Wednesday's matchup between the Golden State Warriors and the L.A. Clippers lived up it its much publicized hype.
It's no secret that the Norcal v. the Socal battle has no love loss and the Warriors are tired of feeling like they still have to prove themselves to a national audience even after winning an NBA Title.
As usual the Dubbs didn't disappoint toying with the Clippers in the first half leading by as much as 17 and then seeing their comfortable lead suddenly vanish in the rear view window in the second half before rallying to a 112-108 victory.
It's hard to say whether or not the Golden State Warriors would have won this type of game a year ago but today's a new day with a new breed of Warriors players and a different blood type called confidence pumping through their veins.
"It's growth for everyone on this team," said Festus Ezeli. "You can see Luke growing every day. His composure is way different now even just from preseason games. We just continue to get better, and that's our goal this year, to get better throughout the season."
Ezeli is referring to interim head coach Luke Walton's growth. Waltons filling in for head coach Steve Kerr who is rehabbing from neck surgery. It is unsure when Kerr will be returning to his head coach duties.
However, last week he said in his press conference that he hopes to be back before 2016, however a unidentified Warriors player said Wednesday he doesn't expect Kerr to return until after the All-Star Break in February.
The Warriors may miss their coach emotionally but on the court it's as though Kerr's right on the bench.
Golden State came out blazing in the first half but the Clippers started to turn the tables in the end of the third quarter when former Warrior Jamal Crawford made a layup at the buzzer to put the Clippers ahead by 1.
They would go on to lead by as much as 10 but Curry's running 3 pointer with a little over a minute left would put the Dubbs ahead for good but not without a fight.
With two crucial missed free throws by Andre Iguodala down the stretch the Warriors found themselves in one hell of a battle but they kept their composure and capitalized on rebounds and made free throws by Curry and Klay Thompson.
"We've been in this situation before so we didn't panic,' said guard Thompson in regards to his team being down late in the game. "We relied on our defense a lot."
The Warriors entended their franchise record home winning streak to 21-straight games, taking them to 42-2 (.955) and a 5-0 record in this week long season.
League MVP Steph Curry finished with 31 points and Harrison Barnes was the second leading scorer with 17.
Being NBA Champions has its advantages and this group of Warriors seemed unaffected by the grind of the game in the final minutes; Thompson feels these type of close games are important.
"It's good for the fans, they get their monies worth. You learn from games like this, it feels great to win games like this. Mostly it was fun."
Spoken like a true World Champion....
Golden State will host the Denver Nuggets this Friday at 7:30 pm at ORACLE Arena.