LOS ANGELES — This time there was no comeback, no capitulation and no chance of the Golden State Warriors suffering another miserable night.
When the deficit reached 31 again on Thursday, it didn’t spark a dramatic Los Angeles Clippers revival like it had 72 hours previously. Suitably chastened and in the mood for business to return to normal, the Warriors simply streaked further ahead before junk time narrowed things a little. The final score — 132-103 — was just as emphatic as it sounds.
And so a playoff series that looked deliciously enticing heading into Game 3 now appears less so coming out of it, even at 2-1 feeling close to being as one-sided as so many predicted. Maybe there is another twist to come, for you can never discount the pluck of these Clippers. In the interest of intrigue, let’s hope so.
? @KDTrey5 scores 38 PTS in 29 minutes of game action, as the @warriors top LAC on the road in Game 3! #StrengthInNumbers#NBAPlayoffs
Game 4: Sunday (4/21), 3:30pm/et, ABC pic.twitter.com/VuC9ONdWV9
But when the Warriors find the right kind of spark to pique their full attention they are as close to unstoppable as anything we can find in modern sports. The mood took them here, perhaps as a response to what came before it, or maybe just because blasting through the playoffs is what they do.
Kevin Durant showed that he does indeed have the stomach for a scrap, brushing off the attentions of Patrick Beverley to scorch the Clippers for 38 points in a performance for which there was no answer.
"We knew (the Clippers) were going to come out with a lot of energy," Durant told TNT. "We had to match that."
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Stephen Curry hit foul trouble and spent most of the night on the bench, or occasionally on a courtside stationary exercise bike to try to alleviate the boredom. Even with him used sparingly, this one had its tempo set by the visitors’ 41-point first quarter. It was close to being wrapped up after a 73-point first half, and sealed beyond all doubt by the three-quarter mark. The Warriors have now won a road game in each of their last 20 playoff series. Ominous signs, ominous times.
The Warriors haven't always looked like champions this season, often letting drama get in the way of due diligence. They are starting to pick up the scent of another title now, though, and just as well. Unless the Clippers find fresh legs somehow, Steve Kerr’s men, a week from now, will be likely gearing up for a mouthwatering conference semifinal showdown with the Houston Rockets.
Many assume that it is the Rockets who will provide the Warriors with their biggest test. They’re wrong. As this revitalized showing proved, there is only one opponent for the Warriors to fear — themselves.
Follow Martin Rogers on Twitter @RogersJourno.
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