Being the only starter to appear in every game this season, Pau Gasol sat out tonight’s game against the Golden State Warriors due to a respiratory issue. After being out of the rotation for many weeks, Chris Kaman started in Gasol’s place and looked to build upon his strong performance against the Timberwolves last night. With the Lakers playing well on the second night of back-to-backs this season, they had an opportunity to get above the .500 mark and supplant the Warriors for the ninth seed in the Western Conference.
The Warriors made a concerted effort to run the Lakers out of the building, but Los Angeles was able to withstand the initial push. While the Lakers gave up four early offensive rebounds, both teams simply couldn’t make a basket. After the first, both teams shot less than 40 percent from the field and the Lakers only trailed by one, 27-26.
In the second quarter, the Lakers’ defense disrupted the Warriors and created numerous turnovers. Unfortunately, the Lakers couldn’t convert off those turnovers and continued to give up offensive rebounds. Although the Lakers didn’t have a field goal for nearly four minutes, Jordan Hill had six straight points to keep Los Angeles within striking distance. At the half, Hill led all scorers with 14 points while Chris Kaman had 10 rebounds. The Lakers trailed 46-42 heading into the locker room.
To start the second half, Klay Thompson went on a 5-0 run of his own to push the Warriors’ lead to nine. When it appeared the Warriors were going to push the lead to double digits, they gave the Lakers opportunities to come back with multiple turnovers. However, the Lakers had their own problems handling the ball and the deficit eventually reached double digits midway through the third, 56-46. After the timeout, the Lakers couldn’t stop the Warriors as the lead ballooned to as much as 22 points. At the end of the third, the Lakers went on a 7-0 run and trailed 72-57.
While the Lakers tried to make another run, the Warriors’ bench maintained the lead. With less than eight minutes remaining in the game, head coach Mark Jackson decided to insert his starting line-up back in the game and extended the lead to 24 points. After being confident that his Warriors would win, both teams emptied the benches with less than three minutes left. Despite 20 points by Young, the Lakers lost 102-83 and fall one game below the .500 mark.