Warriors clobber Clippers to end nine-game slide
OAKLAND – Golden State’s Stephen Curry thanked the Oracle Arena crowd in a pregame speech for supporting the team through what has been a rough first half of the season.
Then the Warriors rookie went out and gave them optimism for the future.
Taking over the offense with leading scorer Monta Ellis sidelined with a knee injury, Curry recorded his first triple-double with a career-high 36 points, 13 assists and 10 rebounds as Golden State beat the Los Angeles Clippers 132-102 to snap season-high nine-game losing streak Wednesday night.
“It was a lot of fun out there, to be able to perform that well, especially in the situation for us as a team,” Curry said. “I had the ball in my hands a lot more and that allows me to make more plays for myself and for my teammates.”
Curry, who will play in the Rookie Squad game and take part in the 3-point competition during this weekend’s All-Star festivities, became the first Warriors rookie to record a triple-double since Chris Webber on Dec. 23, 1993. He’s also the NBA’s first rookie to have at least 30 points, 10 rebounds and 10 assists since Kevin Johnson did it for Phoenix on April 16, 1988.
It almost didn’t happen.
Curry had to wait until the very end of the game to notch his 10th rebound, grabbing Al Thornton’s missed 16-foot jump shot just before the final buzzer.
“I got mad at Steph because I stole one (rebound) from him and then I was like, ‘Steph, just tell me and I’ll let you have it,”‘ said Golden State’s Ronny Turiaf, who had 12 points and six boards. “We were trying to make sure everyone knew it, that’s for sure. It was pretty cool to see him get it.”
Anthony Tolliver added a career-high 29 points and Anthony Morrow had 26 points and 10 rebounds for Golden State, which led by as much as 38 while playing without Ellis.
Eric Gordon and Rasual Butler had 16 points apiece for the Clippers, who remained winless in three games since interim coach Kim Hughes replaced Mike Dunleavy.
“We have to find out what caused this tonight (and) if I have to adjust playing time to figure it out, then that’s what I have to do,” Hughes said. “We didn’t play any defense tonight.”
Ellis sprained his left knee in the fourth quarter of the Warriors’ 127-117 loss to Dallas on Monday. He underwent an MRI on Tuesday which determined the injury to be mild, though it’s still uncertain when Ellis will return.
Due to the All-Star break this weekend, Golden State doesn’t play again until Tuesday against the Lakers in Los Angeles but has four games in a six-day stretch after that.
Ellis’ absence was the latest in a series of season-long injuries that have riddled Golden State’s lineup. This one robbed the Warriors of their leading scorer and emotional leader.
Golden State was also without second-leading scorer Corey Maggette, who sat out a second straight game with a dislocated left ring finger.
It didn’t matter.
C.J. Watson, who missed eight games earlier this season with a variety of injuries, started in place of Ellis but it was Curry, the rookie, who picked up the slack.
The seventh overall pick in the draft, Curry went 11 of 22 from the floor and set a personal best with seven 3-pointers while leading the Warriors to their first win since Jan. 22.
He had 17 points in the first quarter, matching a team record with five 3-pointers, then added another 17 in the third when he sank a pair of 27-foot jumpers.
“It just started with guys getting penetration and kicking it to an open man,” Curry said. “You could see we were shooting the ball well so everybody felt the need to get everyone else involved.”
Los Angeles, which trailed 64-46 at halftime, had no answer and lost for the eighth time in nine games.
Clippers point guard Baron Davis, a one-time fan favorite in Oakland while playing with the Warriors from 2005-08, had 25 points against his former team earlier this season but wasn’t nearly as effective this time. He missed his first seven shots, was held to five points in the first half and was shut out after the break while finishing with seven assists.
“We didn’t have any rhythm or continuity on offense, and our defense was even worse,” Davis said. “It’s going to take some soul searching from each and every individual. We have been spiraling down and we need to stop that.”
Chris Kaman, who was named to his first All-Star game as a replacement for injured Portland guard Brandon Roy, had 13 points for Los Angeles but it had little effect on the outcome.
NOTES: The Clippers shot just 37.5 percent in the first half and failed to crack the 100-point barrier for the 11th straight game. … Los Angeles is averaging 94 points under Hughes, who took over as interim coach when Dunleavy stepped down to focus on his general manager duties.
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