What we learned as Wiggins fuels Dubs’ win over Clippers originally appeared on NBC Sports Bayarea
SAN FRANCISCO — Whether it’s to be with their families for Thanksgiving or play in front of Dub Nation, the Warriors clearly were happy to be back home Wednesday night at Chase Center.
Their early-season matchup with the Los Angeles Clippers wasn’t exactly what the schedule makers had in mind with Kawhi Leonard and Paul George both out to injury. The Warriors couldn’t care less. The final result, a 124-107 win, certainly was what they had in mind.
Before enjoying the holiday, the Warriors put together yet another complete win. They’re not having to rely on one player to carry them to the promised land. Their ninth win of the season was a collective effort.
Andrew Wiggins led the way with 31 points. Steph Curry scored 22 points to go with nine assists and six rebounds. Draymond Green was everywhere, giving the Warriors nine points, 12 assists and seven rebounds. Klay Thompson started hot again, finishing with 18 points.
Everyone came to eat. Winning was on the menu, with savory and sweet recipes cooked to perfection.
Here are three takeaways from the Warriors improving to 9-10 on the season.
From the time he first entered the NBA, Thompson hasn’t exactly been known for racking up frequent flier miles from the free-throw line. Coming into the night, the most free throws that Thompson had attempted in a game was five. His most attempts last season, in the regular season and playoffs, was six.
In the first quarter, he hit the mark against the Clippers.
Thompson’s first shot attempt came almost three minutes into the game. And it was a strategic one. He got Reggie Jackson to bite, and visibly was happy with himself for earning a trip to the charity stripe. Klay played 11 minutes in the first quarter, scoring 15 points — five of those coming from free throws.
Getting his rhythm back, Thompson now has scored 35 points between his last two first quarters, going 11-for-14 from the field and 6-for-8 on 3-pointers.
As he continues to find his flow, Thompson isn’t going to force his way to the line. But getting there slows everything down, and it’s only going to help the sharpshooter.
The Warriors on Sunday in Houston finally could call themselves victors for the first time on the road. It came with a switch from Steve Kerr, too.
To open the second quarter, Kerr mixed it up to help his second unit out. The change was keeping Green on the floor, and the formula worked. The same goes for Wednesday’s win as well.
Kerr went with Green, Wiggins, Jordan Poole, Donte DiVincenzo, and Anthony Lamb to begin the second quarter. Compared to past groups this season, that five-man lineup is much more balanced and has multiple passers to help scorers like Poole and Wiggins. It’s no surprise the Warriors quickly enjoyed a 10-3 run, prompting a Clippers timeout.
Overall, the Warriors outscored the Clippers 34-18 in the second quarter. In those 12 minutes, Golden State dished nine assists to only two turnovers. The Warriors also held the Clippers to shoot 5-for-16 from the field and 1-for-5 on 3-pointers in the period.
With Green on the floor, that same group of five began the fourth quarter as well. A 5-0 run prompted a Clippers timeout, and the Warriors had a five-point lead before Curry and Thompson came back in.
Take a sigh of relief. The second-unit experiments might have an answer for the long haul.
By now, we know who the headlines belong to. They start with Steph, Klay and Draymond. Poole isn’t too far behind, and for reasons good and bad, the Warriors’ young core is a constant topic of conversation.
Then there’s Wiggins.
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He isn’t one to say a wild quote. He isn’t one to cause a stir. He is one, however, to let his game do all the talking.
Wiggins has been a source of consistency on a nightly basis this season. Perhaps his best performance came against the Clippers. He scored a season-high 31 points in 32 minutes. Wiggins went 12-for-18 from the field and made six of his 10 tries from downtown.
On the year, Wiggins now is shooting 43.5 percent (50-for-115) on 3-pointers, which would be a new career high for his third straight season as a Warrior.
When he came out with a little over four minutes to go, Wiggins was a plus-28 in plus/minus. Kerr can count on him to score 18 or 20 points on any given night now. This was his first 30-point game in over a year, and everything about his game looks comfortable.
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