New season. Same result.
The Golden State Warriors crushed the Los Angeles Clippers 115-98 for their seventh straight head-to-head victory over their Southern California rivals on Wednesday night at Staples Center.
The NBA's best team proved why they are the overwhelming favorite to win the NBA title this year after they went up by 20+ points in the first quarter, and never looked back.
"I think they broke our spirit a little bit," Chris Paul said of the first quarter. "We gave them a lot of baskets. You can't give them points and we were playing transition defense all night."
Klay Thompson led the Warriors on offense with 24 points. Draymond Green chipped in 22, Steph Curry had 19, and Kevin Durant finished with 16 in his first meeting with the Clippers as a member of the Warriors.
"Defensively is where we won the game," said Durant. "We held them to 39 percent shooting and that's the formula. We made them play one-on-one and made them shoot tough shots all night."
Curry failed to make a three-pointer (0-for-8) for the second time this season, both coming on the Staples Center court as his streak of 157 straight games with a three ended in November against the Lakers.
"It was kind of a coincidence," Curry said of not nailing a shot from beyond the arc. "We try to affect the game in other ways when your shot isn't falling. That's the test, to stay locked in and not get frustrated ebcause I know that won't happen often."
Both teams started the game sloppy as it was apparent that emotions and excitement were at peak levels for the first matchup of the regular season between the two teams. The Clippers committed nine turnovers in the first half, and Golden State had five.
"I don't think either team played that great in the first few minutes," Clippers head coach Doc Rivers said. "You can't give a good team more confidence and we did that tonight."
L.A. led 9-7 midway through the first quarter, but that would be their only lead of the game as the Warriors ran off 12 straight points and never looked back.
By the time celebrities sitting courtside found their seats, the Warriors had doubled up the Clippers, 30-15, at the end of the first quarter.
Chris Rock, Jay Z, Waka Flocka, Jaleel White, Simone Biles, Wayne Brady and reverend Jesse Jackson were all courtside to watch the Warriors demolition of their Western Conference foes.
The Clippers "Big 3" struggled from the field as Blake Griffin and Chris Paul were a combined 12-for-34 in the game for just 27 points.
"We need to be more resilient, especially against a team like the Warriors," said Griffin after the game. "I turned the ball over, I put myself in those positions. I missed easy shots. I forced bad shots."
J.J. Redick only had two points and DeAndre Jordan had 10 points to go along with 12 rebounds.
Jamal Crawford led L.A. with 21 points off the bench.
"In the Cleveland game, we were the agressors," Crawford said of their victory last week against the reigning NBA Champion Cleveland Cavaliers compared to tonight. "Tonight we played on our heels."
Golden State has won four consecutive games against the Clippers at Staples Center and seven straight overall, dating back to Christmas 2014. The seven-game losing streak against the Warriors is the longest active streak against any opponent for the Clippers.
The Warriors continued their NBA-record pace with 32 assists in the game, right at their average. They fell just short of their NBA-leading 120.2 points per game mark with 115.
Players of the Game:
Draymond Green: 22 points
Jamal Crawford: 21 points
Klay Thompson: 24 points
1. Dray and Jay: Draymond Green had a hug for rap mogul Jay Z before the game.
2. Not Even Close: Entering the game, the largest deficit the Clippers had faced on the season was 21 points. On Wednesday, the Warriors led by as many as 27 points.
Clippers have trailed by as many as 27 tonight. Prior to today, biggest deficit was 21. — Dan Woike (@DanWoikeSports) December 8, 2016
3. Bring Home the Gold: There were plenty of Gold medalists on the court as Kevin Durant, Draymond Green, DeAndre Jordan, and Klay Thompson all represented the Stars and Stripes in Brazil this summer, but it was four-time Gold Medalist and Olympic gymnast, Simone Biles that trumped them all as she watched the game courtside.
Warriors (19-3): Golden State's five-game road trip continues in Utah on Thursday where they will face the tough-minded Jazz at 6:00PM PST.
Clippers (16-7): Los Angeles will look to rebound from their worst loss of the season when they host the New Orleans Pelicans on Saturday at 7:30PM PST.