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Clippers’ Paul George reacts to Stephen Curry’s 45-point explosion

Stephen Curry, Paul George, Warriors, Clippers

The LA Clippers finally opened up their season Thursday night, the last team in the NBA to do so. Following a nine day stretch between their final preseason game and their first regular season game, the Clippers fell short against the Golden State Warriors in San Francisco. Paul George and Stephen Curry, however, put on a show.

George finished the 115-113 loss with a team-high 29 points, 11 rebounds, and six assists on 12-of-23 shooting. Unfortunately for the Clippers, he was one-upped by Curry, who erupted for 45 points and 10 rebounds on 16-of-25 shooting.

Curry started off strong, scoring 25 points in the first quarter on a perfect 9-of-9 shooting from the field with five made three-pointers. Paul George answered in the second quarter, scoring 16 of this 22 first half points in the period. In the end, a few more long-range buckets by Stephen Curry shifted the game in the Warriors favor.

After the game, Paul George was asked by ClutchPoints what makes Stephen Curry so hard to guard and how does a team react when he’s going off like he did in the first quarter.

“I think you just have to know where he’s at,” George said.” He’s so good. Like, he’s just a complete package offensively. He’s so good at shooting the three, but he’s just so good at getting open for layups. Like, he’s mastered how to get free without dribbling the ball. He’s just so elusive and quick, it’s hard.”

The Clippers did a good job of weathering the Steph Curry storm in the first quarter, going down by as many as 19 points while the Warriors star refused to miss a shot. They increased their physicality on the two-time MVP, giving Terance Mann the assignment of getting into Curry’s body and slowing him down.

While the Clippers did a food job on him in the second half, Curry was able to get some separation from his defender down the stretch to drill three-pointers from 27 feet and 31 feet.

“One second you look away, he’s gone,” George added. “If you’re not attached to him, he’s gone. So it just takes, honestly, a whole five players to just have an awareness of where he’s at, because one step and he’s outta there and he shoots it so quick, you can’t allow him to get free. So, that’s just what it is, when he gets going like that, you just gotta crowd him, and try to force him to play into his body, you gotta try to wear him out. We didn’t do it well enough tonight, but again, it’s just good things to take with us.”

Despite the loss to the only team in the NBA that’s currently 2-0, the Clippers walked out of Chase Center encouraged by their start.

“I thought our bench came in and gave us a great lift,” head coach Tyronn Lue said. “I thought they competed, I thought their physicality really picked up in that second quarter. They did a good job and playing against Golden State. Steph’s gonna have those quarters where he goes off, but you gotta stay the course, and I thought our team did that tonight. Hats off to those guys. They played a good game and we had a chance, up 98-90, and didn’t score for five minutes and 40 seconds, so that was a huge part of it. So, hats off to Golden State, they played a good game, but I’m proud of our team for the way they competed.”

Thursday’s opener marked the first time the Clippers really saw new additions Eric Bledsoe and Justise Winslow in the rotation of a meaningful game, and they didn’t disappoint.

Bledsoe finished with 22 points, three rebounds, two assists, and three steals on 10-of-16 shooting in 30 minutes. Bledsoe’s downhill ability and the constant pressure he put on the Warriors defense, putting the Clippers in good positions to score all night. Winslow played just 14 minutes off the bench, putting in four points, six rebounds, and an assist. The versatility he brought with the second unit helped make it tough for guys not named Stephen Curry to score the basketball.

“We established and identity, and then you add guys that already had that idea, in Justise and Bledsoe, it just adds onto who we are,” George said of the two new additions. “It was no surprise. I’m proud of them, proud of my guys, we didn’t fold, going down 20. We didn’t fold. As crazy as the first quarter went, we didn’t fold. We kept fighting, we kept playing, so I’m proud of what we did. There’s no moral victories, but, you know, there’s a lot of good things to take away from tonight.”

The Clippers will spend Friday getting together to watch film of the Warriors game before taking on the Memphis Grizzlies in their home opener Saturday night at 7:30 PM PST.