Warriors takeaways: What we learned from 132-105 Game 3 win vs. Clippers

Warriors takeaways: What we learned from 132-105 Game 3 win vs. Clippers


LOS ANGELES – There was not a single second of anything remotely resembling mercy this time.

Still stinging from blowing a 31-point lead in losing Game 2, the Warriors came out for Game 3 Thursday and jumped the Clippers from the opening tip and never let up, sprinting to a 132-105 victory at Staples Center.

Five Warriors scored in double figures, led by Kevin Durant’s 38 points in just under 30 minutes.

The Warriors looked practically invincible from start to finish. Their response to going up 31 in the midway through the third quarter this time was to push the lead to 33 entering the fourth.

Here are three takeaways from the victory that set an NBA record for consecutive playoff series with at least one road win (20) and gives the Warriors a 2-1 series lead:

Durant imposes his will

There was some curiosity about how Kevin Durant would respond after coach Steve Kerr made a plea for more assertive offense. Well, KD went after the Clippers as if they’d violated his status while insulting five generations of family and friends.

He was productive, scoring 38 points – including 27 in 18 sizzling first-half minutes – but also contributing seven assists, four rebounds, one block and a steal. He was plus-32 for the night.

Moreover, Durant consistently showed additional attributes of leadership, such as trying (but failing) to pull Shaun Livingston away from referee Jason Phillips before a technical foul was assessed and celebrating demonstratively with Klay Thompson after Klay threw down a ferocious dunk in the second quarter.

This was the KD the Warriors wanted, and they got him. All of him.

The defense never rested

The Warriors were hyperactive at both ends, but their defense was particularly nasty for the bulk of the game, limiting the Clippers to 35-percent shooting in the first half and 37.2 percent for the game.

Furthermore, through three quarters, the Warriors’ regular rotation harassed LA into 12 turnovers, off which they scored 20 points.

Even as whistles kept coming – 28 fouls against the Warriors, 25 against LA, 53 total – the Warriors maintained their intensity. Chief nemesis Lou Williams, the Game 2 hero with 36 points, managed 16 on 4-of-11 shooting. Another scoring threat, Danilo Gallinari, scored nine on 2-of-13 shooting.

Montrezl Harrell and JaMychal Green had solid games, but they are not enough to beat the Warriors on any night, certainly not this one.

No gifts this time

The Warriors committed 21 turnovers in Game 1 and vowed to do better in Game 2.

They then went out and delivered 22 gifts to the Clippers. LA scored 49 points off turnovers in the first two games.

[RELATED: Watch KD's huge block on Shai Gilgeous-Alexander]

The third time evidently is the charm, as prior to a garbage-time fourth quarter, the Warriors committed seven turnovers, off which LA scored seven points. They totaled 12 turnovers in all, giving the Clippers 15 points.

No Warrior committed more turnovers than Durant’s five. Given his comprehensive contributions on this night, he earned a pass.

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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