LOS ANGELES (AP) Kawhi Leonard scored 28 points in three quarters and the Los Angeles Clippers routed Golden State 130-104 on Thursday night, sending the Warriors to their season-worst fourth consecutive loss.
Paul George added 17 points and Serge Ibaka had 16 points and 14 rebounds for the Clippers, who ended their own three-game skid to begin the second half of the season.
”We’ve just got to keep improving,” Leonard said. ”We’re not where we want to be.”
Andrew Wiggins and Kelly Oubre Jr. scored 15 points each for the Warriors, who fell to 19-19. Steph Curry was held to 14 points on 6-of-16 shooting. He missed seven of eight shots from long-range after winning the 3-point contest at last weekend’s All-Star Game.
”Nobody likes the feeling of getting smacked,” Curry said. ”We had an opportunity to set the tone for the second half of the season and obviously we didn’t do it.”
The Clippers rode a dominant third quarter to a 104-68 lead heading into the fourth. They scored 45 points and hit seven 3-pointers. Los Angeles opened on a 13-3 spurt, in which Nicolas Batum and George made back-to-back 3-pointers. The Clippers closed with a 29-13 run that featured a combined 17 points from Leonard and George.
”Just being focused and just being ready to adjust and just try to come out and hit first in the second half,” Leonard said, describing the Clippers’ mindset.
Curry scored seven points in the third, when the Warriors were limited to 25 points, before sitting out the fourth. The Clippers rested their starters over the final 12 minutes.
”The beginning of the third quarter was disappointing,” Kerr said. ”We gave away some easy hoops right away and by the time we kicked into gear defensively and started fighting, we were already down 25 points and it was too late.”
Curry exhorted his teammates on the sideline, raising his arms while trying to inject some energy.
”Early in the year, it felt like we just had a long way to go, so there was frustration but we knew we were going to get better,” Kerr said. ”The frustration was greater tonight because we have proven we can be competitive and win games. That was a really disappointing, poor effort.”
Leonard scored the Clippers’ final 14 points to end the first, while Curry had three. He didn’t score his first basket until nearly eight minutes into the game.
Warriors: Got beat on the boards, 56-44. … Their lone edge was in the paint, where they outscored LA 46-38. … Recalled Alen Smailagic from their G League team. … Their March 29 game against Chicago will feature an all-women broadcast on the team’s flagship radio station.
Clippers: Patrick Beverley played just 10 minutes because of a sore right knee. … Their 45 points in the third were the most scored in a quarter since they had 47 in the second against the Knicks on Jan. 5, 2020. …. George passed Steve Nash for sole possession of 25th all-time with his 1,686th career 3-pointer in the third quarter. … Lou Williams scored 14 points in 14 minutes. … Allowed 43 points in the first half, tying the fewest points given up in the first half this season.
TEACHING A LESSON
James Wiseman was benched for the first three quarters after missing mandatory COVID-19 testing during the All-Star break. He played the entire fourth, scoring 14 points on 6-of-7 shooting and grabbing seven rebounds.
”I made a huge mistake and I most definitely will not do that again,” said Wiseman, a 19-year-old who was the overall No. 2 pick in the NBA draft. ”I made sure I apologized to coach. I was mad so I had to make sure I just went out there and played hard.”
Wiseman wasn’t allowed to practice a day earlier because of the missed testing.
”You’ve got to take care of your business. Everything matters,” Kerr said. ”He responded exactly as I had hoped he would. He competed with energy and that bodes well.”
Curry said the players discussed Wiseman’s mistake, although the punishment was Kerr’s decision.
”There are learning curves for everybody in this league,” he said. ”The quicker you learn those things and just make it about basketball, the better.”
Warriors: Host Utah on Sunday in just their second home game in 24 days.
Clippers: Visit New Orleans on Sunday in the opener of a three-game trip.
Courtesy: CBS Sports