The Los Angeles Lakers celebrated the life of Chick Hearn, who spent 42 seasons as the legendary Lakers broadcaster, Wednesday night. It would’ve made for a Hollywood ending had the Lakers held on in a 127-123 overtime loss to the Golden State Warriors.
The young Lakers are not making any excuses for themselves, but there was a silver lining to chalk this up as a moral victory.
Brandon Ingram had his coming out party as he scored a career-high 32 points on 12-of-21 shooting. He was all over the floor from the opening tip, adding five rebounds, three assists, three steals and two blocks. Ingram was not intimated going against Kevin Durant, the player he’s most often compared to.
The Lakers were without leading-scorer Kyle Kuzma, who was a late scratch with back spasms. He tweaked his back at the conclusion of a pregame routine.
This opened up more minutes for Julius Randle, who turned 23rd Wednesday. He had an outstanding 20 points on 9-of-13 shooting. Jordan Clarkson provided a bench spark as well with 21 points, six boards, and eight dimes. Both players injected a much-needed energy for the Lakers, and the small ball lineup of Lonzo-Clarkson-Caldwell-Pope-Ingram-Randle was effective against the Warriors.
The Lakers started the game flat with the exception of Ingram. Brandon scored the Lakers first nine points and was the only Laker to score within the first six minutes. The Warriors jumped out on the Lakers early, taking a 30-20 lead after the first quarter.
LA stepped it up defensively in the second quarter, as they did a great job at closing out and contesting the Warriors perimeter shooters. The stifling defense continued until halftime, and the Lakers finally took the lead behind a KCP three-pointer with a minute left into halftime. They closed the first half on an 18-4 run to take a 54-50 lead into the locker room.
Big Baller star Lonzo Ball didn’t disappoint, draining back-to-back 3’s in the third quarter to fire up the building. Ball scored 11 points in the third period and finished the game with 15 points and 10 dimes.
Ingram was aggressive in the third, trading baskets with Durant. The two teams would trade baskets throughout the period, with the scored tied at 84 after three.
The Lakers found themselves in trouble when they allowed the Warriors to get into the bonus early with 5:41 remaining in the fourth. A Klay Thompson three-pointer in transition forced coach Luke Walton to take a timeout with Lakers down 100-95.
A couple of defensive stops led to the Lakers comeback, with Caldwell-Pope converting on a three-point play with 56 seconds to take a three-point lead. Kevin Durant would tie it up with an ice-cold jumper the following possession. The Lakers had a chance to win it in regulation with five seconds left, but Ingram missed a game-winning layup to send the game to overtime.
A key moment with 14 seconds remaining was when Stephen Curry — a 94 percent free-throw shooter on the season - missed the second free-throw to put the Warriors up by three. The Warriors eventually got the loose ball thanks to Draymond Green and they would be fouled again. Game over.
It was a tough loss for the Lakers, who had a real possibility to win this game. The Warriors stepped up their game and executed down the stretch, where the Lakers offense got a bit stagnant late in the fourth quarter and overtime.
The schedule doesn’t get any more kind for the Lakers, where they will face a motivated Denver Nugget team on Saturday on the road before returning home to match up against the Houston Rockets on Sunday.