Warriors 115, Clippers 94

Dave Del Grande, The Sports Xchange
The SportsXchange

OAKLAND, Calif. -- Stephen Curry scored 25 of his game-high 31 points in the first half and the Golden State defense harassed Los Angeles Clippers stars Chris Paul and Blake Griffin into subpar performances as the Warriors beat their Southern California rivals for the second time this season, 115-94 Wednesday night at Oracle Arena.
The game was played less than 24 hours after the Clippers received word Scott Sterling, the 32-year-old son of team owner Donald, was found dead in his Malibu, Calif., home.
The Clippers also were coming off a 92-78 loss at Denver that snapped their franchise-record, 17-game winning streak.
Wednesday's quick comeback was even less competitive. With Curry, Klay Thompson and Harrison Barnes combining for four 3-pointers and the Warriors setting a defensive tone with early hard fouls on Griffin and DeAndre Jordan, Golden State scored 26 of the game's first 34 points and never trailed thereafter en route to first victory of 2013 after recording 21 in 31 games before the turn of the calendar.
The teams will meet in a rematch Saturday night in Los Angeles.
Curry connected on six 3-pointers and Klay Thompson five as the Warriors drained 12 of 23 from beyond the arc on a night when they shot 50.0 percent overall from the field.
David Lee had 24 points and Thompson 19 for the Warriors, who also dominated the boards to the tune of 53-38, with Lee leading the way with 13.
The game matched the Warriors and Clippers as the top two teams in their division for the first time in their 35-year history of being in the same division. The win allowed the second-place Warriors, who had a 114-110 road win over the Clippers on Nov. 3, to move within 2 1/2 games of front-running L.A.
Jamal Crawford came off the bench to score 24 points and Matt Barnes had 19 for the Clippers, who got within 10 only once in the second half, only to see the Warriors score eight of the game's next 10 points late in the third period to resume command again at 80-64.
Paul recovered from a 1-for-4, four-point first half to total 23 basically meaningless points for the Clippers. Griffin made just two of his 11 shots on a 10-point night.
Curry put on an All-Star-type performance in the face of Paul in the first half, pouring in 25 points mostly on the strength of four 3-point hoops. He hit nine of his 11 shots in all in the first 24 minutes, outscoring his counterpart by 21 as the Warriors went up by 13, 62-49.
Curry was one of four Warriors who provided all the scoring in a 26-8 game-opening flurry, burying a 3, a 20-footer and a layup for seven points. Harrison Barnes matched that total and teammates Lee and Thompson added six apiece to the blitz, which threatened to blow out the Clippers almost before they broke a sweat.
Meanwhile, Paul was mainly a distributor in the half, taking only four shots. He'd have had a whole lot more than four assists had his team not shot just 37.2 percent.
Despite the poor shooting, L.A. nearly got even in the second quarter, once climbing as close as 43-41 on the strength of a personal eight-point run (two 3's and two free throws) by Crawford. But getting almost nothing from Paul and Griffin (1-for-8), the visitors couldn't sustain it and eventually went to the locker room at the intermission down double digits.
Former Warriors Barnes (16) and Crawford (15) accounted for 31 of the Clippers' 49 points in the half.
NOTES: The news of Sterling's death was on the mind of both coaches before the game. "I certainly want to give my prayers to Donald Sterling and his family during this tough period. I'm thinking and praying for him," the Warriors' Mark Jackson said before the game. Added the Clippers' Vinny Del Negro: "We had a meeting this morning. This is not an easy situation. Things like this put things in perspective real quick." ... Del Negro was named NBA Coach of the Month in the wake of his team's 16-0 record in December. The third-year Clippers coach downplayed becoming the franchise's second-ever Coach of the Month (Larry Brown was so honored in March 1992), insisting, "Players win games; coaches lose them. That's what I believe in." ... While the Clippers were losing in Denver on Tuesday, the Warriors were enjoying the day off. Golden State will have the same scheduling advantage when the teams' rematch Saturday in Los Angeles, with the Clippers facing the Lakers on Friday while the Warriors relax in their L.A. hotel rooms. ... The Warriors entered 2013 having lost their first game following New Year's 12 of the last 13 years. ... Del Negro got a chuckle from a "Warriors Whiteout" promotion in which almost everyone in Oracle Arena wore a white t-shirt. "Hopefully the whiteout will get our antennas up earlier tonight (than in Tuesday's loss)," he noted before adding, "Grab me a couple of those t-shirts. I gotta clean my car." ... When Clippers backup Jamal Crawford set a franchise record by making 58 consecutive free throws earlier this season, he broke the mark of 44 established by Jackson, who happened to be watching the Dec. 3 game against the Jazz on television with two of his sons when Crawford made his 45th straight.

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