Los Angeles Clippers' Russell Westbrook (0) shoots against Golden State Warriors' Draymond Green (23) during the first half of an NBA basketball game Wednesday, March 15, 2023, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)
LOS ANGELES — Even in the midst of Stephen Curry putting on a shooting clinic during the third quarter, Kawhi Leonard and the Los Angeles Clippers didn’t get rattled.
They were able to weather Curry’s best punches, kept their lead and then pulled away from the Golden State Warriors in the fourth quarter.
Leonard continued his hot play with 30 points, Paul George had 24 and the Clippers overcame Curry’s 50-point night to beat the Warriors 134-126 on Wednesday night.
“You know they are going to make big runs, but we kept our composure, stayed steady and executed on the offensive end,” said Leonard, who had his fourth 30-point effort in the last eight games. He was 10 of 19 from the field and had eight rebounds and five assists.
The Clippers (37-33) have won four straight to move into fifth place in the Western Conference. The defending NBA champion Warriors (36-34) are a game back as the teams split the four-game season series.
“We didn’t get stagnant. We executed our shots,” Clippers coach Tyronn Lue said. “When a guy like that (Curry) explodes, we stayed with the game plan. I thought our offense really carried us.”
Curry tied a season high in points with the 12th 50-point game of his career. He was 20 of 28 and made eight 3-pointers.
“It’s nice to play and shoot well. It is what I expect to do every night,” Curry said. “No matter what the stat sheet looks like after the game, it’s just frustrating when you can’t get over the hump and figure out a way to get a win.”
Jordan Poole added 19 points for the Warriors. They have lost nine straight road games.
Curry had 21 points in the third quarter, and hit three 3-pointers. He was 9 of 11 and had one stretch where he hit five straight shots. Despite that, the Clippers had a 99-93 lead going into the final 12 minutes.
Los Angeles had a three-point advantage early in the fourth before it went on a 10-1 run to pull away. Batum’s 3-pointer with 9:07 remaining put the Clippers up 109-97.
Warriors coach Steve Kerr said one of the biggest keys in the game was the Clippers grabbing 16 offensive rebounds and having a 27-11 advantage in second-chance points.
“With the way our roster is right now, we’re vulnerable on the glass,” Kerr said. “I thought the Clippers played a great game. Steph was sublime. It was incredible to watch him play tonight. It was a great, great game. We just came up short.”
The Clippers trailed 70-66 three minutes into the third quarter, then scored 14 straight points to take a double-digit lead. Eric Gordon, who had 14 points in the quarter, scored the last eight during the run.
The Warriors countered with a 16-8 rally, including 12 by Curry, to get within a basket, but Leonard hit a 3-pointer on the next trip down the floor to end the run.
NOT SO SWEET 16
Draymond Green received his 16th technical foul of the season with 40.8 seconds remaining when he threw the ball off Russell Westbrook’s face following a Clippers’ layup.
Players receive one-game suspensions once they reach 16 in a season and then are suspended a game for each two additional technical fouls.
Green, who had eight points before he fouled out, is tied with Memphis’ Dillon Brooks for the most technicals in the NBA.
Green was optimistic that he might avoid having to sit out Friday night’s game at Atlanta.
“I expect some changes. I got one technical this year because a ref yelled at me,” he said. “I said, `If I yell at you, I’m going to get fined.’ And I got a tech for it. So I think something will change.”
On the ensuing trip down the floor, Marcus Morris Sr. received a Flagrant-2 foul and was ejected with 31 seconds remaining in the first half.
Morris and Green were vying in the paint for position while Curry was trying a 3-pointer when it appeared Morris hit Green in the face.
Referee Kevin Scott said on the ESPN broadcast: “All the components (for a Flagrant 2) were met: wind-up, impact, follow-through above the shoulders, high potential for injury and a non-basketball play.”
Warriors: Klay Thompson had 15 points. … Green reached 4,400 career defensive rebounds during the second quarter.
Clippers: Ivica Zubac had 19 points and 16 rebounds. … Terance Mann scored 17 points off the bench and Gordon added 16.
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