LOS ANGELES — In the first meeting of the season against the Golden State Warriors, the Los Angeles made it clear on Sunday night that they were up to the challenge against the defending champions.
In what turned out to be thrilling 127-123 overtime loss, the Lakers put together a collective offensive effort that had them dueling it out with the Warriors with four players finishing with 20 or more points for the first time in team history since February 28, 2014.
Brandon Ingram finishing with a career-high 32 points while Kentavious Caldwell-Pope poured in 21 points, which marked his fourth straight 20-point outing. Meanwhile, Jordan Clarkson and Julius Randle had 21 and 20 points respectively off the bench. Lonzo Ball finished with a double-double with 15 points and 10 assists.
Ingram had led the charge with a career-high 32 points with 20 of that coming in the first half alone that helped the Lakers carry a four-point advantage into the second half.
The Lakers made a late push in the second quarter to completely erase a double-digit deficit with a 20-6 run with Ingram and Randle leading the way with 26 combined points. Los Angeles shot 53.8 percent from the field with 15 assists on 21 made field goals in the first half.
Meanwhile, the Warriors struggled from beyond the arc shooting 27.3 percent from beyond the arc (3-of-11) with only Kevin Durant in double figures with 13 points. This includes putting up just 20 points in the second quarter, which is an opponent low for a second quarter this season against the Lakers. Los Angeles also shot 70.6 percent from the field in the second quarter, which was the highest in any quarter this season.
Things remained close throughout much of the final two quarters of play with the teams trading baskets late in the fourth quarter with the Lakers grabbing a 109-106 with under a minute to go after a three-point play by Caldwell-Pope, but Durant quickly followed it up with a deep 3-pointer to tie the game at 109 with 46 seconds left and even had a chance to take the lead on the next possession but missed a pull-up jumper.
The Warriors finally gained some separation in the first two possessions with back-to-back 3-pointer from Stephen Curry to grab a 115-109 lead. However, the Lakers battled back in overtime to bring the margin to just 124-121 with 28.7 seconds left after a stepback 3-pointer by Clarkson and closed the gap to one point after Ingram got the steal and nailed a pair of free throws.
Los Angeles briefly remained in the game after Curry clunked the second of a pair of free throws, but the rebound was collected by Draymond Green and led to another trip to the charity stripe that essentially put it out of reach for the Lakers. Ultimately, Curry’s 13 of his 28 points in the game in the overtime frame proved too much to overcome.
Despite that, head Luke Walton was encouraged by the manner that his team competed and approached the game.
“I loved the way our guys competed defensively. I told our guys to be aggressive but smart,” Walton said. “We set a challenge to our guys and they responded tonight. I’m really happy with the ay that they came out and battled tonight.”
The Lakers will head on the road on Saturday to face the Denver Nuggets for the first of a back-to-back.
Bob Garcia IV
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