Getting Shanghai’d in Shanghai – the headline writes itself, doesn’t it? In their final meeting of the pre-season series in China, the Lakers and Warriors faced off in seemingly equal footing to start the game, but ended in a completely lopsided victory for Golden State.
After Pau Gasol and Andrew Bogut greeted the crowd at Mercedes Benz Arena, the contest that followed seemed a relatively equal match-up. Neither team was shooting lights-out, David Lee was muted slightly from the previous monster game and the Lakers even closed out the half on a 10-0 run.
The second half was a completely different contest, however. The score was 68-65 Warriors, at the six-minute mark of the third quarter, until Klay Thompson unleashed a trio of threes that marked the start of the Lakers’ unfortunate end. Golden State pummeled the purple gold, 115-86.
First Half – The Warriors still managed to score 52 points on 50% shooting, but the Lakers’ defensive efforts were there. Behind by eight points with three minutes left in the second quarter, they managed to get five consecutive stops and capitalized on the other end to recapture the lead. They also forced Golden State into 10 turnovers while committing just six of their own and they got to the free throw line more than twice as much as their opponents, scoring on 13-16 from the charity stripe.
Second Half – Aside from Jodie Meeks intercepting a pass and then getting it back on the other end to score a three, the Lakers did little else to salvage this game. In a nutshell, they were outscored 63-35 in the final two quarters. [See below].
Perimeter Defense – Coach Dave Miller preaches it to the point of exhaustion, but he’s got a point – K.I.P. = Know Your Personnel. The Warriors shoot threes. Their two star players aren’t called the Splash Brothers for nothing, yet the Lakers failed to rotate to the shooter(s) possession after possession. The Warriors went 15-26 from behind the arc. 45 of Golden State’s 115 points came from 22 feet out; the majority of those attempts uncontested. Aside from their shooting acumen, is their ability to run on the break.
Lack of Ball Movement – The Lakers handed out 19 assists for the game. The Warriors’ Andre Iguodola, by himself, sent out 14. It’s never a good sign when the small forward from one team hands out almost as many dimes as the opposing team, especially when that opposing team is led by Steve Nash. 14 Lakers saw the floor, but only six players handed out an assist. Every Warrior who saw the floor, save for Bogut, who left the game early in the first quarter due to back issues, made some sort of play, led by Iguodola’s efforts. The Lakers only had 10 assists in the first half, and handed out even less in the second so it’s no surprise that their six turnovers in the first two quarters, were followed by 15 in the last two. Nine assists to 15 turnovers is no way to win a game, and with the 31-18 disadvantage on fast break points, those turnovers were costly.
Rebounds – This seems to be a trend for the Lakers, this lack of interest in cleaning up the glass. Again this pre-season, they were outrebounded. Tonight it was a 46-36 disparity, with notably little efforts on the offensive boards.
It’s time to head home to the good ol’ U.S. of A – thank goodness. A 2-4 pre-season record now stands, thought it’s hard to analyze the true metrics of a win or loss when the Lakers’ starters’ minutes are kept on a relatively short leash, and the opposing team plays their regular rotation players until the final buzzer. A new starting line-up was placed on the floor again today, but with just two more games in the pre-season schedule, the Lakers’ coaching staff has to define some sort of normalcy and regularity with the rotation by the time the regular season begins.