The Los Angeles Lakers met up with the Golden State Warriors in the second-to-last preseason contest on their schedule. Check out our recap:
The Lakers started with a lineup of D’Angelo Russell, Jordan Clarkson, Nick Young, Julius Randle, and Timofey Mozgov, while the Warriors countered with Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, Kevin Durant, Draymond Green, and Zaza Pachulia. Golden State jumped out to an 8-0 lead, looking every bit as dominant as they are on paper.
D’Angelo Russell got the Lakers going with a few threes, but precise passing from the Warriors continued to carve up the Lakers defense. Brandon Ingram did a nice job getting to the basket against Draymond Green, and as the Warriors turned to their bench, the Lakers started to put things together.
Tarik Black played well defensively, which is becoming the norm. The bench unit of Marcelo Huertas, Lou Williams, Ingram, Larry Nance Jr., Black managed to play the Warriors even, but the score at the end of the first was still 33-20 in favor of Golden State. Russell led the way for the Lakers with six points.
Metta World Peace came in for Huertas near the start of the second, making Williams the point guard for the second unit and sliding Ingram up to shooting guard. It was an awkward lineup, but World Peace had only played five minutes all preseason, so it’s understandable that Walton would want to get him some more minutes.
Ingram set up a number of Lakers plays as the primary ball handler and did a commendable job. On one play he used a left-handed dribble to get into the paint, forcing the defense to collapse, and then kicked the ball out to an open Williams for the three. The Lakers actually got to within six, but then the Warriors brought their starters back in as they hoped to regain control.
Walton experimented with a few different lineups as the quarter went on, including a small-ball group with Randle as the center and Ingram as the power forward. The Warriors recognized the lack of rim protection immediately and attacked the paint, causing Walton to bring Yi Jianlian into the game.
Still, the Lakers managed to cut the lead to four on a three from Young. Golden State isn’t the favorite to win it all for nothing, though, and they responded with a quick 5-0 run. At the half, the Warriors were up, 52-43.
The Lakers opened the third quarter with the same starting five they began the game with, and Kevin Durant immediately got things going with an and-one after the Lakers fell asleep on an inbounds play. Russell had a phenomenal pick and roll feed to Mozgov for a slam, but then the Warriors started doing their thing and suddenly the lead ballooned to 18.
There was no quit in the Lakers, but it was clear that Golden State was the better team. Mozgov was impressive with a huge block to deny Durant on a lob attempt, and Young continued to provide offense by hitting a three and going coast-to-coast for a layup.
There was a scare when Mozgov went up to attempt a tip-dunk and was undercut by Randle, causing him to fall hard to the floor on his back. He was able to job down to the other end but then was taken out and headed back to the locker room. Young continued his hot shooting to keep the Lakers close, but there was no stopping the Warriors. Ingram also came back on and had a nice drive and finish against Andre Iguodala, continuing his solid all-around game.
At the end of the third, the Warriors led by 10, 87-77.
Young came out firing in the fourth, hitting his fourth three and bringing his point total up to 16. The Warriors began to empty their bench, with Shaqtin A Fool superstar Javale McGee coming in to man the middle. Young hit his fifth three with about nine minutes left in the quarter, providing the offensive punch that the team badly needed.
McGee made an impact on both ends of the floor, contesting shots at the rim and scoring inside over the much shorter Black on offense. Thompson hit a three to bring the lead up to thirteen, shutting down any thoughts of a Lakers comeback.
Ingram really picked up his game in the fourth after looking more comfortable all game long. He was aggressive taking the ball to the rim and hit on a variety of jumpers. It’s going to take time, but nights like this remind everyone of why he was the second pick in the draft.
Warriors’ coach Steve Kerr opted to bring Durant and Curry back into the game with about six minutes to play as he looked to get his team used to a regular season rotation. Curry immediately began putting on a show, hitting step back threes after a display of fancy dribbling.
Still, to the delight of Lakers fans, Ingram continued his strong play, finishing the game with 21 points, seven rebounds, four assists, and two steals in what has to be considered his best game as a Laker thus far. When the final buzzer sounded the Lakers lost 123-112, but there were plenty of positives to take away from a tough game against a team that is expected to win it all this season.