How Clippers Defended Steph Curry Clearly Shows Warriors What's Ahead

SAN FRANCISCO -- Stephen Curry walked into his first NBA regular-season game at Chase Center seemingly dressed for the occasion.

The Warriors' star guard wore a black airbrushed T-shirt featuring a drawing of the team's former Oakland arena with "In Loving Memory of Oracle Arena, 1979-2019" inscribed on the chest. While the gesture was noteworthy, the lettering was inaccurate, as Golden State played its first game in the East Bay in 1971. The T-shirt -- a victim of a prototype error -- foreshadowed Curry's first official night in his new home.

Curry scored 23 points in the 141-122 loss to the Clippers and finished just 2 of 11 from the 3-point range. Worse, he turned the ball over eight times in a variety of ways.

Less than three minutes into the contest, with the Warriors down 7-0, Curry was stripped by Clippers guard Patrick Beverley. Six minutes later, Beverley deflected a pass, leading to another score. By halftime, Curry had committed five turnovers as the Clippers took a 65-54 lead.

"A lot of them were very careless," Warriors coach Steve Kerr said, "and that's what he's got to clean up to start with."

Perhaps Curry's carelessness comes from an urge to do a lot with little help. In the last six months, he's lost Kevin Durant -- his three-year co-star -- to Brooklyn, veteran Andre Iguodala in a trade and backcourt mate Klay Thompson to a torn ACL. Entering are eight new players - six under the age of 26 - forcing Curry to both teach and take more chances than accustomed. Of his 11 3-point attempts Thursday, only one was taken without a hand in his face.

"You think about who he's lost alongside of him," Kerr said. "Klay, Kevin, Andre, Shaun, among others. It's an awful lot of firepower with your teammates to lose.

"He understands what he's going to face. There's going to be more attention to him, more double teams, more trapping, that kind of stuff."

Curry's struggles came as the Clippers devised their entire defensive scheme to stop him. In the second quarter, he received a pass from Kevon Looney on the move in the corner with Beverley trailing. A pump-fake got Beverley in the air, but Ivica Zubac -- LA's 7-foot center -- was there to greet him, forcing another turnover.

With Golden State's depleted roster, similar defensive strategies will be used against Curry all season.

"Over the last five, six years, I've seen everything," Curry said, "and I'm sure I'll start to see some patterns in how teams defend us this year."

[RELATED: Warriors fans must adjust to their team's new normal]

Seeds of Golden State's need for Curry's exploits were planted during the preseason. In the first half of a 143-123 win over the Minnesota Timberwolves two weeks, the Warriors were outscored 16-9 when Curry was off the floor. Then, when he returned, the Warriors promptly went on an 11-4 run and took a four-point lead into halftime of a game in which Curry scored 40 points in just 25 minutes.

"He's going to have a large offensive burden all year," Warriors coach Steve Kerr said that night. "Just the nature of what we've lost from a scoring standpoint and a playmaking standpoint."

With the Warriors' next game ‪coming Sunday in Oklahoma City, Curry -- along with the rest of the organization -- hope his clothing and his game is more accurate than in his season opener.

"If he takes care of the turnovers," Kerr said, "then the game will get easier for him."

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