LOS ANGELES (AP) — Stephen Curry and the Golden State Warriors had looked a tad vulnerable to start the new season.
They had a 4-3 record and blew a 14-point second half lead at home to the Detroit Pistons on Sunday.
One day later, the team played more like the defending champions, using a stifling defense to blow out the Los Angeles Clippers 141-113. It was Golden State’s 11th consecutive win over Los Angeles.
“That looked like us,” Warriors coach Steve Kerr said.
The Warriors got a terrific all-around game from Curry, who scored 31 points, hit seven of his 11 3-point attempts and added six assists and five rebounds.
The Clippers (4-2) were the last team in the NBA to lose a game, but dropped their second straight despite 19 points from Danilo Gallinari and 17 from Lou Williams.
The last time the Clippers defeated the Warriors was Christmas Day in 2014.
“I don’t think they get enough credit defensively. It’s amazing,” said Clippers coach Doc Rivers. “Whenever we talk about Golden State, we only talk about their offense. And I think their defense is what sets them apart.”
Though the Clippers try to run their offense through Blake Griffin, the power forward was quickly doubled whenever he touched the ball down low and struggled to get his shot off.
He finished with 16 points on four of 10 shooting.
“They came pretty early,” Griffin said. “Some teams wait for the first dribble, some teams wait until you have a foot outside the lane. They doubled pretty early and pretty consistently throughout the game.”
The Warriors had 37 assists on the night to 12 turnovers. They outrebounded Los Angeles 46-35 and outshot them, if only 89-86.
“Our whole thing is, if we get more field goal attempts than our opponent, there’s a chance we’re going to win,” Kerr said. “But we haven’t been doing that. We came in averaging nine fewer attempts.”
In addition to Curry, the Warriors got 19 points and seven rebounds from Kevin Durant, 16 points and nine rebounds from Draymond Green and 15 points and six assists from Klay Thompson.
“Our defensive effort really got us to where we wanted to be,” Curry said. “The coach gave us a challenge before the game to just try and win the possession and field-goal game. Throughout the course of the game, that was the key. We played Warriors basketball and now we have to sustain it.”
Warriors: Kerr said he supported Green after his forward was fined $25,000 for his part in a skirmish with Bullets guard Bradley Beal on Friday: “He got attacked. I didn’t agree with his punishment but all you can do as a team is accept it.”
Clippers: Had entered game holding opponents to a league-low 92.4 points per game and a 40.4 field goal percentage shooting (second). Rivers said the superb early defense starts with having DeAndre Jordan at center, but new starting guards Patrick Beverley and Austin Rivers have been tough on the perimeter: “Defensively, that combination has been really good.”
On Monday, however, it was the Golden State defense that dominated. While the Warriors were shooting 58.4 percent from the field, they were holding the Clippers to 45.3 percent.
“Defensively, they had a field day,” Rivers said.
“They got to every loose ball in the first half. They got to every offensive rebound, and every time they got one, they made a three. They’re so unselfish.”
Warriors: Stay on the road Thursday when the travel to San Antonio to meet the Spurs.
Clippers: Scheduled to host the Dallas Mavericks on Wednesday.
Copyright 2019 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.