OAKLAND, Calif. — On Sunday, the Clippers were the hottest team in the NBA, extending a winning streak to 17 games that was the talk of the league.
Three days later, the Clippers are a team that seems to have lost its steam.
They have lost two consecutive games, the latest a 115-94 defeat to the Golden State Warriors on Wednesday night at Oracle Arena.
The Clippers had their streak snapped in Denver on Tuesday night, shooting a season-low 38.5% in the process.
They shot just 36.3 percent against the Warriors.
They gave up a season-high 62 points in the first half.
And the Clippers have lost their first two games of the season against the Warriors.
The teams play again on Saturday night at Staples Center and Golden State already has defeated the Clippers in Los Angeles.
Blake Griffin took a hard fall on his face when Festus Ezeli grabbed Griffin’s arm on a drive and committed a flagrant foul 1 with 10 minutes 18 seconds left in the third quarter.
Griffin continued to play, but he also continued to struggle. Griffin had 10 points on two-for-11 shooting. Chris Paul had 23 points and six assists, but it hardly mattered.
That’s because his counterpart at point guard, Stephen Curry, had 25 of his 31 points in the first half for the Warriors.
David Lee almost had a triple-double with 24 points, 13 rebounds and seven assists.
The Clippers didn’t have Caron Butler because he missed the game for personal reasons, but Matt Barnes (19 points) more than made up for his absence as the starting small forward.
Golden Stated handed out “Warriors Whiteout” T-shirts to its fans, a show of how much this game meant to the Warriors.
It showed that the Warriors’ victory over the Clippers in L.A. in November wasn’t a fluke.
It also left the Warriors 2 1/2 games behind the once-streaking Clippers in the Pacific Division.
After losing in Denver on Tuesday night, Clippers Coach Vinny Del Negro said he told his team that he wanted them to play “[upset] and with poise” against the Warriors.
“I think good teams, after they have a loss like that, come back,” Del Negro said. “That doesn’t mean you’re going to win the game. But we’ve got to go out there ready for the fight, ready for the Whiteout, whatever you want to call it.’”
And so what did the Clippers do?
They immediately got down by 18 points in the first quarter.
They allowed the Warriors to make 53.5 percent of their shots.
They couldn’t do anything with Curry in the first half, getting burned by his nine-for-11 shooting, including four of six on three-point attempts.
They played horrible defense against the Warriors’ three-point shooting in the first half, getting burned at a 53.3 percent rate (eight-for-15), 52.2 percent (12-for-23) for the game.
If not for Barnes’ 16 points and Jamal Crawford’s 15 points in the first half, the Clippers would have been down by more than 13 points at the break.
Paul was not a factor, scoring four points on one-for-four shooting in the first half. Griffin had his troubles, missing seven of eight shots while scoring seven first-half points.