From the opening tip, the Los Angeles Clippers were in complete control of game 2 against the Golden State Warriors, and the scoreboard reflected that dominance. The Clippers flew through the first half in mounting a 26-point lead at the break, and from there, it was a cruise-control victory by a final count of 138-98.
The Clippers began the night on a 15-4 run that set the tone, and with 3 assists by All-World point guard Chris Paul and 3 blocks from Defensive Player of the year candidate DeAndre Jordan, it was a bit of a microcosm of the evening. In fact, virtually nothing went right for the visiting Warriors in the first, as their leading scorer from game 1 (Klay Thompson) committed 3 fouls in the period, while Stephen Curry went scoreless (yikes) and LA’s Blake Griffin led both teams in scoring with 14 points.
For the entirety of the first half, it was a clinic by the Clippers. The bench trio of Jamal Crawford, Hedo Turkoglu and Danny Granger combined to knock down three consecutive threes to extend the already growing lead to 46-28 with 8:37 in the second quarter, and they weren’t nearly done. When the dust settled at halftime, the Clippers had scored a playoff franchise record 67 points in the first 24 minutes, and they never led by less than double-digits in the second period on the way to the aforementioned 26-point lead.
The second half wasn’t much (read: any) better for the Warriors, as Los Angeles sprinted to a 12-5 run (including 8 points from the red-hot Griffin) to begin the half and never looked back after amassing a 33-point lead at that point. In fact, that would not even be close to the largest deficit of the night for Golden State, as the Clippers built the margin to 39 after 5 straight points from Turkoglu and a 3-pointer from Granger at the 7:07 mark and it would get worse from there. Fittingly, the Clippers held their largest margin of the night at the final buzzer, as the final 40-point margin was indicative of the blowout that transpired.
Individually, Blake Griffin was the best player on the floor in this one, as he rode 21 first-half points to final totals that included a playoff career-high 35 points (on 13-17 FG, 9-10 FT) and 6 rebounds in just 30 minutes of action. His battery mate, Chris Paul, did the majority of his damage in the first half as well, with 7 assists, 4 rebounds and 3 steals prior to the break, and all told, CP3 finished with 12 points, 10 assists, 6 rebounds and 5 steals in just 27 minutes.
As a unit, the Clippers shot a blistering 57% from the floor (and 48% from three) in the game, and while Golden State actually managed 46% in their own right, it was the ability of LA to control the turnover margin (26-13) and knock down threes that gave them the massive cushion that they enjoyed throughout. It is borderline amazing that Stephen Curry, who didn’t score until the final 3 minutes of the first half, finished with 24 points on 9 for 17 shooting, but no amount of garbage time could save the Golden State box score on this night.
These two teams will now take a two-day break from the playoff festivities, and while Golden State certainly completed their “mission” by stealing one in Los Angeles, it would be very tough to say that they hold any sort of momentum heading into Thursday night’s tilt in Oakland. Stay tuned.