The Warriors hadn’t beaten the Lakers since April of 2011. Tonight, they beat them and beat them well and good. This is one of those games where the final score, 103-109, doesn’t come close to telling the whole story. That six point advantage in the end was as high as 25 and, unlike their opponents, Golden State knows how to keep a lead.
Turnovers – The Lakers had just nine turnovers for the game, to the Warriors’ 11. Unfortunately, they didn’t take enough of an advantage, only gaining 10 points from Golden State’s miscues.
Misc. Stats – The Lakers were actually even with the Warriors in points in the paint (40 points), scored more second chance points (17-8) and even had more fast break points (17-9). They also outrebounded Golden State, had double the steals of the home team, and was just five dimes short of the Warriors’ assist total. They attempted and converted on more free throws (25-36) than the home team (13-19) and made just four less three pointers. The Lakers had four players in double figures and Dwight Howard grabbed 15 rebounds to lead the game. The difference was the defense.
Warriors - The rest of the high points in tonight’s game were sponsored by the Golden State Warriors. They had five players in double figures, with David Lee (25 points, 12 reb), Steph Curry (25 points, 10 ast, 7 reb) and Klay Thompson (22 points, 4 reb, 3 ast, 2 stl, 1 block) leading the way. Golden State also hit 10-23 from beyond the arc and every Laker mini-run, was answered quickly by a Warriors run.
Defense – Short-term memories, these Lakers; as if they’d forgotten already how the Wizards lit them up in the second half just two nights ago. Tonight they allowed the Warriors a 63-point first half, while only able to score 40 themselves. The Lakers returned the favor in the second half, going for 63 points led by Kobe Bryant and Steve Nash. They managed to keep Golden State at 40% shooting and only allowed them 46 points for the second half, but trying to pull themselves out of a 25-point deficit (again) is still a tall order in the final 12 minutes of any game. The Lakers didn’t have to fall so far behind, but their defense didn’t kick in until the last few minutes of the third quarter and into the fourth. Unfortunately, there isn’t a heroic comeback hidden in every game, which is unfortunate because the Lakers could have really used one tonight.
Those comeback wins not so long ago – they were punctuations to an exciting time this season. Kobe Bryant was in beast mode, Dwight Howard was healthier, the bench was contributing regularly, the team was climbing out from beneath the 8th seed, and the Lakers just looked like a group of players who were coming together. They had that us-against-the-world swag about them and finally, we all thought, the road ahead looked straight…and then there are moments like this – a three-game losing streak and the teams below that final playoff seeding chomping at the Lakers’ heels, and the Lakers appearing to have hit yet another wall.