Will the real Lakers please stand up? It’s difficult to place too much stock in tonight’s 95-87 no show against the Warriors after a season of confounding losses amidst stellar play since the All-Star break. After losing to Denver and Utah, the forum blue and gold came out of the gates with a vengeance, holding Golden State to just 14 points in the opening frame. By the second quarter though, the Warriors had taken over the game and never ceded control for the rest of the night.
Bynum continued his torrid second half rebounding, nabbing 17 for the night to go along with 13 points on a perfect 5-5 from the field — an efficient number that his teammates should have exploited, instead of largely ignored. His front court mate Gasol statistically had a solid night with 18 points and 7 rebounds, but he wasn’t nearly as effective and rarely asserted himself against the Warrior’s undersized lineup. Instead, the Lakers fell perfectly into Golden State’s trap, allowing Monta Ellis and Stephen Curry to run amok to the tune of 46 combined points. Neither of the Warrior’s guards shot the ball well, but the pace they established early on in the game set the tone for the night for both teams. The Lakers tried to keep up, but at the end of the day, Golden State’s frenetic offense was simply faster, nullifying their poor 39% shooting from the floor .
The Warriors were bullied by the Lakers’ imposing front court in losing 12 straight to L.A. prior to tonight’s contest. Give plenty of credit to David Lee (22 points, 17 rebounds) and Lou Amundson for their tremendous activity down on the block in ensuring that history wouldn’t repeat itself. As a team, Golden State outrebounded the Lakers 50-47 and pulled down an even more impressive 18 offensive boards. Outside of Bynum’s tenacity, no other Laker seemed to show much energy around the hoop.
The sluggish play also led to 17 costly turnovers for L.A., many of which were accrued in a game-changing 29-17 third quarter for the Warriors. Kobe (25 points) did his best to rescue his team, but his attempt at any fourth quarter heroics was far too little, too late. In fact, that might be the theme of the night for the Lakers — just a step too slow. It’s a disappointing third straight loss with playoff seeding still very much on the line, but ultimately the type of letdown that shouldn’t happen when the playoffs begin in less than two weeks.