LOS ANGELES – The bench that had been such an asset for the Warriors in recent weeks became a liability Wednesday night.
Playing for a second consecutive night, having arrived from Oakland around 1 a.m. Wednesday, the Warriors couldn't summon the energy to finish off the Clippers and left Staples Center with a 111-98 loss.
The defeat snapped the Warriors' five-game win streak and extended the Clippers' own streak of victories to nine.
Moreover, it pretty much closed off any reasonable chance of the Warriors (41-25) catching the Clippers (46-20) in the Pacific Division race. A five-game lead with 16 to play is tough to overcome.
Klay Thompson led five Warriors in double figures with 26 points. David Lee finished with 20, while Stephen Curry and Andre Iguodala each put in 13 and Draymond Green added 10.
But the benches were the difference in this game. The Warriors' reserves, who tallied 59 points in the win over Dallas on Tuesday night, were outscored 33-20 by L.A. backups. More to the point, the Warriors' bench made only 3 of 25 shots, with guards Steve Blake and Jordan Crawford combining to go 0-for-11.
One fairly reliable indicator of fatigue is rebounding, and the Clippers posted a 49-36 advantage on the glass. Los Angeles outscored the Warriors 42-22 over the final 17-plus minutes of the game.
Blake Griffin led Los Angeles, with game highs in points (30) and rebounds (15).
STANDOUT PERFORMER: Thompson started well and made 10 of his 19 shots, while Lee made 10 of 15 from the field.
Curry added 11 assists to his 13 points, for his 21st double-double of the season.
TURNING POINT: After a Curry 3-pointer gave the Warriors their biggest lead, 76-69, with 5:23 left in the third quarter, the Clippers responded with 15-3 run to close the quarter with an 84-79 lead.
The Warriors made only one of the nine shots taken between Curry's trey and the end of the quarter. They never again took a lead or tied the game.
INJURY UPDATE: C Festus Ezeli (right knee surgery) remains out indefinitely.
WHAT'S NEXT: The Warriors resume action on Friday, when the Cavaliers visit Oracle Arena to conclude the two-game season series. The Warriors on Dec. 29 posted a 108-104 overtime victory at Cleveland. That was their sixth consecutive win over the Cavaliers.