The injury-stricken Los Angeles Lakers look to end their two-game skid as they host the spectacular Steph Curry and his history-chasing Golden State Warriors. Although the Lakers have been bit by the injury bug as of late, the return of Kobe Bryant and Jordan Clarkson should help alleviate some of the offensive pressure from D’Angelo Russell and Julius Randle.
Meanwhile, the Warriors continue their historic run toward the NBA history books and have shown no signs of slowing down with wins over the Oklahoma City Thunder, and the Atlanta Hawks.
The Warriors struck first with a three-ball from Steph Curry, before the Lakers came back with consecutive buckets from Kobe and Clarkson to take a quick 4-2 lead. Both teams got off to a slow start to begin the game, but managed to trade buckets with each other until the Warriors took a 10-8 lead midway through the first quarter, thanks to a dunk from Klay Thompson. Marcelo Huertas got some early minutes and made quick work of them with a reverse and-one finish to cut the Warrior lead to one. After a layup from Curry, Clarkson answered back with consecutive buckets of his own with a three-pointer and a crossover that led to a step-back jumper to tie the game at 18 with three minutes to go. L.A. was able to finish out strong as they enter the second quarter atop the defending world champs, 22-21.
The Lakers scratched first this time with some nice pic-and-roll action from Huertas and Brandon Bass to briefly extend their lead before Golden State answered back with jumper from Shaun Livingston. Despite both teams’ offensive struggles, The Lakers’ tenacious defense helped them to get high-percentage shots, as Russell found himself wide open to swish back-to-back three’s and take a 36-29 lead with eight minutes left in the second. The Lakers began to click on offense as they dazzled the crowd after a steal by Russell led to a spectacular fastbreak finish with some fancy ball movement from Huertas to Bass to increase their lead to 10. However, the Warriors would not be put away as they came back down the floor with a wide open three ball from Draymond Green to bring the score to 43-38. After a three from Ian Clark, the purple and gold were able to lock it down on defense, while capitalizing on offense with two straight driving layups from Julius Randle to extend the lead, 54-44. In a half where the Lakers recorded nine steals and forced 11 turnovers, the purple and gold find themselves up 60-49.
The Lakers picked up where they left off by scoring on their first possession of the second half with a three-pointer from Jordan Clarkson. Golden State then answered back with a 6-0 run to cut the deficit to 57-65 with seven minutes left in the third. Clarkson finally put an end to the run with his third and fourth three-pointer of the game to extend the lead back to double digits. The Lakers remained tough on defense, double-teaming Curry and forcing others on Golden state to do the scoring. The Warriors ended their near three-minute drought without a bucket thanks to a dunk by the newly-acquired Anderson Varejao But the Lakers would not let up as Nick Young’s five straight points helped L.A. seize an 84-73 lead heading into the final quarter of play.
The Warriors struck first this time on a jumper from Varejao before Swaggy P came back with two three’s to extend the lead to 91-75. Huertas continued his spectacular play with consecutive finishes at the rim, before finding Larry Nance Jr. for the alley-oop dunk to extend the lead to 99-81, with six minutes left in the game. For every shot the Warriors managed to convert, the Lakers came back with one of their own which then led to a technical by Steve Kerr that ultimately led to L.A. taking a commanding 102-83 lead. With the game well out-of-reach for Golden State, the Lakers kept their foot on the gas as the young bucks Randle and Russell continued to add to their already impressive game totals. In Kobe’s final meeting with Curry and the Warriors, the Lakers came out victorious with a dominating 112-95 win.