The Warriors continued improvement was on full display Friday night in a 109-91 domination of the Clippers. Stephen Curry reinjured his right ankle but still managed to produce 16 points and 6 assists on 7 of 9 shooting from the field before he left the game.
Monta Ellis took over the point guard duties the rest of the way and the offense didn't miss a beat with his 11 assists and 6 of 12 shooting from the floor. In fact, the Warriors finished the game with 32 assists on 43 field goals while shooting 53.1% from the field as a team. Dorell Wright continues to be phenomenal on the wing, hitting 6 of 8 from behind the arc and grabbing 8 rebounds. Through two games, he leads the Warriors in three pointers made and percentage.
David Lee played another solid game on the boards (12 rebounds) helping the Warriors win that battle as a team, 46 to the Clippers 40. Blake Griffin finished with 10 rebounds and 14 points, but the team defense kept he and the Clippers under control, holding them to just 38.6% shooting.
After leading by just 4 points at halftime the Warriors came out in the 3rd quarter with more energy than the Clips and a sense of urgency that blew the game wide open. This is where the team has improved the most since last year. They are now executing their game plan for the entire game. They held the Clippers to just 13 points in the 3rd quarter while maintaining their own ability to score. There's no surprise in the Warriors starting the game well but this year they're finishing games and making adjustments as they go on. Keith Smart is truly making a case for himself to get an extension and he needs to be commended.
Not only is he playing his bench, he's putting trust in them and they are responding. I thought they would be a major weakness this season but thus far they have held there own and look to be a reliable unit going forward. The Warriors are off to their best start in over 15 years and things are looking good. The Lakers are up next but it looks like they will be in for a battle on Sunday. Now that the Warriors have proven they can control the boards against one quality team (Rockets) and another that featured a great rebounder in Griffin, the Lakers front line does not seem to be so intimidating. It will be a fun game to watch as the Warriors hit the road for the first time this season and get to see how they compare to the NBA's elite.