LOS ANGELES -#8212; Stephen Curry didn't make it to the Staples Center for the first half of the Clippers' 138-98 win over the Warriors. It's such a sad story about Curry's disappearance, and authorities are conducting a thorough investigation.
Bad guys kidnapped Curry before the game and locked him in a broom closet at the arena. The bad guys were either communists, the Mafia or Clippers cheerleaders. They substituted a Curry lookalike who had trained for months in a hideaway in the South Pole. The imposter Curry was so good at being Curry he even perfected the mouthpiece-dangling-from-the mouth maneuver.
Unfortunately, the imposter couldn't shoot. In the first half, he took six shots sinking just one. Six shots is hardly the desired amount. He also made two free throws. Four points, total.
The real Curry showed up for the second half, shaken but determined. A custodian heard scratching in the broom closet, thought it was a muskrat. Turned out to be Curry. In the second half, Curry scored 20 points, nice but the entire second half was garbage time. As in meaningless.
What did we learn from Monday night's endeavor? The Warriors cannot beat the Clippers without Curry. He is the Warriors' superstar. Their only superstar. The Clips guarded him with three men and dared him to pass to teammates, who looked morally offended by the daring strategy. Not that any Warriors picked up the Curry slack.
The Clips did more than guard Curry with multiple defenders. They whacked him, hit him hard whenever he came off screens. Especially Matt Barnes who treated Curry like a junior sparring partner. You could hear the deep body shots on Curry at courtside. Maybe Curry should have stayed in the closet.
Memo to league: Doubling and tripling Curry and beating the life out of him is how you beat the Warriors. No one else can carry their team.
The Warriors need one more lights-out scorer. It could be Klay Thompson but too often it isn't Klay Thompson. It sure wasn't on Monday night -#8212; seven points on four shots, the Invisible Man. It was no one. Which means the Clippers executed a clinic on how to beat the Warriors.
Before the game, Mark Jackson talked brave. Someone asked if his players would be so delighted they won the first game they might relax in Game 2.
"We didn't come here to win one game," Jackson said, his voice stern. "I understand that mentality, but that's not our mentality. We're not surprised where we are. We want to win four games. There's no sign of us that says, 'We accomplished what we want now.' We didn't come here to get home-court advantage. We came here to play two games and win two games."
The Warriors scored a mere 41 points in the first half when it was a game, sort of. Jackson considers his guys a defensive team, not that they played much defense against Los Angeles. But a little more offense couldn't hurt when you consider the Clippers' biggest lead was 40 -#8212; the lead kept growing until the very end. Forty points isn't a lead. It's advanced math. It's score inflation.
Afterward, Doc Rivers analyzed Curry. "I just thought Steph was trying to get everyone else going on his team. I don't think he was trying to force it, which was good for him. In the second half I thought he really started trying to go for it."