Warriors guard Stephen Curry dribbles around Clippers center DeAndre… (Marcio Jose Sanchez / Associated…)
On Sunday, the Clippers were the hottest team in the NBA, extending to 17 games a winning streak that was the talk of the league.
Four days later, the Clippers are a team that seems to have lost its steam.
They have lost two consecutive games, the latest a 115-94 defeat to the Golden State Warriors on Wednesday night at Oracle Arena.
The Clippers had their streak snapped in Denver on Tuesday night, shooting a season-low 38.5% in the process.
They shot just 36.3% against the Warriors.
They gave up a season-high 62 points in the first half.
And the Clippers have lost their first two games of the season against the Warriors. The teams play again on Saturday night at Staples Center, and Golden State already has defeated the Clippers in Los Angeles.
“It's a roller-coaster season,” guard Chris Paul said. “It's going to have its highs, its lows. We're just going to keep hooping. Keep hooping.”
Blake Griffin took a hard fall on his face when Festus Ezeli grabbed Griffin's arm on a drive and committed a flagrant foul 1 with 10 minutes 18 seconds left in the third quarter.
Griffin continued to play, but he also continued to struggle. He had just 10 points on two-for-11 shooting.
“This isn't a situation where we're panicking and we're saying, ‘We've got to find something completely different,'” Griffin said about losing consecutive games. “We have to go back to what was working.”
Paul had 23 points and six assists, but it hardly mattered.
That's because his counterpart at point guard, Stephen Curry, had 25 of his 31 points in the first half for the Warriors.
“I let Stephen have 25 in the first half,” Paul said. “Then in the second half, didn't let him breathe.”
David Lee of the Warriors almost had a triple-double with 24 points, 13 rebounds and seven assists.
The Clippers didn't have Caron Butler because he missed the game for personal reasons, but Matt Barnes (19 points) more than made up for his absence as the starting small forward.
Jamal Crawford had a team-high 24 points, but he played with a sprained left foot that was injured in the Denver game.
“A game like this, you don't want to miss, especially with Caron out,” Crawford said. “I didn't have no choice but to play.”
Golden Stated handed out “Warriors WhiteOut”
T-shirts to its fans, a show of how much this game meant to the Warriors.
It showed that the Warriors' victory over the Clippers in L.A. in November wasn't a fluke.
The Warriors went out Wednesday and opened an 18-point lead in the first quarter.
They made 53.5% of their shots in the first.
They made 53.3% (eight for 15) of their three-pointers in the first half, 52.2% (12 for 23) for the game.
When it was over, the Warriors were 21/2 games behind the once-streaking Clippers in the Pacific Division.
“That's why this one hurts so much,” Paul said. “It was a division game.”