The Lakers continued the hunt for their first win of the young season Saturday night against the high-hope Golden State Warriors.
Los Angeles was coming off a hard fought game against the LA Clippers the prior night in which they proved they are more than competitive with the elite teams in the league. Unfortunately, they still fell short to a stacked Clippers team, but showed a lot of resilience and improvement they looked to build on that against the Warriors.
The Warriors wasted no time coming out of the gates and demonstrating their athleticism as Andrew Bogut opened the contest with a dunk after a near turnover. The Lakers immediately responded with Carlos Boozer hitting a fadeaway jump shot. It was good to see Wesley Johnson hit an open three on the very next possession as the Lakers have struggled from behind the arc all season. The offense continued to look sharp as the ball found Jordan Hill as he scored back-to-back baskets leading to a very good start for the purple and gold. The Lakers caught an early break as Klay Thompson found himself in early foul trouble. Kobe benefit from the good ball movement as he found himself open for back-to-back baskets and Jordan Hill continued his hot streak increasing the Lakers lead 26-24. Ed Davis came in to the game and contributed immediately working his touch in the post. The Lakers bigs continued to impress and take advantage of the David Lee-less Warriors as they carried the Lakers to the 32-29 lead with 40 seconds remaining in the first quarter. Ed Davis finished the quarter with a great hustle play where he cleaned up his own miss over two Warrior defenders. It was the highest scoring 1st quarter of season for the Lakers as they led 35-29.
The second quarter began with Sacre coming in off the bench to tip in a Ronnie Price miss. The play set the tone for the second unit to come in and be aggressive as the lead stretched out to 43-33. The Lakers defense looked just as sharp as their offense as they forced numerous turnovers and difficult shots. Harrison Barnes picked up the slack for the Warriors making a difficult and-one sparking a Warriors comeback as Stephen Curry hit three free throws after a phantom Kobe foul. The Warriors continued their 14-0 run taking the lead 47-43 with five minutes remaining in the half. Jordan Hill ended the streak with a nice offensive board and score but a bad pass from Kobe on the next possession led to a turnover and another questionable call for two Thompson free throws. As the starting group subbed back in, the Lakers lost their offensive efficiency as the Warriors went on a 19-2 run to increase their lead by seven. Hill continued his strong half with 14 points but the Warriors rounded back into shape as they continued to pound on the Lakers to increase the lead to 11 before Jeremy Lin stepped up to the charity strip to sink a pair. Kobe Bryant added a sweet circus and-one shot but missed the free throw and Lin ended the half with two more free throws to decrease the lead to six 61-55.
The second half began with Hill scoring down low on a broken play but the Warriors answered with a three. Kobe’s shooting problems continued as his shot came up short again. Hill continued to shine bright as it appeared he made every shot he took. Thompson came out aggressive scoring back-to-back layups. Bryant came alive after making an open jump shot and stealing the ball on the next possession for an and-one floater to cut the lead to three. Johnson hit another three but fell asleep on defense and allowed another wide open dunk as they trailed by six with five minutes remaining. Kobe continued his hot streak as he drained a straight away three. Bryant didn’t stop there hitting a near impossible turn around on two Warrior defenders draped all over him. Even with Kobe on fire, Golden State showed why they are favored in the West as they utilized all their weapons to maintain a solid lead with the quarter dwindling down. The Lakers continued to fight and held their own staying in the game at the end of the third quarter only down by seven.
The fourth quarter started with the Warriors up 93-86 and the majority of the reserves on the floor. Davis continued his efficiency but the other Lakers struggled to score as the lead increased back up to nine with nine minutes remaining. Hill continued his strong night on a nice assist from Lin but Curry answered within seconds. Another Thompson three put the game back into double digits increasing the lead to 12. Turnovers started to take their toll as the Lakers piled up 18 of them and missing out on various scoring opportunities allowing the Warrior lead to balloon to 16. The Warriors kept pouring it on down the stretch as Curry and Thompson were unstoppable as the Warriors defeated the Lakers 127-104.
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