Warriors takeaways: What we learned in gritty 109-100 loss to Clippers


LOS ANGELES -- For weeks, the Warriors have been searching for a complete performance from their battered roster. They remain on the hunt for such a standard after Friday night's 109-100 loss to the Clippers at Staples Center. 

After the Warriors (9-31) dominated the Clippers (27-12) through three quarters, LA took control of the game down the stretch, led by All-Star Kawhi Leonard's exploits.  

With Stephen Curry, D'Angelo Russell, Klay Thompson and Kevon Looney in street clothes on the bench, the Warriors lost their second straight game to LA, marking the change between the two teams over the summer. 

Here are the takeaways from the loss:

Fast start gives way to fourth-quarter collapse

Warriors coach Steve Kerr said he hoped for a better start Friday evening. In the first quarter, the Warriors delivered defensively, holding the Clippers to 39 percent and forcing five of LA's 19 turnovers. 

Along the way, the Warriors held Leonard to just 2-of-7 from beyond the arc. By the end of the first half, Golden State had forced 12 Clippers turnovers. 

However, the impressive performance was nullified in the fourth quarter, as LA outscored them 36-17. Leonard scored 10 of his game-high 36 points during the stretch. 

Such starts have been uncommon in recent games. Entering Friday, the Warriors have been outscored 104-82 in the first quarter over their last four games. On most nights, Golden State won't have the talent edge, but their energy must be consistent, as Friday proved.  

Spellman shines in starting role

After a decent stretch of games, Kerr rewarded the second-year big man with his first start of the season. In 28 minutes, Spellman shined, finishing with 17 points, five rebounds and three assists. 

Spellman did most of his damage from beyond the arc, hitting four 3-pointers. Over his last five games, he's hitting 57 percent of his shots behind the line. 

Spellman's performance comes during an odd time for Golden State's center position. At the moment, no player has solidified the starting role, and with Marquese Chriss off the roster, minutes are available to be taken. By the end of the night, Spellman put in an impressive bid.

Bench points

Armed with Lou Williams and Montrezl Harrell, the Clippers' league-leading bench usually dominates opponents. That wasn't the case against the Warriors, who scored 46 bench points.

While Williams finished with 21 points, while Harrell chipped in 11 points. Meanwhile, Golden State got key buckets from Jordan Poole, Jacob Evans and Eric Paschall along the way. 

In a season marred by injury, the Warriors' bench has been a bright spot, averaging more than 38 points per game. Scorers like Burks are often tasked to carry the offensive load to keep the team afloat. On Friday, the unit was a difference-maker yet again.

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