The Los Angeles Lakers were in Oakland Monday night taking on the NBA’s best, the Golden State Warriors. The purple and gold were coming off two straight losses; and last night they lost to the league’s second best team, the Atlanta Hawks. In the second of a back-to-back, the Lakers were looking to upset a confident home team.
Going in to the game, the Lakers owned the fourth worst mark in the NBA, at 17-48, meanwhile the Warriors were pacing every other team at 52-13. Byron Scott’s lineup card was a youthful one, with Jordan Clarkson and Wayne Ellington in the back court. Tarik Black and Jordan Hill in the paint, and Wesley Johnson at the three.
Both the Lakers and Warriors got off to a shaky start, with Klay Thompson converting a three-point play, and Draymond Green cruising to the paint off a turnover. But the visiting team came to play and after two three point baskets, the Lakers had an 8-5 lead. A Golden State turnover resulted in an easy layup for Wesley Johnson. Jordan Hill even stepped outside and hit a three of his own but then Clarkson turned the ball over and the Warriors took advantage. The two teams were trading baskets and halfway through the quarter were tied at 17 apiece. After a very fancy fast break with a slick behind-the-back pass from Hill, Wayne Ellington nailed the three. The Lakers took a five point lead and prompted Steve Kerr to call a timeout. After the short break, the Warriors regrouped and went on a run, retaking the lead at 26-24, but Hill responded with a tough shot to even things up again. Ed Davis entered the game and promptly blocked a shot, but it didn’t result in a basket on the other end, but another Lakers turnover. The sloppy play continued with another two turnovers, but the Lakers defended well. Despite not taking care of the ball, the score was 30-30 after one quarter of play.
The second quarter was not much different from the first. The high tempo continued and resulted in more Lakers turnovers. Two minutes in, the only offense was from a Warriors free throw, advantage Golden State 31-30. The Lakers then gave up some easy points in transition and found themselves down by seven. After three minutes of play, a free throw from Lin finally put the Lakers on the board in the quarter. Jabari Brown came off the bench and got the and-one on a drive to the basket where he was met by multiple defenders. Johnson hit a three but Harrison Barnes hit one on the next possession. The Lakers were trying to stay in the game after their slow start, and a pair of foul shots from Davis kept the deficit at five points. But Barnes had four straight points and extended Golden state’s lead. Ellington kept up his good play with a long jumper, but the Warriors were not relenting in the attack and soon had a nine point lead, 52-43. Tarik Black hit a pair of free throws and Clarkson hit a layup in transition, along with an Ellington three and the Lakers were suddenly within two. Hill was fouled and hit both free throws to tie things back up with two minutes left in the half. But the Warriors wouldn’t have it, a 6-0 run and the Lakers were down once more. Black scored in the paint off a nice feed from Clarkson. The Warriors had the last shot and missed. At the end of the quarter, the Lakers were down 54-58.
Clarkson got things going for the Lakers offensively with two straight baskets, and Hill also hit a jumper and the Lakers had their first lead in a long time, 60-58. Then a dry spell resulted in a 7-2 Warriors run. Wesley Johnson hit a three and Clarkson got his own rebound and the game was tied up once again. Golden State was failing to capitalize on the Lakers lack of field goal efficiency and Los Angeles was very much in the game at 67-67 with five minutes to play in the third. Clarkson drove to the basket and had his shot blocked, and his counterpart Curry dribbled to the other end, faked the rookie and slotted home the easy bucket. Lin came off the bench and hit a three to keep his team within one. A nice passing sequence resulted in a layup for Boozer. But then the MVP candidate Curry hit two straight three pointers, with the second was a four-point play to put the Warriors up by eight points. Joshnson and Boozer hit jumpers to cut the deficit down to four with 30 seconds left to play. Tight defense on Curry from Lin was rewarded in an offensive foul. The Lakers had the ball with 20 seconds but missed the three at the buzzer. At the end of three quarters, the Lakers were down 78-82.
The Warriors got off to a quick 4-0 run to take an eight point lead early in the quarter. The Lakers quickly responded four points of their own to get back within four. A layup from Kelly got the Lakers within a basket, but Shaun Livingston hit a tough jumper to keep the Warriors ahead by five. Free throws from Lin cut it to two points, but back-to-back baskets from the Warriors put them back ahead by six. The Warriors had a chance to put the game out of reach, but struggled with a couple of turnovers and a great pass from Lin led to a Boozer assist. Lin free throws brought the Lakers within a basket and a Hill hook shot tied the game, but Thompson responded with a three-pointer to put the Warriors up three. A turnover led to an Iguodala dunk as the Warriors pushed ahead by five with three minutes left. The Lakers continued to struggle down the stretch as turnovers and missed shots gave the Warriors chances to put the game away, but shockingly, they were unable to get the lead higher than five. Both teams traded baskets as the Lakers remained behind five with a minute left. A Clarkson jumper got the Lakers within three and the Lakers got a stop, but Clarkson missed a tough shot where he may have been fouled. Clarkson played good defense on Curry forcing a miss to give the Lakers a chance to tie the game. Clarkson was fouled and hit both free throws to make it a one point game. Curry was intentionally fouled and hit both free throws as the Lakers had one more chance with 4.8 seconds left. The Warriors intentionally fouled Ellington who would make both free throws. Curry knocked down free throws on the other end and Johnson was stripped at the end of the game as the Lakers fell 108-105.
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