Lou Williams overwhelms the ball, drives to his left in spite of everybody in the field knowing which direction he’s going and plays with a herky-jerky style that frequently draws fouls.
The Clippers’ scoring machine is referred to in certain circles as a poor man’s James Harden, and if the Warriors are experiencing difficulty hindering Williams, they could have their hands full in an anticipated second-round matchup with Harden and the Rockets.
Williams was back it in Wednesday night at Oracle Arena, disappointing the Warriors’ defense with 33 points on 12-for-19 shooting and 10 assists as the Clippers beat the Warriors 129-121 to send the best-of-seven series to a Game 6 in Los Angeles.
It showed up the Warriors had figured out Williams after he averaged 30.5 points on 55.8 percent shooting and 10 assists in Games 1-2. He was restricted to averages of 14 points on 28.6 percent shooting and 4.5 assists in Games 3-4.
“Everything we did in L.A., we did not do defensively” Wednesday, Warriors head coach Steve Kerr said. “You can watch the tape. It’s pretty obvious. We were not aggressive. We were not flying around. The game came way too easily for him.”
Possibly Williams just likes Oakland, in light of the fact that, with the series back in the Bay Area on Wednesday, Williams seemed unstoppable. He had 18 first-half points, and after the Warriors gave a portion of the game’s best perimeter defenders (Klay Thompson and Andre Iguodala) to confront guarding him in the second half, Williams diced up the defense for six assists.
With the score tied 116-116 and the clock ticking toward the three-minute mark, Williams returned into scorer mode. He drew a foul on Kevin Durant and changed over one of the free-throw tries, and after Durant’s dunk gave the Warriors a lead, Williams reacted with a four-point play.
Two belongings. Two trips to the line. One Clippers triumph.
Williams and Harden are “both similar in the fact that when they are driving, when they feel contact, they use it against the defender,” Clippers head mentor Doc Rivers said before Wednesday’s game.
Rivers joked that among the 15 videos appeared to the competition committee amid the offseason, eight were of Harden and seven were of Williams.
“I’ve learned you don’t want to be featured on the rules list, but (Williams) still gets them and so does James,” Rivers said. “They are just good at drawing the foul. There are very, very few people who can do it like those two, if any, and they are very similar in a way. I think James does it more with the reach under. Lou does it going away. That’s what’s so difficult for the officials. It’s rare that you can get a guy going away from the contact and is then able to draw the contact.”
That is the thing.
The pregame question was presented to Rivers, in light of the fact that the first-round series should be a charming, little tuneup for the Warriors. It was an opportunity to shore up the defense before confronting Harden.
“This is a great series to learn how to not foul and how to play sound defense on Lou Williams,” Warriors backup center Kevon Looney said. “He’s great at getting to the line. It’s kind of good comparison and a good way to get ready for the next series.”
Obviously, the Warriors presumably should concentrate on completing off Williams and the Clippers before they direct their concentration toward Harden and Houston.