OAKLAND — Stephen Curry scored 25 of his 31 points in the first half, David Lee finished with 24 points and 13 rebounds and the Golden State Warriors coasted past the ailing Los Angeles Clippers 115-94 on Wednesday night.
Harrison Barnes had 13 points and nine rebounds, and Curry added eight assists and six rebounds to pace Golden State’s 26-8 spurt to start the game. The Warriors handed the Pacific Division-leading Clippers their second loss in two nights after winning a franchise-record 17 straight games.
Jamal Crawford scored 24 points off the bench and Chris Paul had 23 points and six rebounds for the Clippers, playing with heavy hearts after learning of the death of owner Donald Sterling’s son earlier in the day. Starting small forward Caron Butler also wasn’t with Los Angeles because of personal reasons.
The Warriors are 2-0 against the Clippers this season.
After the NBA’s longest winning streak since Boston rolled off 19 in a row from Nov. 15 to Dec. 23, 2008, Los Angeles has struggled to shoot in losses at Denver and Golden State on consecutive nights. The Clippers shot 38.5 percent in Tuesday night’s 92-78 loss at Denver and 36.4 percent at Golden State, ending a difficult 24 hours for the franchise.
Scott Ashley Sterling was found dead of an apparent drug overdose at his Malibu home late Tuesday night, authorities said. He was 32.
Clippers coach Vinny Del Negro said before the game the Sterling family’s loss was "first and foremost on everybody’s mind.” He also said he wanted to "see what we’re made of” in the first game since his team’s record winning streak ended.
This was no normal Clippers-Warriors matchup.
Every fan received a "Winter Whiteout” T-shirt between two perennial losing franchises that are among the NBA’s hottest and most surprising this season. The Clippers (25-8) and Warriors (22-10) had never met with both in first and second in the same division, going back to the 1978-89 season when the Clippers moved West from Buffalo. Los Angeles had its best month in franchise history by going 16-0 in December, while the Warriors equaled their most wins (12-4) in any month in set by the 1961-62 team.
The Warriors built a big lead in a hurry from beyond the arc and never relented. Curry, Barnes and Klay Thompson each swished a 3-pointer during Golden State’s sizzling 26-8 spurt to start the game.
Former Warriors small forward Matt Barnes brought the Clippers back, igniting a 27-5 run while hustling hard on both ends. Barnes, who started in Butler’s place, converted a pair of 3s and a running layup to slice Golden State’s lead to four early in the second quarter.
Curry returned and made nine of his first 10 shots, going 4 of 5 from beyond the arc. He started a three-point play with a running shot off the backboard while getting fouled by Paul, pumping his chest with both arms in an emphatic celebration. The Warriors led 62-49 at the break behind Curry, whose 25 points were the most a Warriors player has scored in any half this season.
After the Warriors took a 68-49 lead on Festus Ezeli’s dunk early in the third quarter, Los Angeles dodged its biggest tumble of the night. Blake Griffin twisted in the air and landed hard on his right shoulder and head when Ezeli reached in for a foul.
After officials reviewed video replays, they called a flagrant 1 foul against Ezeli. Griffin seemed dazed for a moment but stayed in the game, finishing with 10 points and six rebounds.
The Clippers closed the gap to 10 before the Warriors built back a 23-point lead early in the fourth quarter.
NOTES: Golden State outrebounded the Clippers 53-38, improving to 20-2 when outrebounding the opponent this season. ... Del Negro was named Western Conference Coach of the Month of December on Wednesday. Larry Brown (March 1992) is the only other Clippers coach to win the honor. Paul earned Western Conference Player of the Month. ... Raiders owner Mark Davis, super middleweight boxing champion Andre Ward, musician Carlos Santana and former NBA player Kenny Smith were among those in attendance.