For the better part of three quarters at Chase Center on Friday night, the Warriors were kicked all over the court by the bigger, stronger, deeper and more talented Los Angeles Clippers.
The Warriors could’ve quit. Could've looked the scoreboard, down double digits in the second half and surrendered.
But no. They plowed on. And midway through the third quarter, they turned downright plucky.
Outhustled most of the game, they charged back in the third and fourth quarters and wound up laying a 115-105 stunner on the Clippers. Golden State outscored LA 52-20 over the final 15 minutes.
This was not a case of the better team winning. This was a case of the team that wanted it most finding a way to prevail and offset their loss to LA on Wednesday.
Here are three takeaways from the Warriors’ second encounter this week with one of four or five legitimate championship contenders.
Look to Mr. Curry
When his teammates were struggling, he was seeking ways to punish the Clippers. When his teammates finally found some rhythm, it was largely because of him.
Steph Curry scored 33 points through the three quarters -- including 19 in the third, when the resolute Warriors sliced a 22-point deficit to six.
This game was never going to be a casualty of neglecting Curry. He finished with game-highs in points (38) and assists (11) on 13-of-24 shooting, including 9-of-14 from deep.
The Warriors are 5-0 this season when Curry scores at least 30 points.
Defense was overwhelmed, then not
The development of these Warriors is going to take a while. That’s what the players say. It’s what the coaches say. It’s a rational explanation considering the starting lineup has played together for all of five games.
The defense, which has shown flashes of proficiency in previous games, was by turns inadequate and effective against the Clippers. LA gained control in the first half by shooting shot 58.7 percent overall, 53.3 percent beyond the arc.
The Clippers lost their way in the third quarter, when the Warriors got serious and limited them to 28.6 percent shooting.
That’s who the Warriors are right now. Awful and fabulous, nasty and nice. Buckle up, at least for the next weeks, as they discover what they have.
Calling Dennis Rodman
The topic of rebounding might be getting tiresome, but that’s due to the consistency with which the Warriors keep getting abused on the boards until properly motivated.
The Clippers bumped and banged and reached their way to a 24-14 advantage on the glass in the first half. It looked as if this would be the fifth time in nine games that Golden State has walked off the court with at least 10 fewer rebounds than their opponent.
But the Warriors somehow decided to crash the glass in the second half, posting a 24-13 thrashing.
That speaks as much to the Clippers’ fading as to the Warriors coming alive.