What we learned as Warriors' win streak ends in loss to Clippers

What we learned as Warriors' win streak ends in loss to Clippers originally appeared on NBC Sports Bay Area

SAN FRANCISCO – Stephen Curry put together another memorable night Wednesday when he became the first player in NBA history to make at least seven 3-pointers in four consecutive games, but the Warriors couldn’t hold onto a late lead and lost to the Los Angeles Clippers 130-125 at Chase Center.

Curry scored 41 points on 15 of 31 shooting overall, 9 of 19 beyond the arc. Curry also had four rebounds and five assists. Brandin Podziemski again flirted with a triple-double, scoring 25 points with seven rebounds and eight assists. Jonathan Kuminga kept rolling with 13 points, eight rebounds and six assists.

The Warriors (26-27) saw their season-high five-game winning streak come to an end, while coach Steve Kerr was denied in a bid for his 500th career victory.

Golden State led most of the game until things tightened up late in the fourth quarter.

After the Clippers (37-17) led 124-117 following Amir Coffey’s second 3-pointer of the game, Curry came back with his own three off a pass from Podziemski with 55.7 seconds remaining. Curry later scored a coast-to-coast drive to cut the gap to 128-125, but James Harden was fouled by Andrew Wiggins and made a pair of free throws to close it out.

It was Golden State’s NBA-leading 36th clutch game this season, defined as a game within five points or fewer with five minutes left to play.

Here are the takeaways from Wednesday’s game against the Clippers:

Green gives Dubs a scare

Injuries have been a significant stumbling block for the Warriors this season, and it briefly looked like they might have to absorb another blow when Green was left lying prone on the court after battling Ivica Zubac for a rebound in the third quarter.

Green was on the floor for several moments while play continued around him. When officials finally stopped the game Green was helped to his feet and walked slowly to the locker room where he was checked for a concussion but cleared to return.

Green coming back and playing is huge for many reasons.

The Warriors couldn’t find a consistent replacement for his energy and defense while Green served his two suspensions, and it was not surprising that his return coincided with Golden State’s season turning around.

With the NBA All-Star break coming up this weekend, Green also will have a six-day break following Thursday's game in Utah. That should enable him to get plenty of rest before the season resumes on Feb. 22 when Golden State hosts the Los Angeles Lakers at Chase Center.

GP2 on PG

Gary Payton II had another solid game defensively while matching up with Paul George. George scored seven points in the first quarter before Payton came off the bench and quickly threw a blanket over the Clippers star.

George was held scoreless and played fewer than five minutes in the second quarter. When Payton began the third quarter back on the bench, George shook loose and scored 10 points to keep the Clippers close.

George finished with the upperhand individually, outscoring Payton 24-2. But George had to work a lot harder for his shots when Payton was on the court, connecting on only 5 of 12 shots after making three of his first five attempts in the first quarter.

Defending the rim

Before the game, Kerr talked about the importance of defending down low being key to the Warriors’ overall defense. His players seemed to have taken that to heart early, as the Clippers were far more active outside the key than near the bucket in the first quarter.

The Clippers took just four shots in the key and scored four points in the opening 12 minutes. That wasn’t entirely shocking because they played with star forward Kawhi Leonard, who was held out of the game due to a left adductor strain.

The Warriors were very active on the boards, surrendering two offensive rebounds in that same time frame before the Clippers got loose and attacked frequently and with more success after the first quarter.

Golden State couldn’t sustain the defensive intensity, however, and the Clippers took full advantage and repeatedly exploited their dominance down low while outscoring the Warriors in the paint 56-48.

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