Another tough test was in store for the Lakers on Sunday night as they took on the top team in the Pacific division record-wise, the Golden State Warriors.
These two teams met during the first week of the season and Klay Thompson would go off for a career-high 41 points in the Warriors win. Thompson and Steph Curry form arguably the best backcourt duo in the NBA.
Kobe Bryant came into this game dealing with a viral infection, but would give it a go regardless. The Lakers came into this matchup with a 1-8 record while the Warriors were 7-2.
Both teams got off to a quick start as Jordan Hill got a putback and Kobe hit a jumper to get the Lakers going, but Golden State responded with a couple of Andrew Bogut layups. The Warriors kept it going as Draymond Green got a layup and Klay Thompson finished an and-1 to put the Warriors up 9-4. The Warriors speed was a huge difference early on as they continually beat the Lakers up the court for layups, pushing their lead to 15-6 before Kobe’s second jumper closed the lead. Kobe kept the Lakers in it early, but a Harrison Barnes three pushed the Warriors lead to 20-12. Things continued to get worse as Bogut continued to get easy shots down low. Two hooks sandwiched a Curry three as the Warriors extended the lead to 29-12. A Kobe jumper ended a 14-0 Warriors run, but they remained ahead by 17. Kobe continued to shoot in the first quarter, single-handedly keeping the team in relative striking distance. A three-pointer and a beautiful assist to Ed Davis cut the lead to 11 as the quarter ended.
Ryan Kelly started off the quarter with two free throws and an Ed Davis swat highlighted the defensive possession. Ryan Kelly had an excellent drive for a layup, but his hamstring tightened up on him again leading the Lakers to take him out. Ed Davis followed another big block with a beautiful assist on the other end, but the Warriors responded again with a Barnes three and an and-1 from Marresse Speights to put the Warriors back up to 14. The Lakers struggled to cut into the lead as Speights got back-to-back baskets and a beautiful transition sequence resulted in a Barnes layup to give the Warriors their biggest lead at 56-36. Kobe suffered a cut over his eye after a reach in from Draymond Green and remained on the floor for a little bit. Kobe eventually got up and knocked down two free throws, but the Lakers remained down by 17. A beautiful Kobe shot was matched by a Curry three. A gorgeous Curry pass to Bogut pushed the Warriors lead to 21. A quick 7-0 run from the Lakers cut the lead down to 14 but Curry quickly matched with a layup and a three. The teams continued to trade as the Lakers could do nothing to stop the Warriors who went into halftime with a 74-55 lead.
Harrison Barnes hit two free throws to start the scoring which was matched by a Boozer fadeaway. The Warriors continued to get any shot they wanted as they pushed the lead out to 21. Back-to-back threes from Green pushed the Warriors lead out to 26 as the Lakers defense could do nothing to stop the Warriors. Curry would join the fun with his own three to match a Kobe three-point play as the lead was 27 midway through the quarter. The Warriors kept it pouring on as a Thompson three pushed the lead out to 31 before a Kobe jumper cut it slightly. More open threes allowed the Warriors to push the lead even more out of hand. Kobe would hit another jumper to give him his first 40-point game of the season. The Warriors continued to have fun with Curry doing some All-Star game moves as they ran the score up to as high as 38. The quarter would end with the Warriors ahead 115-79.
Jordan Clarkson got going to start the quarter for the Lakers with back-to-back baskets before Xavier Henry got his first points with a couple of free throws. The Warriors would again respond with easy baskets in the paint as even their bench couldn’t miss. To the surprise of many, Robert Sacre was on fire, making three straight jumpers. Henry made his presence known as he continued to attack the basket and get to the free throw line. Clarkson and Davis continued to look solid in garbage time, as Clarkson especially was aggressive going to the basket. Henry also looked good as he hit a jumper in transition cutting the Warriors deficit to 26 as time wound down. Sacre’s jumper continued to fall as he hit another jumper to bring his total to 10 points on the night. An Ed Davis tip-in ended the scoring as the Warriors got the win, 136-115.
Lakers Kobe Bryant On Sickness, ‘Used To Be Able To Fight Through’