Klay Thompson’s 44 points gives Golden State revenge in L.A.
The injury-decimated Los Angeles Lakers ended their Martin Luther King Jr. Holiday with a blowout home loss to the defending champion Golden State Warriors.
In a Christmas Day rematch, the Warriors (33-14) coasted their way to a 130-111 win over their Pacific Division-rival Lakers (25-23). Golden State’s team effort to tie the season series featured all 12 active Warriors scoring at least two points.
Golden State finished the night with 41 assists as a team while the Lakers had only 20 too. Forward Kevin Durant scored 20 points, four assists and six rebounds too but it was Klay Thompson’s 44-point night that stole the show.
“…The ball was moving and Klay [Thompson] was spectacular.” Warriors head coach Steve Kerr said after his team’s eighth straight win.
The All-Star two guard led the Warriors in scoring and he shot 10-of-11 from three-point range. Not to mention, Thompson took 20 total shots and only missed three field goals the entire night.
“It’s the best percentage I’ve ever shot, but it happened to one of those nights,” Thompson said after his performance versus his hometown team. “I was having one of those nights.”
Thompson finished the first half with 21 points, three rebounds
Turnovers were the difference in the first half. The Warriors scored 15 points off 8 Lakers turnovers while L.A. only converted eight points of six G.S.W turnovers. Golden State also held a 12-2 advantage over the Lakers in fast break points for the first half too.
The Warriors carried that moment into a 7-0 run to start the first few minutes of the third. Naturally, it was Thompson’s three with more than nine minutes left in the third that would give the visiting team a 80-60 advantage. Thompson had 38 points halfway through the third as his team held a 92-63 lead.
“I just happened to be on one tonight and I’m happy I was able to do it in front of my family.” Thompson said.
The last time these two teams faced each other, the Lakers routed the Warriors 127-101. L.A. led by as much as 31 and finished the game shooting 53 percent from the field as a team but LeBron James left that game with a groin injury that has kept him out since.
In addition to James, the Lakers were without Lonzo Ball in this matchup. Ball left Saturday’s game with an ankle injury. An MRI revealed he suffered a Grade 3 ankle sprain. He’s expected to miss 4-6 weeks.
That’s on top of veteran point guard Rajon Rondo who missed his 14th consecutive game due to a finger injury. Rondo is expected to return in the Lakers’ next contest barring any setbacks.
Still, L.A. started the night with Brandon Ingram as the primary point guard. With 5:13 left on the game clock in the first, Ingram dribbled down the lane and converted a contested layup and foul. He added the free throw which gave the Lakers a 14-12 advantage.
After that it was all Warriors in the first who closed the quarter 29-24. Thompson scored 11 in the first quarter for Golden State and neither he or the Warriors looked back.
Ingram looked more comfortable and played more within the offense in the second period. He found Ivica Zubac on a pick and roll that would be one of his two assists in the second. Ingram finished the second quarter with seven points, two rebounds and two assists, compared to the first where he had just six points and no assists.
“I thought Brandon [Ingram] did a really nice job.” Walton said after the loss. “I thought he was pushing the pace.”
Walton added Ingram got himself going and was play-making but the Warriors just made runs. Ingram registered 17 points and five rebounds and three assists while Zubac added 18 points, four rebounds and a block.
“He’s earned more minutes and we’ll continue to play him in a bigger role.” Walton said about Zubac’s performance. The Center also scored 18 points when the Lakers played Golden State on X-mas.
Otherwise, Lakers guard Josh Hart made his 21st start thanks to the void left by Ball’s injury. Hart made the Lakers’ first bucket of the game with a contested three from the top of the arc. He also converted a three halfway through the second that brought the Lakers within seven. Those were the second-year guards only points.
Michael Beasley provided a nice spark for the Lakers in the first half. The veteran forward finished the first two quarter with eight points on 4-of-5 shooting from the field. Beasley ended the night with 15 points on 7-of-8 shooting as well as two assists and five rebounds.
Meanwhile, Kyle Kuzma struggled scoring efficiently. He was 5-of-14 in the first half with 11 points. Kuzma scored only 16 on 7-of-18 shooting in the rout.
“Obviously, anytime you are down like that it’s going to affect your offense and we just didn’t make shots tonight.” Kuzma said about the team being short-handed without a couple of play makers and not finding a rhythm versus the Warriors.
However, Golden State wasn’t without their struggles. DeMarcus Cousins made his second start since returning from an Achilles’ injury. The 2018 free agent acquisition went 2-of-9 in 21 minutes.
Warrors guard Steph Curry only scored 11 points and forward Draymond Green only added five points versus the Lakers. Both All-Stars shot 25 percent from the field as well. They both did do their part passing the ball, though. Curry finished with 12 assists while Green had six of his own.
L.A.’s blowout loss to Golden State contrasts their last two contests which resulted in overtime. The Lakers lost on Jan. 17 to the Rockets 134-138 on the road. They went to Houston off a 138-128 OT win over the Oklahoma City Thunder.
The Lake Show entered the contest a half game behind the Clippers for the West’s No. 8 seed. Now, the Lakers next chance to move up the conference standings tips off at 7:30 p.m. PST versus the 11th seeded Minnesota Timberwolves (22-24) at Staples Center on Jan. 24.