It only took 24 hours for the Los Angeles Lakers season to go from a dream to a nightmare. After a big opening night win, the Lakers headed north for the second night of a back-to-back against the other member of the Pacific division with championship aspirations and things ... did not go quite so well. Instead of being the team with the abundant energy, the Lakers were flat throughout. Instead of being the team draining their outside shots, the Lakers were ice cold from the floor. If the ball truly does find energy, as Mike D'Antoni likes to say, there can be no surprise that the ball didn't find many Lakers tonight. The result was fairly well determined by half time and absolutely certain by the end of the 3rd quarter. The final score was a brutal 31 point beatdown, 125-94, and yet that was perfectly reflective of the gap between the two teams on the night.
If we're honest, nothing about this game was particularly surprising. The Golden State Warriors are a very good team, playing at home for their first game of the season in front of a raucous home crowd. The Lakers were on the second night of a back-to-back, after what had to be a fairly emotional home win the night before. In a game in which the Lakers needed no excuses to lose, they had quite a few to spare. Throw it all together, and all that was needed to turn tonight's contest into a recipe for a flaming inferno was a spark.
Enter Klay Thompson. Thompson was absolute unstoppable from the opening tip straight on through his final cameo in the fourth quarter. He ended the night with a career high 38 points, on 15-19 shooting! Behind Klay's insane shooting and an impressive and stifling trap defensive scheme, the Warriors forced turnover after missed shot after turnover, and held the Lakers to 40 points in the first half. Throw in a 37 point outburst in the 3rd quarter, and you've got yourself a good old-fashioned shelacking.
Tonight also served as a reality check for all the Lakers who played so well the night before. Xavier Henry's aggression led to 14 points on 9 shots, but also to three charges called on wayward drives. Jordan Farmar couldn't get the shots to fall, and Jordan Hill couldn't get the ball enough to even attempt to score. Jodie Meeks was the only guy who played well, unless you count Wesley Johnson's late surge from behind the arc.
In the end, this was a classic case of "One team plays well, the other doesn't" - the type of thing that will happen from time to time. When a good team has a bad game and a bad team has a good game, that's a recipe for an upset. When it is the bad team that plays poorly (by their own standards) and the good team plays well, that's a recipe for a blow out. I don't need to tell you which one was on the menu tonight.