Well, well, well. That was REALLY fun.
The Lakers shocked the Warriors for the second straight time at Staples, 117-97 (remember that they handed the Warriors one of their nine losses last March in that building). In fact, the Lakers got off to an 8-0 start and they honestly never looked back.
It obviously really helped that the Dubs, who were coming off an emotional victory against the Thunder the night before, missed three after after three (reminiscent of their March game). The Lakers didn’t exactly shoot the lights out early, either, but they kept moving the ball well. It befuddled the Warriors and they couldn’t stop the Lakers’ ball movement and paint domination. The Lakers assisted on eight of their first 10 field goals (finished with 26 assists overall) and after a sloppy first quarter, their offense was prettier than Nina Agdal. L.A. went up by double digits and their 65-point first half was highlighted by a monstrous slam by Larry Nance the Younger.
The Warriors couldn’t take care of the ball as they had 20 turnovers. They missed open threes all night as they went 5 for 32 (.156). It was so bad that Stephen Curry’s streak of 157 consecutive games with a made three-pointer was snapped in this contest. On the other side, the Lakers had big plays all around as they built a double digit lead that eventually ballooned to 21 in the third (their biggest lead was 22). Luol Deng had some nice drive-and-dishes early. Nick Young (12 points) continued to be energized on both sides of the floor. D’Angelo Russell (17 points) ran the offense well and hit a few big bailout shots. Larry Nance, Jr. (12 points, 9 rebounds) brought the fire. Julius Randle had a huge game (20 points, 14 rebounds). Brandon Ingram struggled but he did hit a big bucket at the end of the third quarter. And Timofey Mozgov, who came back for this game, even got in a few nice plays there (that assist to D’Angelo was fantastic).
But I’d like to give props to Lou Williams (20 points), who once again was that veteran presence (yeah, I know) that staved off a potential Warriors comeback. The Warriors never got closer than six points before Lou made four straight points for the Lakers. Williams would make the first eight Laker points in the fourth to put the game out of reach. He even made a few defensive stops, too!
Sure, we can say that the Dubs were tired (back-to-back games, after all) but give the Lakers credit for jumping on them. They stuck to the game plan even when the Warriors tried to fly around on defense late in the third. While the Lakers did leave them open for three a bit (and Golden State missed those shots), they played inspired defense that we mostly didn’t see the last two seasons from them. They were young and fast enough to rotate and make up for botches and their size advantage made it difficult for the Warriors to rebound (51-40 edge by L.A.) or go for inside buckets.
The Lakers are now 3-3 overall and 2-0 at home! A huge victory for the Lakers, really, as it boosts their confidence immensely. They’re winning a bit and they’re having a lot of fun doing it. What more can you ask for?