L.A.

5 things we learned from Lakers’ 109-88 loss to Warriors

Photo Credit: Sports Out West

LOS ANGELES — With the defending champion Golden State Warriors in town, the Los Angeles Lakers saw their three-game winning streak end falling to a 109-88 blowout loss with Klay Thompson scoring a game-high 36 points.

Thompson carried the Warriors in the first quarter almost outscoring the Lakers single-handedly with 22 points on 9-of-14 shooting, including going 4-of-7 from three-point range. Golden State also had 13 assists on 15 made field goals in the opening period that helped them hold a 37-25 lead head into the second quarter. 

The Warriors expanded their lead to as many as 18 points in the second quarter with Stephen Curry scoring eight of his 17 points that gave them a 62-47 lead at the half. Jordan Clarkson led Los Angeles with 13 points while Larry Nance Jr. chipped in with nine points and five rebounds. 

Golden State increased their lead in the third quarter using a 22-1 run to push the advantage to 33 points at 88-55 with 2:29 left in the period. The Warriors maintained a 20-plus point lead throughout the fourth quarter with Los Angeles getting no closer than 21 points. 

“Tonight I didn’t think it was a lack of effort,” Lakers head coach Byron Scott said. “It was thinking too much about missed shots and didn’t get back on defense. They came out in the third quarter wanting to put us away and I don’t think we reacted to well to that.”

Clarkson led the Lakers with 23 points and five rebounds. Nance Jr. had nine points and seven rebounds. Lou Williams chipped in with 10 points that came on a perfect 10-of-10 shooting from the free throw line. 

With the Warriors snapping the Lakers’ win streak and setting the best record in NBA history through the first 35 games at 33-2, here’s what we learned on Tuesday night:

Curry’s solid performance

With Curry in the lineup for a second straight game after missing two consecutive contests due to a bothersome shin injury, it was one of his more quiet performances scoring 17 points on 6-of-13 shooting, including 4-of-8 from beyond the arc and dished out six assists.

Despite being in foul trouble for much of the first half, he was productive notching 11 points on 4-of-9 shooting including 3-of-6 from beyond the arc while dishing out six assists. 

There was a brief scare in the third quarter after a layup in transition over Roy Hibbert as he ran down the court with a noticeable limp in his left leg. The Warriors immediately called a timeout, but Curry stayed in the game and didn’t appear to experience any lingering effects.  

“He just got kicked in that same spot again and it kind of stunned him a little bit,” Warriors interim head coach Luke Walton said. “He wanted to stay in the game for a bit and the trainers said he could, so we let him run it out.”

His night ended early with the game well in hand with a 32-point lead entering the fourth quarter. Overall, it was a respectable performance from the reigning MVP on a night his backcourt running mate was the leading offensive scorer. 

Curry is in the midst of another remarkable record-setting season that he’s currently leading the league in scoring and is the early front-runner for the MVP award once again. He has already broken the record for the fastest to reach 100 three-pointers in just 20 games, and should far beyond pass his three-pointers made record for a single season.

Entering’s Tuesday’s tilt he ranked sixth in three-point percentage (44.4), has a league-high seven 40-point outings and is tied for the league lead with fourteen 30-point games. All in all, what Tuesday’s game proved once again is that Curry is one of the NBA’s best and most exciting players to watch on a nightly basis. 

Bryant out again

With Kobe Bryant out for a third consecutive game due to a sore right shoulder, rookie Anthony Brown once again got the call in the starting lineup posting four points on 1-of-5 shooting and three rebounds in 27 minutes played. 

It was once again a minimal impact game for the 34th overall pick in this year’s draft as he was in foul trouble for much of the night. He did take shots when they were presented to him but was unable to knock them down. Nonetheless, it was more valuable experience gained for the rookie forward.

“He still competes and battles,” Scott said. “He has to become more consistent on the offensive end. That’s what he’s known for but right now he hasn’t been able to do that on a consistent basis. He had a tough matchup with Klay and he was there on a few shots, but that’s what Klay does.”

