Clippers Close Gap On Warriors
First Meeting Is A Classic Although Clippers Lose
November 12, 2015
By Mitch Chortkoff
It's rare that an NBA game so early in the season would attract the attention this one did.
But I decided to devote my entire column to the Clippers' 112-108 loss to the defending champions on November 4 after digesting all the facts from that contest in Oakland.
The Clippers have a reputation of getting close but not quite close enough. They've never won an NBA championship but I believe they're creeping up toward the possibility that they could get one while Chris Paul, Blake Griffin and Doc Rivers are on board.
Here's what happened Nov. 4 when both teams took 4-0 records into their meeting on the Warriors' home court.
There were 11 lead changes early. The Warriors then raced to a 17-point lead. But in the fourth quarter the Clippers led by 10. At the finish the Warriors played like the champions they are and staved off the Clippers' final bid.
If this was a game in the playoffs it would have received even more attention. Yet within a day or two commentators from all across America were sharing their thoughts.
As for the players, some Clippers didn't get much satisfaction, saying a loss is a loss. But others were encouraged that they didn't fold when they fell behind and even went a point ahead in the final minute.
The Clippers have nine new players this season and were playing in front of the Warriors' fans who are regarded as the most rabid in the league.
So coming close and losing wasn't so bad in my opinion.
Griffin was one player who was proud of the Clippers standing up against the champions and carrying the fight so gallantly until the end.
I'm eagerly awaiting the next meeting between the Warriors and Clippers which will occur November 19 at Staples Center.
The Warriors are the best. No argument there. Last season they won their first NBA championship in 40 years. Stephen Curry is currently the best player in the league.
But I'm watching closely to see if the Warriors can repeat as champions while coach Steve Kerr is unable to participate due to complications from a surgery that resulted in a second surgery.
It's being reported that he's struggling with headaches most likely from medication that he must take. It's possible Kerr won't return until the all-star break.
The Warriors are 5-0 with former Laker Luke Walton moving from assistant coach to head coach. Walton is quite capable but Kerr's absence cannot be ignored. The job he did last season was fantastic.
I don't know which team can beat the Warriors this season. They're so great at taking charge of games. In this one forward Harrison Barnes scored 10 straight points after the Clippers led in the fourth quarter.
But there's a lot of quality in the NBA this season, a lot of it being in the Western Conference. A lot of basketball must be played before we reach conclusions about what the outcome is going to be.