As I wrote in the game preview, the Lakers faced circumstances that were far from ideal against the Warriors. Not only were they playing the second night of a back to back after a big win last night, but they were doing so on the road, against a team playing in their home opener, who also happens to be one of the better outfits in the conference. Well, all those variables came to a head in this game as the Warriors simply outclassed the Lakers, routing them to the tune of 125-94.
There’s really no need to go into much detail about the Lakers performance in this contest. Defensively, they looked disorganized and had too many instances of miscommunication. Rotations were missed on the perimeter — a deadly mistake against a team with the caliber of shooters the Warriors have — and when big men helped inside no one covered for them on the backside and that resulted in easy shots at the rim either off dump off passes or put-backs. The team also struggled to contain dribble penetration which opened up kick-out and skip passes to shooters when defenders got sucked into the paint. Further, by playing small-ish lineups against a team with good size at every position except point guard, the Lakers ended up double teaming more than they’d want, resulting in even more open jumpers when the Warriors moved the ball.
Offensively, the Lakers simply couldn’t hit shots. Their 39% success rate from the floor seems like generous score keeping based off how often the team missed. Credit the Warriors’ defense for a lot of the Lakers’ struggles on that side, but the team also missed shots that fell just a night earlier. Jumpers went halfway down and spun out, inside shots fell off the side of the rim, and their 3 point shots didn’t find the mark. The team did have some success finishing at the rim later in the contest, but all that did was make a horrid shooting night seem somewhat better than it actually was.
All in all, this game was an inverse of what the team did the night before. The bench never really found a groove and the starters, while okay in spurts, were simply outgunned by a very good Warriors’ first five. There’s no harm in that, especially considering the circumstances of the game mentioned at the top (not to mention that Nash didn’t play, so the rotations were thrown off some), but it’s still a tough pill to swallow when the 2nd half devolves into an attempt to avoid losing by 30.
In the end, it’s best to just forget this game as quickly as possible and hope that the team can put together a better effort on Friday against the Spurs. If you’d have told me that after the first two games the Lakers would be 1-1, I’d have taken it, so despite the ugliness witnessed in this game, it’s time to move on.