Although Scott didn’t voice any concern prior to the game about the 37-year-old shoulder injury, he did note that Bryant is taking the “cautious” route with the injury. It’s an issue that Scott suggested a couple of days ago that the 17-time All-Star will likely have to manage throughout the rest of his final season. 

This may be nothing more than Bryant trying to nurse his shoulder back to strength, but the fact that he’s missed three straight games now is certainly something to watch. 

Warriors’ Mr. everything

Prior to Tuesday’s game, Scott voiced much praise for the Warriors forward stating that he’s his favorite player in the league because of  his attitude and all-around performance on the court. 

Although he didn’t post a fourth straight triple-double, Green didn’t disappoint put together all-around night with nine points, 12 rebounds, and five assists. The 25-year-old demonstrated once again that he can make an impact on several aspects of the game on both ends of the floor. Entering Tuesday’s game, Green was on pace for his best season averages career highs in points (15.0), rebounds (9.5), assists (7.5), blocks (1.4), three-point percentage (41.5), and field goal percentage (46.4).

Green has been producing at an elite level recent with three straight triple-double, which made him just the second Warriors’ player to accomplish that feat joining Tom Gola in the 1959-60 season. He’s the second player to do so in the past seven seasons with Oklahoma City Thunder guard Russell Westbrook, who had four straight last season. 

If anything, what Green’s recent stretch of games has done is given him more recognition to how import he is to the Warriors’ success over the last two seasons. 

Randle’s response

A game following a minor rough patch with his head coach, Randle was once again a non-factor offensively scoring two points on 1-of-8 shooting but did haul in nine rebounds and record four assists in 20 minutes played. 

Randle made a couple of solid plays in the first half as a distributor dishing three assists in his nine minutes on the court. He utilized his off-the-dribble skill set to find a couple of teammates on drives to the basket. First he used a quick shovel pass to find Brandon Bass for an easy dunk. 

Then he found Metta World Peace for a wide-open three-pointer on the wing. Each play Randle demonstrated much poise and control while being conscious of where he teammates are on the floor.

He continued to look for his teammates in the second half as he took just five shot attempts. His lone made field goal was on a mid-range jumper early in the fourth quarter. 

Before the game, Scott once stated that he wants to see more maturity out of Randle and voiced that the 21-year-old can see growth in that aspect. 

“Julius, like I said, even what I said the other day about he has to grow up and be a little more mature, it’s the truth,” Scott said. “But he’s a guy who I love, I love his energy, I love how hard he plays and I just want him to continue to grow in that department.” 
 
It might have been another off-night offensively for Randle, but it was encouraging to see that he’s playing with the same aggression and finding other ways to make an impact. 
 
Nance Jr. continues to produce
 
 The Lakers’ rookie forward continued his hot stretch with another productive outing posting nine points on 4-of-8 shooting from the field with seven rebounds. 
 
Nance Jr. was all over the floor in the first half being a factor on the glass and in transition. He had an impressive dunk on the fast break on a pass from Clarkson and added an alley-oop layup in the second quarter on another dish from Clarkson. 
 
Although it was a slight step back in production from the Wyoming product, his presence was felt when he was on the floor. Over the last two weeks has been a huge factor on the fast break and on the glass. Nance Jr. has taken advantage of the opportunity as of lately averaging 11.2 points on 67 percent shooting with 9.8 rebounds. 
 
With Scott continuing to praise the rookie’s play over the last several games, it could mean plenty more opportunities for Nance Jr. to put together more strong performances.
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Bob Garcia IV

Bob Garcia IV is a sports journalist from Southern California. He's currently the Los Angeles Lakers beat writer for Sports Out West. He's also currently a sports freelance writer for Sports Uncut. He's also the beat writer for LA Rams Report for Scout.com, which is a website dedicated to covering the Rams. Lastly, he was a reporter for the award-winning newspaper, The Daily Sundial, at California State University, Northridge. You can follow him on Twitter, @BGarcia90.
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