The Los Angeles Lakers were beaten by the Golden State Warriors Monday night, final score 109-103. Yes, it wound up as a six point deficit, but in no shape was this game ever truly "close". The Warriors were in full control of the game as they shot heat seeking missiles at the rim through the first three quarters, only finally running out of ammo in the fourth quarter. Still, it was enough to put the Lakers away.
The Lakers came out flat. Kobe Bryant was asserting his will early and missing nearly every field goal. Worse, it wasn't just Kobe missing throughout the night, but the entire team couldn't score. All those missed field goals? Opportunities for the Warriors to push the ball up the court and take advantage of the Lakers' atrocious transition defense.
At half the Warriors already had 63 points while shooting over 50 percent. Golden State wasted no time jumping out on the Lakers and took ownership of the game early on.
Outside of the scope of this singular game, the Lakers are entering a dangerous zone. The cushion they had built while the Utah Jazz hit a post All-Star break skid has evaporated, now a mere one game differential. The Dallas Mavericks are still in the hunt and have a game at Staples Center on April 2. The playoffs are still far from a lock, and the Lakers look far from the team that had built up such great momentum in the final stretch of the season.
Even if the Lakers make the playoffs, though, what does this team have in the tank anyway? This three-game stretch of losses has exposed the already obvious flawed product the Lakers have been putting on the floor season-long. A road loss to the Phoenix Suns, a home loss to the Washington Wizards, and a road obliteration to the Warriors are a clear reminder that this Lakers team spent much of the season under .500.
Injuries, bad luck, chemistry, other teams going bonkers, yada yada yada. Fact is, the Lakers have been losing all season and are doing the same in late-March. Credit to teams taking care of business against the Lakers -- this isn't all about the Lakers losing as there is definitely a team winning on the other end that deserves a nod -- as well.
So the Warriors shot the lights out. The number one three-point shooting team played above even their season average from beyond the arc, finishing the night at 43.5 percent from deep. Steph Curry was slicing and dicing on his recently tweaked ankle as he scored 25. Klay Thompson was looking for a career-night handout similar to what the Lakers coughed up to Trevor Ariza, making six of his 11 three point attempts as he scored 22 points.
Andrew Bogut played a great defensive game against Dwight Howard, keeping him away from the rim and forcing Dwight to
do the robot try to use his footwork to get a clean look. Dwight ended the night with 11 points and 15 rebounds.
The Lakers were slaughtered like lambs in the first half. In the second half, they fought, and deserve a nod for doing so. The Warriors just kept shutting the door though, which is what good teams will do. Which is what any team the Lakers face in the playoffs should they remain in the brackets will do to them. Los Angeles brought the game to single-digits late in the fourth as the Warriors ran out of pixie dust to sprinkle on their jump shots, but much like it has been all season, the Lakers simply didn't have enough to finish it out. Once again recycling a familiar script.
The bench, which had been effective for the Lakers during their recent spurt, combined for only 21 points, though Jodie Meeks was a starter through the second half as Metta World Peace suffered a strain in his knee and did not play after halftime. Antawn Jamison played on his injured wrist but went only one-for-five on the night, missing the single three-point field goal attempt he took.
Kobe scored 36 points, going 11-for-27 on the night and making only two of his ten three-point field goal attempts. Steve Nash went 9-for-19 on his way to 19 points and also had 7 assists.
The Lakers are off until Wednesday when they travel to Minnesota to play the Minnesota Timberwolves.
- Follow this author on Twitter @DrewGarrisonSBN
- Golden State of Mind -- still draining threes.
More on the Lakers:
- When will Kobe Bryant be blamed for the Lakers' complacency?
- Earl Clark - Odd Man Out
- Breaking down Kobe and the Lakers' awful defense against Washington
- Metta World Peace injury: Strained knee, status uncertain Wednesday - Silver Screen and Roll
- As they finish the season, the Lakers need to guard against complacency