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Warriors vs. Lakers recap: When everything clicks

Going up against a shorthanded Lakers squad, the Warriors did everything right tonight. The team displayed hot shooting, quick ball movement, and fun bench mob for a full 48 minutes.

Los Angeles Lakers v Golden State Warriors Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images

Well, the Warriors clearly did not forget their loss to the Lakers from earlier this month.

Since then—powered by their terrifying offense—the Warriors haven’t lost a game. In retrospect, it seems that the panic from the loss was overblown. I guess we all knew that their cold shooting could not possibly last.

The Warriors’ performance tonight showcased the offensive firepower that we dreamed about all summer. Yes, D’Angelo Russell and Julius Randle were out, but the Lakers looked completely outmatched. The Dubs scored 80 in the first half, putting the game away at halftime. But unlike games past where the Warriors would coast and end up winning by much less than the team’s greatest lead, the Warriors’ bench followed through. The team ended with 149 points, the eighth-most ever for a non-overtime game.

The Warriors shot incredibly well the entire night, hitting 61% of their field goals and 19 of their 36 threes. Their three offensive superstars (Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, and Kevin Durant) looked unstoppable:

Off the bench, Ian Clark showcased his shooter’s touch, scoring 21 points on 7-8 shooting. He’s proved so far this season that he’s a solid rotation player, especially after improving his finishing ability over the offseason.

But what was craziest about the offensive output of tonight’s game wasn’t the hot shooting, it was the quality of looks the offense produced. The team had 47 assists, a franchise record and the most ever in the NBA since 1991. Given that the team had only 53 total field goals, 89% of the Warriors made shots today were assisted, many of them open shots or layups close to the basket. The Warriors took care of the ball too, only turning the ball over ten times.

There might only be one basketball, but this Warriors team is smart enough to realize that sharing the ball will lead to more scoring opportunities in the long run. This type of trust in the offensive process usually doesn’t happen quickly, but Kevin Durant and the other new faces have bought into the system already. That’s encouraging.

The defense didn’t look quite as strong, but they did fine against an mediocre Lakers offense. Draymond Green, as always, was active defensively, and though he scored only five points, he also racked up 11 assists and nine boards. Although defense will matter in the playoffs, the Warriors haven’t needed to be in great shape on that end so far this season. And for now, that’s okay.

Highlights:

Closing Thoughts:

  • The Warriors’ bench mob has been awful to watch for most of the past couple seasons. Now? There’s some intrigue. Pat McCaw, Ian Clark, Kevon Looney, and JaVale McGee (plus, erm, Anderson Varejao) played much of the fourth quarter together, and it was lit (in a good way!).
  • JaVale McGee can track lobs in midair and stuff them. For this offense, that’s a very welcome skill. Come playoff time, it might be a little too hopeful to see him as a regular contributor, but he’s a good asset for the regular season.
  • Anderson Varejao entered the game in the middle of the third quarter. On the one hand, it was nice to see the game out of reach by then. On the other, why him?
  • In four minutes, Kevon Looney had five points (including one three!) and five boards. If he can improve his conditioning, he’s close to putting it all together.
  • The Warriors play the Lakers again at Staples Center on Friday. The Lakers will probably be at full strength, and the Warriors just might be struck by the post-Thanksgiving hangover! Let’s destroy them again.

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