The Golden State Warriors avoided losing their third game in a row, and defeated the Los Angeles Lakers 117-106 in a fun Wednesday night skirmish. They were able to survive without the historically elite tag team of Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson, as well as their defensive heartbeat Draymond Green, on an evening where all three legends were sidelined with injuries. In their stead, the champs delivered a balanced scoring attack as all five starters scored in double figures.
OH, how could I forget? It was also Curry’s birthday! It didn’t matter that he wasn’t playing due to his troublesome ankle; this team wasn’t going to let him down after that super-lit party they had with him.
Former Warriors assistant coach Luke Walton is now coaching the Lakers, and it was nice to see him back in the house for Curry’s 30th. Also, his team was trying to beat us down, something that quickly became evident as the teams battled inch-for-inch.
Isaiah Thomas, Brook Lopez and the rejuvenated Julius Randle combined for 43 of the Lakers 55 first half points. They answered quickly to every Warriors bucket, and the crowd was hot for it, reminiscent of the Kobe Bryant-Baron Davis era clashes of another time.
Despite all the absentees, fun half in high-energy Oracle: 55-55 tie. Warriors get 16 from KD on 7/10, 11 from Livingston off the bench. Defense was good early, exploited late.— Anthony Slater (@anthonyVslater) March 15, 2018
I was particularly intrigued by Zaza Pachulia’s second straight game with early activity. Pachulia finished the half with 8 points, 6 rebounds and 4 assists, and each play he made drew surprised encouragement from the Oakland crowd.
The Lakers were held to 45% shooting from the field (an abysmal 26% from three-point range), but got to the line 16 times for 10 made free throws.
The Dubs launched into the third quarter with their usual explosive offense and romping defense. But it wasn’t led by Curry, Thompson, or Durant for once. Durant struggled, going 1-for-6 for the period, but the rest of the Warriors had his back connected on 11-of-14 shots in that span. Nick Young swagged his way straight off of the bench and into a big-time quarter, scoring 10 points by himself.
And then this happened:
WELCOME BACK JORDAN BELL! pic.twitter.com/BJY7eYmklM— Golden State Warriors (@warriors) March 15, 2018
The Lakers were were overwhelmed in the third, 34-27. #StrengthInNumbers
The final period was put away with relative ease. The Warriors seemed to have an extra springiness to them late in the game, and they kept their pedal to the metal and ran the Lakers out of the gym.
Kevin Durant led all scorers with 26 points, and added a tidy 5 rebounds and 6 assists.Omri Casspi and Shaun Livingston were a combined 13-of-16 from the field, and were steadying contributors.
The Warriors play the Sacramento Kings Friday in Oracle Arena. The Dubs have a great opportunity to heal their big guns, while giving role players an opportunity to get some action in the little time left before the playoffs begin. I’m sure they’ll use it wisely.
Also, an additional big happy birthday shout-out to Warriors super-fan and the coolest lady I know, my mom! What are the odds my favorite player and my dear Ma have the same birthday, eh?
Who was the Warrior Wonder in the victory against the Lakers?
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