SAN FRANCISCO — The Warriors took advantage of an undermanned Los Angeles Clippers team playing without stars Kawhi Leonard an Paul George.
Looking to get right after an ugly loss on the road to New Orleans with the starters sitting, Klay Thompson lit up the first quarter and Andrew Wiggins led with 31 points to lead the Warriors to a 124-107 win on Wednesday night at Chase Center. The win moves them to a 9-10 record.
Wiggins went 6-of-10 from 3, marking consecutive games in which he had six 3-pointers, going an efficient 12-of-18 from the field. He’s shooting 43 percent from 3 this season, saying after the game his shot feels the best it ever has.
“He’s shooting the lights out,” coach Steve Kerr said. “He’s so consistent from the field and the 3-point line, and you see how comfortable he is in our offense, consistently slipping to the rim.”
Thompson first lit the spark. He scored 15 points in the first quarter, going 2-4 from 3 and 4-6 from the field. He didn’t score in the second or third quarters, but hit his third 3-pointer upon checking in the fourth quarter.
With a renewed patience following a team meeting last Friday, the 32-year-old is breaking out of his early-season slump. His 56 percent from 3 over his last three games a far cry from the 33 percent he shot in 12 games prior
But the Warriors won by maintaining a consistent pace on offense and a more disciplined defense. To do this, Kerr opted to play Draymond Green with the second unit as a facilitator able to keep the pace and limit mistakes, a rotation adjustment that paid off when Kerr first used it in the Warriors’ win against the Houston Rockets on Sunday.
Green’s presence helped limit the mistakes made from a bench unit that’s made a bad habit of squandering leads. The Warriors entered the second half with a 19 point lead. Their 20 assists tied for most they’ve scored in a half this season.
“It was our best first half of the year,” Kerr said. “We had 19 assists and five turnovers. For the most part we didn’t foul until the final couple minutes of the second quarter, but we were defending with a purpose and because we weren’t fouling, we were able to get out and run and flow, and so the game felt really connected. Good defense led to good offense and vice versa.”
The Clippers cut that lead in half with a little help from the Warriors, who committed 21 fouls by the start of the fourth quarter and 26 overall, leading to 27 Clippers free throw attempts. Lucky for Golden State, the Clippers missed nine free throws.
But Green’s playmaking helped hold the line. All starters except Jonathan Kuminga (minus-2) finished in the positive of the plus-minus stat before garbage time. The Warriors flipped the game into a blowout victory by the time Curry and Thompson checked in mid-way through the fourth quarter.
The Clippers might’ve been without their stars, but Golden State used it as an opportunity to get in sync — from the starting five on down to the bench.