Warriors edge Suns in season opener, 87-85

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Warriors edge Suns in season opener, 87-85

BOX SCORE
Warriors 87, Suns 85
Player of the game: Carl Landry finished with 17 points and a couple of big buckets to help the Warriors win their regular-season opener against the Suns in Phoenix.Key stretch: Landry hit a tough bucket inside with a little over a minute left to put the Warriors 85-84, and then knocked down an elbow jumper with 54 seconds left to give the Warriors an 87-84 lead.

It was just a great overall effort, Warriors coach Mark Jackson said. When you talk about winning, youve got to be willing to sacrifice. We have a group that is buying in. Weve got to be extremely satisfied. It was ugly, but I remember we would lose ugly games.
Lee, Curry struggle: David Lee and Stephen Curry had openers to forget. Curry, who signed a four-year, 44 million contract earlier in the day, missed his first 10 shots against the Suns and finished 2-for-14 from the field for five points.VIDEO: David Lee postgame
Lee also couldnt get much to go down, missing 14 of his first 16 shots on his way to a 2-for-16 shooting night. He finished with just six points, but it was his feed to Landry with 1:04 left that gave the Warriors a one-point lead.Defensively we continue to grind it out, compete and execute, Jackson said. We missed shots but if you would have told me that David Lee and Stephen Curry would go 4-for-30 from the field, I would have said we were in trouble.Strength in numbers: The Warriors believe this years team is deeper than past teams, and it showed early. The Warriors opened up a 17-point lead -- 42-25 -- early in the second period thanks to the substitutes.Brandon Rush was the best player on the floor in the first half, scoring 14 points on 6-for-7 shooting.How well did the bench play? Well enough that despite Stephen Curry going 0-for-5 from the floor and David Lee 2-for-11 from the field, they still led 48-42 at halftime.

Rewind: Warriors' dominance over Clippers in 'rivalry' continues

Rewind: Warriors' dominance over Clippers in 'rivalry' continues

LOS ANGELES – Once robust, the fabled Warriors-Clippers rivalry is rapidly going the way of the typewriter.

When the Warriors strolled walked into Staples Center Wednesday night and laid a 115-98 mashing on LA, prompting much of the sellout crowd streaming toward the exits in the fourth quarter, it was seventh consecutive time they have throttled the Clippers.

More deflating for the Clippers and perhaps the rest of the NBA is that this much-hyped game, with LA’s new and improved defense ranking No. 1 in the league, was supposed to be more competitive than the previous six losses.

It was, instead, a 17-point victory, the biggest Warriors rout yet.

Though the Warriors shot a respectable 47.7 percent (but only 23.3 percent beyond the arc) and also lost a tight rebounding battle, 46-45, they did most everything else so well the Clippers were done before the first quarter was over.

They had 32 assists and only 11 turnovers. They held LA to 39.6-percent shooting, while forcing 14 turnovers, leading to 16 Warriors points.

“Defensively, that’s where we won the game,” Kevin Durant said.

“If we defend like that and take care of the ball, even on a night when shots aren’t going in, we have a chance to win anywhere,” coach Steve Kerr said. “Even on the road against a great team.”

The Warriors (19-3) locked up star forward Blake Griffin, holding him to 12 points on 5-of-20 shooting – and an unsightly seven turnovers – mostly under the unyielding defense of Draymond Green.

In a game circled on their calendar, the Clippers’ starting five finished with 41 points – less than the combined totals of Klay Thompson (24) and Green (22).

The Clippers (16-7) lost this game on merit, perhaps more than the Warriors won it. Committing nine first-quarter turnovers, which the Warriors turned into 8 points, LA looked like a team that was not prepared to play an NBA game, certainly not under the microscope of national TV.

The game was advertised never materialized, partly because the Clippers were so bad and partly because the Warriors were appropriately ruthless in taking it.

“It happens,” Clippers coach Doc Rivers said. “You go into a game that you really want to do well, things don’t go well for you, and you lose it sometimes.”

