LOS ANGELES – There wasn’t going to be another 31-point comeback for the Clippers in Game 3 against the Warriors. Not that Golden State didn’t make it a possibility, extending their lead to 31 midway through the third quarter and seeing it balloon to as much as 36 thanks to a statement-filled performance out of Kevin Durant. The two-time defending NBA Finals MVP finished with 38 points in 30 minutes, including 27 in the first half, and mixed it up with Patrick Beverley once again, channeling whatever frustration he still had into his devastating jumper.
We know who the Warriors are. Nothing in this series will teach us anything new. If there’s anything we’ve learned about this year’s Clippers, though, it’s that they will not quit, even when they’re clearly outmatched and outgunned. And for a team that traded away its leading scorer at the deadline in a move that looked to foreshadow a rebuild and still managed to make the playoffs anyway, every extra minute matters, even the ones in a listless blowout.
Beverley, who has been the team’s heart and soul all year, was in a mostly empty locker room after many of the Clippers’ players had finished showering and packed up their stuff to go home. He was still fired up, proclaiming to no one in particular that this series was far from over.
“It’s one game,” Beverley said. “It’s one game. Keep everybody locked in.”