the horn sounds on that fourth win."

Watch Steph Curry get soaked in dunk tank at 'Eat. Learn. Play.' event

Watch Steph Curry get soaked in dunk tank at 'Eat. Learn. Play.' event

Some NBA players can say they have dunked on Steph Curry, but can they say they dunked the Warriors star?

Curry and his wife Ayesha launched their "Eat. Learn. Play. Foundation" at a kickoff event in Oakland on Thursday, hosting nearly 1,000 kids for a day of activities. One of those activities was a dunk tank, and the two Currys -- one of whom forms one half of the Splash Brothers -- got very wet.  

The foundation aims to bring out the best in children "By fighting to end childhood hunger, ensuring access to education and enabling active lifestyles," according to its mission statement.

"[The kids are] having fun today, but obviously the back-end -- we're trying to create programs and do stuff that helps the entire youth in Oakland and the Bay Area," Steph said Thursday. "So, you gotta have energy for that."

Steph spent the first entirety of his first decade in the NBA in Oakland, but he and the Warriors will move to San Francisco's Chase Center next season. Despite the pending move, Ayesha said staying active in community efforts in The Town is necessary for the family.

[RELATED: Pelicans GM Griffin cites Warriors when talking philosophy]

"We hope to always be involved in this community," she said. "It's important to us." 

That community is better for their endeavors, and the Currys were wetter for theirs Thursday. 

Pelicans GM David Griffin cites Warriors blueprint when talking philosophy

Pelicans GM David Griffin cites Warriors blueprint when talking philosophy

On June 15, the Pelicans agreed to trade Anthony Davis to the Lakers.

In return, New Orleans received guards Lonzo Ball and Josh Hart, forward Brandon Ingram, three first-round picks and the right to swap selections with Los Angeles in the 2023 NBA Draft.

Less than a week later, the Pelicans drafted Zion Williamson, Jaxson Hayes and Nickeil Alexander-Walker in the first round.

They added JJ Redick and Derrick Favors in free agency, and the franchise legitimately believes it can make the playoffs next season.

So despite losing The Brow, Pelicans executive vice president of basketball operations David Griffin is maintaining a "win now" approach.

What does this have to do with the Warriors? Well, Griffin provided the following explanation on "The Full 48" podcast with Howard Beck:

"Everybody gets so fixated on this in a binary way -- you're either trying to win a championship or you're supposed to tank and play for the lottery. Well, the value of growing together and learning how to win together is what really made the Golden State Warriors the animal and the flamethrower that they were.

"That nucleus of Steph [Curry], Klay [Thompson] and Draymond [Green] took their lumps together -- they learned how to win together -- in meaningful basketball games. They were a playoff team when Mark Jackson was let go. And Steve [Kerr] came in and sort of took them to an all together different level.

"But those playoff losses early on is what made it possible for them to embrace what Steve was doing and the value of what Steve was doing. Learning how to win together is a really big deal.

"And so everybody says they want to be the Warriors. They want to do this or do that. Well then do what they did. Keep a nucleus together and try to win basketball games ... raise kids in an environment in which winning matters.

"If we end up drafting 16 or 17 because we 'got in our own way,' well then the upside benefitted those kids playing meaningful basketball."

This is some awesome perspective.

Curry was the No. 7 pick in 2009, Klay was taken at No. 11 in 2011, and Draymond went No. 35 in 2012.

The No. 6 seed Warriors upset the No. 3 seed Nuggets in the first round of the 2013 playoffs before falling in six games to the Spurs in the second round.

[RELATEDWhy Gottlieb is very wrong about Draymond's place in NBA]

In 2014, the Dubs dropped Game 7 on the road to the Clippers in the opening round.

In 2015, they won the franchise's first championship since 1975.

As Griffin said, they learned how to win together and they continued to win even more.

But will the trio capture another championship? If they do, it just might be the most meaningful of all.

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