Warriors crush Clippers 121-104, remain unbeaten
OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) — Golden State Warriors co-owner Joe Lacob smiled as he approached Stephen Curry in the locker room, shook his star guard’s hand and asked a question that needed no reply.
"That’s what we envisioned, right?" Lacob said.
Indeed, it was.
In their most impressive performance yet, the Warriors routed the Los Angeles Clippers 121-104 on Wednesday night to remain unbeaten.
Curry had 28 points and seven assists, and Draymond Green scored a career-high 24 points to go with eight rebounds and five assists as the Warriors (4-0) showed off the swagger of a confident and complete contender.
They built a 25-point lead in the second quarter and held off the Clippers the rest of the way, getting a small slice of revenge after losing a heated first-round playoff series to Los Angeles last season.
"You’ve got to be able to enjoy it," Curry said. "We’re playing well right now."
Houston and Memphis are the only other undefeated teams left.
Jamal Crawford scored 24 points, and DeAndre Jordan had 17 points and 13 rebounds for a Clippers team that is off to a shaky start. Los Angeles (3-2) opened with a string of close games before getting whipped by the Warriors.
"I saw a beautiful game from one team," Clippers coach Doc Rivers said. "They are a better team right now and by a lot."
Golden State extended its best start in 20 years under new coach Steve Kerr, who took over for the fired Mark Jackson. The last time the Warriors began 4-0 was the 1994-95 season, when they won their first five.
As far as early November games go, both teams had more than enough incentive to gear up for this one.
There had been several fierce incidents on and off the court between these rising Pacific Division rivals the past three seasons. That was evident again when Clippers star Blake Griffin never offered — or received — a handshake from Warriors players before the opening tip.
"It was very intense. Right from the beginning, our guys were ready," said Kerr, the first coach in franchise history to start his career 4-0.
But there was little drama this time.
Golden State dominated from start to finish, outshooting the Clippers 58 percent to 46 percent and outrebounding them 39-30. The Warriors also had 29 assists in Kerr’s ball-movement based system, though they committed 23 turnovers.
The Warriors had just about everything else going the way they wanted, especially in the first half, from Curry’s crossover dribbles and 3-point prowess to Andrew Bogut on the boards and Green inside and out. They built a 65-42 lead at the break, bringing the sellout crowd of 19,596 roaring to a playoff pitch.
Golden State made all 20 of its free throws and finished 15 of 25 from 3-point range.
"It was fun," Green said. "We really had it clicking."
Clippers: Chris Paul, who had 15 points and 12 assists, was whistled for a technical foul in the third quarter for complaining about an elbow from Curry. … PF Glen Davis sat out with a strained right groin. He’s expected to make his season debut at home Saturday against Portland.
Warriors: PF David Lee scored six points in 7 minutes in the first half and did not return because of a strained left hamstring, which sidelined him for the first three games. He’s scheduled to have an MRI on Thursday. … Kerr received his first technical foul as a coach after arguing with an official in the third quarter.
Rivers said he has no problem with the NBA’s 82-game regular season, but said he’d prefer to see the preseason shortened to four games and stretch out the extra time during the regular season so teams would play fewer back-to-back sets.
Jermaine O’Neal sat next to Lacob and was in the Warriors’ locker room after the game. The 36-year-old O’Neal, who left open the possibility of returning for a 19th NBA season, received a standing ovation from the crowd during a timeout in the first quarter.
Clippers: Host Portland on Saturday.
Warriors: Visit Houston on Saturday.