It seemed early on that this might be more of a sure thing, with Golden State having a lead as high as 23 points midway through the third quarter. Then Kyle Kuzma decided to become nearly a one-man offense and put it all in jeopardy.
The game started off pretty close, with the Warriors starting to pull ahead towards the half, despite a stone-cold Klay Thompson (and a fiery-hot Lonzo Ball).
Jordan Bell decided to get in on Rookie’s Night as well, shining early on as he out-foxed former Warrior Andrew Bogut, who got the start for Los Angeles. Bell went on to put on an outstanding display of young, raw talent; un-called travels and all. With his quick hands, transition speed, and a general lack of concern about the safety of his own body, Bell would ultimately put up 20 points, 10 rebounds, 3 assists, 1 steal and 1 block. It was the rebounds that made the difference, with six of them being offensive and allowing him second-chance opportunities, which he took advantage of as he closed out the half on a scoring-spree that sent the Warriors to the locker room up 61-44.
It was much of the same in the third quarter, as Bell traded shots with Kevin Durant, who had a game-high 33 points, with 7 rebounds, 7 assists, 2 steals and 4 crucial blocks, which we’ll get to in a moment. The Warriors ended the third up by 12, and then the madness started.
So the fourth quarter started and it was all my fault for trying to get a jump on starting to write this recap, which then had to be completely deleted. Led by Kuzma, the Lakers went on a 14-4 run to start the quarter. Kuzma had the hot hand and he was everywhere on his way to 27 points, 14 rebounds, and 4 assists.
The Lakers were breathing down the collective necks of the Warriors as they tried to hold on to their lead and squeak out of this one with a win. A pair of perfectly executed assists from the newly returned Draymond Green helped with that, as did the near constant fouls by the Lakers in the closing minute, but most important was the defense of Kevin Durant. In a span of 12 seconds in the final minute, Durant had back-to-back clutch blocks as well as four free-throw points and that was all she wrote
Houston’s loss to the Los Angeles Clippers had the Rockets tied with the Warriors for the top of the heap in the West. However, with this win, the Warriors stand alone not only in the West, but in the NBA, with the best record. As it should be.
Who was your Warrior Wonder against the Nuggets?
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Javale McGee’s jumpers in garbage time