The Golden State Warriors wasted another epic performance from Steph Curry in a loss on Wednesday, falling to the LA Clippers 134-126. Here are three key reactions—with related film, analysis and numbers, as usual—from the defending champions’ ninth straight loss on the road.

Steph Curry hits another peak

It seems crazy to suggest that a four-time champion, two-time MVP and reigning Finals MVP could reach a new individual peak just one day after turning 35. But literally anyone watching this game at least considered that wild development as Curry put on an all-time show in Hollywood, ripping nets from all over the floor en route to 50 points on 20-of-28 shooting and 8-of-14 from beyond the arc.

Curry was stellar from the opening tip against the Clippers, controlling the game offensively early through a steady mix of getting his own and creating open shots for teammates. Trailing 61-58 after a spirited, competitive first half from both sides, though, Steve Kerr and the Warriors made a concerted effort to put the ball in Curry’s hands in various ball-screen actions after intermission.

The result wasn’t just Golden State cleaning up its first-half turnover woes, but one of the most jaw-dropping displays of shot-making throughout Curry’s iconic NBA career.

These three plays came in quick succession, Curry carving up Ivica Zubac twice with pull-up triples before splitting the high trap for an awkward, leaning floater around Nic Batum.

Give Kerr credit for spamming what was working, too. Getting Zubac in the action was the Warriors’ primary objective, but the first two clips above feature Golden State forcing an on-ball switch from Terrance Mann and Eric Gordon before the primary pick-and-roll.

Even Kawhi Leonard didn’t have a chance containing Curry when the Dubs put Zubac in ball-screen action. This is one of the most impressive finishes Curry’s had in a regular season full of them.

He finished a 21-point third quarter by flipping up an underhand 12-footer off the glass while falling to the hardwood. Ho-hum. It was just more of the same for Curry on Wednesday.

The Warriors franchise player wasn’t finished, either. After the Clippers suddenly opened up a double-digit lead with him on the bench to start the fourth quarter, Curry put on his cape to give Golden State some much-needed life heading into crunch-time.

LA sold out to stop Curry late in the game, holding him to just one field goal attempt after he reached 50 points on a tough two-point jumper with 3:41 left. With Klay Thompson hounded by the Clippers’ active, physical defense, Jordan Poole on the bench due to sweeping defensive issues and Andrew Wiggins still sidelined, the Warriors just didn’t give Curry enough support to steal a crucial road win in the clutch.


Curry played one of his best games ever in one of the biggest games of the season, passing Michael Jordan’s six to tie Wilt Chamberlain for the most 50-point games in league history after turning 30 years old. It’s only a matter of time until that record belongs to him alone. Don’t be surprised if that comes to pass before season’s end, all the more reason to hope Golden State—now sixth in the West and losing the opportunity for a head-to-head tie-breaker against LA—manages a victory the next time Curry truly puts the team on his back.

Defensive rebounding dooms Warriors

Golden State shot 55.7% from the floor and 17-of-36 from three-point range, finishing with 48 points in the paint and 14 fast-break points. Aided by Curry playing ball-handling alpha dog after halftime, the Warriors turned the ball over just four times in the second half. They were in the bonus with 9:23 left in the fourth quarter, too, especially key after the visitors failed to get to the free throw line at all in the third.

All that offensive brilliance—most of which stemmed from Curry directly or otherwise—wasn’t enough to offset the Clippers’ advantage on the glass, though.

LA absolutely dominated the rebounding battle on Wednesday, grabbing 16 offensive boards for a whopping 27 second-chance points. Many of those corralled own misses came at critical junctures, too, after the Warriors had fought and clawed their way to suffocating first-shot defense and stymying their hopes for a late-game comeback.


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Note who’s missing from each of those possessions, by the way.

Kerr went small for the game’s last nine minutes, replacing Kevon Looney with Jonathan Kuminga. The Clippers had been effective on the offensive boards long before Golden State downsized. But with Wiggins, Andre Iguodala and Gary Payton II sidelined, the Warriors were left with Curry as the primary defender on Paul George when Poole took Donte DiVincenzo’s spot with the current starters and Kawhi Leonard was also on the floor.

What do you want Curry to do here?

Going small with Kuminga in Looney’s place at least gave Golden State a pair of viable defenders on George and Leonard, even if Klay Thompson isn’t the one-on-one stopper he was in his prime.

The problem? That lineup change left the Warriors even more susceptible to offensive boards, the bigger, badder Clippers out-fighting them for inside position on some of the game’s biggest possessions.

LA’s 38.0% offensive rebound rate is the ninth-worst mark Golden State’s surrendered all season. Making matters more distressing, that gaudy number is lower than the Warriors gave up in Monday’s romp of a victory over the Phoenix Suns. Keep an eye on the defensive glass as the season’s stretch run continues. The longer Wiggins and Payton are out, the more difficult it will be for Kerr to find lineups that give Golden State everything it needs to succeed defensively.

Too many defensive breakdowns

It bears mentioning that the Clippers are finding their stride. Leonard has played at a First Team All-NBA level over the past couple months, and LA came into Wednesday’s action winners of three straight games, all versus foes bound for the postseason. It’s still too early to write off Ty Lue’s team entirely.

Regardless, the Warriors simply fell victim to too many bad defensive breakdowns against the Clippers, often not on the same page in the halfcourt.

Poole was exploited all night whether or not he was targeted.

You won’t find many more egregious examples of idle ball-watching than this, and it came right after he’d allowed Mann an offensive rebound and-1 and missed a layup on the other end. Poole’s offensive foul was just the icing on a disastrous stretch of basketball—with Curry catching his breath on the bench early in the fourth quarter—that helped cost the Dubs the game.

The few times Golden State went zone didn’t exactly go well, either.

Even the briefest of slip-ups can kill a defense with George and Leonard on the floor.

Kuminga is just a half-step late orchestrating an off-ball switch with Thompson on the Clippers’ superstar wings here, giving George all the space he needs to launch a clean catch-and-shoot triple.

The good news? Reinforcements are coming. Until Payton and (hopefully) Wiggins are back in the fold, though, it’s more important than ever for Golden State to avoid schematic mistakes defensively.