Fading to his right, Warriors guard Stephen Curry hoisted a last-second three-pointer at the end of the third quarter.
Landing on the ground as the ball slid through the net, Curry high-stepped down the sideline to celebrate his eighth three pointer of the night and his fourth in the third frame alone.
Curry’s triple iced an 18-2 run that closed out the third quarter for the Warriors and paved the way for a furious fourth quarter comeback against one of the top teams in the Western Conference.
In its second straight game against the visiting Los Angeles Clippers, Golden State overcame a 22-point deficit to shock the Pacific Division leader with a 115-105 win at Chase Center Friday night. The win showcased the competitive fire built through three championships over five seasons.
“I think our guys just hung in there,” Kerr said. “We were down through most of the first three quarters. It felt like we were on the ropes but we hung in… Just a great feeling to hang in there and then catch fire and come out with the win.”
Golden State’s night began in a slow and sluggish fashion, just like Wednesday night. While the Warriors weren’t limited to just 15 points in the first frame, 22 points in the first Friday night gave Los Angeles the chance to build an eight-point advantage early.
Before long, Golden State stared at a 14-point hole thanks to poor shooting from the floor and an inability to stop the Clippers from finding the bottom of the net. In fact, in the first half, Golden State allowed the Clippers to shoot 58-percent from the floor, including 80-percent from the three-point line.
That trend continued coming out of the break as Los Angeles ballooned it’s lead to 22 points with just over three minutes to play in the third quarter.
“I’m just thinking the most important thing is for this team to establish that we’re going to compete,” Kerr said. “The most important thing in my mind at that time was keep fighting, keep competing and don’t give in.”
Just as the evening was beginning to look lost for the hosting team, its two-time MVP in Curry unleashed his full scoring punch. Knocking down three triples and even dishing out an assist, Curry contributed 13 points to an 18-2 run that squashed the Clippers 22-point lead to just six.
“It basically flipped the game on it’s head,” Curry said. “It gave us a lot of momentum finishing the third quarter. And from there, it was a game again and we took advantage of that in the fourth.”
Golden State wasn’t finished making its statement, though, as the fourth quarter opened with another Warriors scoring flurry.
With the assistance of bench players Damian Lee, Eric Paschall and Kent Bazemore, the Warriors took their first lead since the 10:57 mark of the first quarter.
Knocking down a 25-footer, Paschall put the Warriors ahead 92-91 a minute-and-a-half into the fourth quarter. Paschall, who would wind up with 12 points off of the bench, recorded his seventh-straight game with double-digit points.
“Just play hard,” Paschall said. “That group, I feel like we did an amazing job… We’re going to continue to build and get better off of that but it was a great effort by the whole team. Very fun basketball.”
In addition to Paschall, Bazemore and Warriors veteran guard Brad Wanamaker nailed essential threes to extend Golden State’s lead down the stretch as Curry waited to re-enter with just over five minutes to play in the game.
Bazemore and Wanamaker finished the game with eight and six points, respectively, as the Warriors bench as a whole contributed 42 points on the night.
Synching down defensively, Golden State forced four Clippers turnovers in the fourth and held Los Angeles to just 18 points in the final frame while putting up 34 of its own in one of the Warriors most lop-sided quarters of the young season.
By the time Curry was inserted back into the game, the Warriors had built and sustained a three-point lead. Knowing that would be far from enough to hold off Kawhi Leonard and Co., Curry proceeded to add in another five points while also knocking down his ninth three-pointer of the night.
Curry, who recently had a career scoring night, lighting up the Portland Trailblazers with 62 points Sunday night, finished the evening with a game-high of 38 points — despite the Clippers best attempt to contain him.
“Well number one, because he’s Steph Curry,” Kerr said when asked how Curry managed to pull off his performance. “It’s just who Steph is. He’s been doing this for many, many years.”
By the time the final buzzer sounded, Golden State had successfully orchestrated its first major comeback of the season, erasing the 22-point hole and out-scoring the Clippers 52-20 in the final 15:15 of the game.
While the win will put the Warriors back above the .500 mark nine games into the still young season, the hope is that a gritty, heartfelt win on Friday night could translate to a more competitive and perhaps winning style of play moving forward.
“We’ve got to find our way and tonight is a night about building confidence,” Kerr said. “We’re 5-4 and we have to find our footing… We have a long way to go.”