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Golden State Warriors, Stephen Curry complete season sweep of Clippers

By Dave Del Grande, The Sports Xchange   |   March 24, 2016 at 7:14 AM
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OAKLAND, Calif. -- According to Klay Thompson, when the Golden State Warriors get out and running, they are the most exciting team in basketball.

And the winningest, too, which is all that matters to the record-chasing squad.

Thompson and backcourt mate Stephen Curry ignited a high-powered second half with 18 third-quarter points, allowing the Warriors to break open a close game en route to a 114-98 victory over the rival Los Angeles Clippers on Wednesday night.

In recording their sixth consecutive win over the Clippers, the Warriors (64-7) completed their first 4-0 season-series sweep of Los Angeles since the 1985-86 season while going 57 games over .500 for the first time in franchise history.

"It's tough to sweep the same team four times, especially against one of the better teams in the league. So we're proud of it," said Thompson, who averaged 26.3 points in those wins, including a 32-point explosion Wednesday. "This definitely helps if we face them again (in the playoffs). We'll be confident."

Thompson (seven) and Curry (four) combined for 11 3-pointers as the Warriors moved within eight wins of the Chicago Bulls' NBA single-season record for victories with 11 games to go.

Curry, hitting 12 of 23 from the field, finished with a game-high 33 points, helping Golden State win its 51st straight at home, 33 of which have come this season. The streak is an on-going NBA record.

Thompson shot 12-for-21, including 7-for-10 on 3-pointers.

"We weren't playing our brand in the first half," said Thompson, who had only seven points at halftime. "Until we pushed the pace on the defensive end, it always carries over on the offensive end and we're able to get on a break.

"I think we're the most exciting team in the NBA on a fastbreak, so that's a point of emphasis for us to end the season."

The victory allowed the Warriors to remain four games up on the San Antonio Spurs (60-11) in the battle for top seeding in the Western Conference playoffs.

Draymond Green complemented the shooting efforts of Curry and Thompson with 12 points and a team-high 12 rebounds.

Harrison Barnes (11) and Shaun Livingston (11) also scored in double figures for the Warriors, who shot almost as well on 3-pointers (44.1 percent) as on 2-pointers (45.3 percent).

DeAndre Jordan amassed 19 points and 20 rebounds for the Clippers (43-27), who lost a half-game to the idle Memphis Grizzlies (41-31) in their duel for the fourth position in the Western playoff race.

"I thought DJ (Jordan) was the dominant player on the floor overall," Clippers coach Doc Rivers said. "Overall, I liked how we played and I loved our energy."

The double-figure scoring night for Jordan was his 12th in a row, which equals a career best.

Thanks in large part to Jordan's game-high rebound total, the Clippers avoided what could have been a sixth consecutive game with 35 or fewer boards. The five-game streak was tied for the third longest in NBA history.

The Clippers lost for the fifth time in six games, including four of five on the five-game trip that ended Wednesday.

Chris Paul, who entered the game with a 23.3-point scoring average against Golden State, struggled through a 4-for-16 shooting night. However, with 13 points, six rebounds, eight assists and a steal, he did tie John Stockton's record of 36 consecutive games with at least 10 points, five assists and one steal.

Paul and guard sidekick JJ Redick (4-for-13, nine points) combined to miss 21 of their 29 shots and were outscored 65-22 by Golden State's All-Star duo of Curry and Thompson.

"It's going to be tough for us to win if me and JJ can't throw it in the ocean," Paul said. "Going into the half, I think I had two and we were only down two, so we thought we were in a good place. But the second half looked a lot like the first half. We didn't see nothing go down."

Reserves Austin Rivers (16), Jeff Green (13) and Jamal Crawford (12) also scored in double figures for the Clippers, who made only eight of their 28 3-point attempts.

The Warriors led just 51-49 at halftime but spurted out of the gate to start the second half, getting two 3-pointers and an assist from Thompson in a 10-1 run.

Golden State went on to lead by as many as 14 in the period, during which the Warriors scored 30 points, and it took a 30-foot 3-pointer at the horn by Paul to get Los Angeles back within 81-72 at quarter's end.

Thompson, who shot 3-for-3 from 3-point range in the third period, bombed in his first two of the final quarter, helping Golden State push out to a 90-74 advantage and propelling the team to a 33-point period.

"There was kind of a dead atmosphere in there. There didn't seem to be the usual energy from the rivalry," Warriors coach Steve Kerr said. "But I thought we had a good surge of energy in the third and made some shots and opened up the lead."

The Clippers got back within seven in the fifth minute of the fourth period, but Thompson turned a Green assist into a three-point play to make it a double-digit game, and the Clippers never seriously threatened again.

NOTES: The Warriors finished the Pacific Division portion of their schedule with a franchise-best 15-1 record. ... Warriors coach Steve Kerr admitted at his pregame press conference that he had a change of heart and is now more intrigued than before about his team's pursuit of the NBA's single-season win total. "We're getting there," he said. "That's pretty enticing." ... Earlier in the day, former Clippers owner Donald Sterling's $600 million antitrust lawsuit against the NBA was dismissed in federal court. Sterling was seeking to overturn his wife Shelly's $2 billion sale of the Clippers to Steve Ballmer last year. ... Warriors C Andrew Bogut (inflammation in left foot) and Clippers PF Jeff Green (concussion-like symptoms) both were cleared to play before the game. Returning from a two-game absence, Bogut had four points and 10 rebounds in 20 minutes. Green, who sat out Sunday's game at New Orleans, totaled 13 points and four steals in 25 minutes.

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