The Golden State Warriors overcame a ghastly shooting night to defeat the pesky Los Angeles Lakers 116-114 on a game-winning Kevin Durant jumper late in overtime. This is an especially sweet victory for the champs as it came on the road, without the services of of Stephen Curry, Draymond Green, Shaun Livingston, or Zaza Pachulia.
Oh yeah, it was also the night the currently-downtrodden Lakers franchise honored their last hero, Kobe Bryant, by retiring two of his jerseys at halftime. I’m pretty sure that will be the only thing the Lakers will raise to the rafters for as long as the Splash Bros live.
Not surprisingly, the Lakers came out with a ton of energy as Bryant approvingly scowled from the sidelines. Klay Thompson got into foul trouble early, and Kevin Durant missed his first seven shots.
As The Rock would say: IT DIDN’T MATTER!!
The Warriors smart defense forced five turnovers and former Laker Nick “Swaggy P” Young heated up on his ex-teammates. He scored eight points in the quarter, grinning as he drilled every shot he took (3-of-3 from field, 2-of-2 from downtown).
Warriors 32, Kobe’s Kids 24
There was some good!
There was some bad: the champs shot 38% from the field and coughed up nine turnovers in two quarters.
Then... there was some ugly. Brook Lopez landed awkwardly on his ankle chasing a rebound and had to be helped to the locker room. Also this:
Warriors 57, Lakers 53
Larry Nance Jr. posterizing Durant lifted the Laker faithful to their feet and reignited the celebratory mood for Bryant’s halftime ceremony.
Dubs watch from the court as Kobe gives his jersey retirement speech pic.twitter.com/Kxz6bZQYrA— Warriors on NBCS (@NBCSWarriors) December 19, 2017
The Warriors offense looked broken as Durant struggled in isolation sets, Thompson whiffed on multiple jumpers, and every other player in a Warriors jersey looked tenative.
Durant’s frustration boiled over and he received a technical foul. The only bright spot was the nuclear blast from the hellacious block Jordan Bell gave to a Brandon Ingram dunk attempt.
Ingram stayed down after his hard fall and had to leave the game with a right cheek contusion. Unfortunately, the shorthanded Dubs still couldn’t take advantage of the newly shorthanded Lakers.
Warriors 83, Lakers 82
This quarter was a combination of grit and incompetence.
Buckets were few and far between for both teams, as the Lakers struggled attacking the paint and the Dubs bricked long bombs.
Ingram returned with Mamba-esque aggression, getting into a head to head battle with Durant down the stretch. Neither could land the dagger at the end though, and the tired teams slogged their way into an overtime for the second time this season.
Warriors 102, Lakers 102
Extra basketball! Lonzo Ball took over for the Lakers at the same time Durant started cooking for the Dubs. They both traded big buckets as their teammates looked on in exhausted gratitude.
Finally, Durant silenced the Staples Center on Kobe Bryant night with a rather Kobe-esque dagger over Ball.
West’s block on Ball mercifully ended this ugly affair. Durant had 36 points, 11 rebounds, and 8 assists on 10-of-29 shooting. Thompson had 17 points on a hideous 6-of-24 from the field, but had a career high 10 rebounds.
Kyle Kuzma led the Lakers with 25 points off of the bench, while Ingram chipped in 19, and Ball finished with 16.
Escape from L.A.
Any time an NBA team is missing three starters and shoots 40% from the field, yet somehow wins? It’s a good night. Stealing games like this are great for the team’s morale and keeps the momentum going through an injury-filled December.
Next up are the reeling Memphis Grizzlies on Wednesday at home. I hope Kobe loved that retirement party gift from KD!
Vote for your Warrior Wonder against the Lakers
This poll is closed
Andre Iguodala (9 pts, 8 rbs, 4ast, 2stl)
Omri Casspi (14 pts, 10 rbs)
David West (6 pts, 4 rbs, 2 ast, 2 blocks)
Kevon Looney (8 pts, 7 rbs in 21 minutes)