Lakers no Gladiators, Fall to Warriors 112-95

Richard Mackson-USA TODAY Sports

It was an historical night all around, with Stephen Curry dropping his 4th triple-double of the season in a playoff spot-clinching win for the Warriors, and the Lakers taking a step closer to Boston in the Lottery Standings.

Well, this was about the type of result most expected. This night served as yet another example that this year, unless the Lakers are riding some hot shooting, they cannot hope to remain competitive for the entirety of a game, even against a Warriors squad on the second night of a back-toback. Despite a baffling loss to the Denver Nuggets last night on national TV, and amidst the recent drama of assistant coach demotions/firings, this Golden State Warriors squad thoroughly outclassed the talent that the Lakers brought to the table.

Los Angeles did manage to stay competitive with the Warriors for the first 12 minutes, riding 6-8 three point shooting to a 26-26 tie at the end of the first period. Ryan Kelly came out aggressive, having the offense partially run through him for 8 points on 3-5 shooting. The negative of this usage for the rookie was that he produced three turnovers in the period as well. A close game was not to be however, as was made clear by the Dubs from the onset of the second quarter.

Instead of their normal routine of crapping the bed in the third, the Lakers decided to change it up and got it over with early in the second, getting outscored 32-17 in the period. Aside from this, the Lakers were actually competitive for the majority of the game. Taking out the second quarter they were only outscored by two points, further emphasizing the futility of the period. One factor for this was the immobility of the 3 big lineup of Ryan Kelly, Robert Sacre, and Jordan Hill leading to even more than usual lead-footed transition defense (17-0 fastbreak points for Golden State in the 1st half) while still getting out-rebounded 30-18 after the first two quarters. The other main factor was the play of one Stephen Curry.

Curry literally messed around and got his 4th triple-double of the year (joining Wilt Chamberlain as the only two Warriors to ever reach that milestone), toying with the Lakers' defense with his sweet stroke, masterful dribbling, and beautiful passing en route to 30 points, 10 rebounds, and 12 assists with no turnovers. He actually had his 10th assist with 2:29 left in the third, and in the first half when he did most of his damage, he seemed to take particular glee in the Lakers baffling defensive strategy of allowing Ryan Kelly to guard Steph straight up on P&R switches. In the first half alone, Curry exploited the Lakers lackadaisical defense for 22 points, 7 assists, and 7 rebounds; all with 0 turnovers. After being reinserted late in the fourth quarter, he got his 10th rebound with about 30 seconds to play, locking up the milestone on a highlight reel type night for the baby-faced assassin. Other than Curry, no other Warrior particularly distinguished themselves or had a particularly bad game, with Marreese Speights a potential exception, scoring 16 points on 7-11 shooting.

For the Lakers, there were not a whole lot of positives to take away from this game. Jordan Hill and Nick Young came out gunning, with Jordan especially taking a bevy of bad long twos en route to 18 points on 18 shots. Swaggy was not any better, taking 20 shots to score 25 for the game. Jodie Meeks was especially bad for The Show, shooting 2-12 on the night, at one point missing two consecutive layups. Ryan Kelly, after the aforementioned three turnovers in the first quarter, managed to only cough up the rock one more time the rest of the way, and finished with 14 points on 5-11 shooting with 11 boards. The rookie followed up his rousing rookie hazing singing performance by believing he could fly to the rim, showing a couple of nice pump and drive sequences throughout the game.

Again, this was not even close to an unexpected result for this game. Lakers fans can only do two things at this point: look for silver linings in losses, be they added ping pong balls or flashes of potential from young pieces; and count down the three remaining games in the season.

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