Largely thanks to Clippers turnovers, the Warriors smoked LA in paint points, 58-38, as well as fast-break points, 27-11. The Warriors had 12 steals, including a career-high-tying seven by Stephen Curry.

“When we get a steal, especially live-ball turnovers, it’s three-on-one and you’ve got to pick your poison,” Durant said. “We were getting layups, we were getting wide-open 3s – although we missed a lot. But for the most part, when we get out and run that kind of ignites us, no matter if we miss or make the shot.”

So it didn’t matter than Curry failed to make a 3-pointers for only the second time this season, or that Durant endured his worst shooting night as a Warrior, going 5-of-17 from the field.

With Curry, Durant and Thompson all shooting under 50 percent, it was left to Green to operate the efficiency department. He mastered it, going 8-of-10 from the field, including 3-of-5 beyond the arc.

“It was great to get some shots to fall,” Green said. “(My shot has) been feeling good the last couple days, so I said if I got a shot that I would come in aggressive. But still focus in on the defensive end. That’s always my No. 1 focus, especially against a team like this.”

To locate the genesis of the Warriors recent domination of the Clippers, look no further than Green. He suffocates Griffin, who tends to come apart. The Warriors have faced the Clippers nine times since Green was installed as the starting power forward. They’ve won eight of them.

“If you want to take a positive away from this experience, it’s that this isn’t the playoffs,” Griffin said. “So we have some work to do, obviously. It’s a good lesson for us and I think we’ll be better off because of it. We have to allow ourselves to learn from it.”

It’s a theme very similar to that which was expressed the last time the Clippers lost to the Warriors, as well as the time before that, and so on and so on and so on, going back to the days when this was a real rivalry.

The Warriors simply take the W and keep quiet. No gloating. Maybe that will come in the playoffs.

Instant Replay: Warriors in control from start to finish, beat Clippers

Instant Replay: Warriors in control from start to finish, beat Clippers

BOX SCORE

LOS ANGELES – Shredding the league’s top-rated defense, the Warriors sprinted ahead of the Clippers early and raced to a 115-98 victory before a bipartisan sellout crowd Wednesday night at Staples Center.

Five Warriors scored in double figures, led by 24 points from Klay Thompson, as they defeated Los Angeles for the seventh consecutive time, dating back to March 2015.

Draymond Green scored 22 points, Stephen Curry 19, Kevin Durant 16 and Andre Iguodala 10 as the Warriors (19-3) emphasized ball movement and crisp passing to shoot 48 percent from the field, posting 32 assists on 42 field goals.

Curry consistently disrupted LA’s attempts to create rhythm on offense, as he nabbed seven steals, tying a career-high and also posting the individual high for the NBA this season.

Veteran guard Jamal Crawford scored 21 points to lead the Clippers (16-7), who lost for the fifth time in seven games.

STANDOUT PERFORMER

Green provided his usual buoyant energy and dirty work but also turned in a highly efficient scoring night, resulting in a season-high.

Green’s line: 22 points (8-of-10 from the field, including 3-of-5 from beyond the arc, 3-of-4 from the free throw line), five rebounds, four assists and two steals. He played 32 minutes was plus-25.

TURNING POINT

After a DeAndre Jordan dunk gave LA a 10-9 lead with 6:58 left in the first quarter, the Warriors responded with an 18-3 run to go up 27-13 with 2:38 left in the quarter.

The Clippers got no closer than seven (53-46, 2:21 left in the second quarter) after that, as the Warriors led by 13 at the half and by 16 after three quarters.

INJURY UPDATE

Warriors: No injuries listed. C Anderson Varejao was a healthy inactive.

Clippers: G Raymond Felton (family matter) was declared out prior to tipoff. Clippers: F Brice Johnson (lower back herniated disc) is listed as out.

ROSTER NOTE

Warriors C Damian Jones is on assignment with Santa Cruz of the D-League.

WHAT’S NEXT

The Warriors left LA immediately after the game, bound for Utah, where on Thursday night they will play the Jazz at Vivint Smart Home Arena in Salt Lake City. Tipoff is scheduled for 6:05 Pacific.