Sometimes the best-laid plans go to waste. Realistically speaking, the Warriors did a lot of things they wanted to do in Game 4 against the Lakers, limiting both Anthony Davis and LeBron James while finding success of their own offensively.
But no one accounted for Lonnie Walker IV, and that proved to be the difference.
As he’s done throughout the series, Draymond Green gave his thoughts on the Warriors’ Game 4 loss on his podcast and was sure to give credit to Walker.
“You tip your hat to Lonnie Walker. That’s a guy that’s been in and out of the lineup...and he stayed ready. You tip your hat to true professionals who stay ready when their number’s called. And he did that on the biggest stage. On the biggest stage, he came through. When we were right there at tying the series up 2-2, he came through and beat us. You have to give him some credit.”
You can’t really fault Golden State for not having much of a plan for Walker, which was evident in the fourth. The Warriors routinely put Steph Curry on Walker, arguably their weakest defender. The Lakers took advantage of that and found success repeatedly.
It came on a night when neither LeBron nor AD was great, at least by their high standards, offensively. Davis was efficient but faded into the background with the Lakers targeting Steph in the fourth while LeBron was absolutely not, finishing 10-25 from the field.
Green also shared his thoughts on how the team handled Davis and LeBron.
“I thought we did an incredible job of wearing both AD and LeBron down. They played a ton of minutes, very high usage. I thought we did a great job of wearing them down. In turn, they went to Lonnie Walker in the fourth quarter. Most cases, that’s a win and it’s still a win, by the way. If you can stop LeBron from getting what shots he wants, stop AD from getting what shots he wants, Lonnie Walker beats you, you kind of have to live with it. Lonnie Walker had a huge fourth quarter, 15 points in the fourth quarter which is all the points he scored in the game. And you have to tip your hat to him. That’s a brother that’s stayed ready regardless of what’s happened on their roster.”
This is part of what makes this Lakers team so great in that they have depth and players that can step in and change a game like this. Rui Hachimura has done it. Austin Reaves has done it. D’Angelo Russell has done it. Now Lonnie Walker IV has done it.
Having previously discussed Russell and the need for the Warriors to limit him offensively, Green noted the change of moving Gary Payton II into the starting lineup helped that, but Reaves’ bounceback game still hurt them.
“I thought Austin Reaves got a bunch of dribble penetration on us. We had pretty much kept him in the bag the entire series. He got off, had a good game last night...We inserted (Gary Payton II) into the lineup. I think GP did a great job on both sides of the ball. GP did a good job finishing, he did a good job playmaking and he did a great job of taking D’Angelo back out of the series. Continuing to keep D’Angelo out of the series will be very important going into tomorrow’s game and for the rest of the series as we expect it to go seven (games).”
If you’re getting the sense that the Lakers are creating too many holes for the Warriors to plug, then you’re not alone. The number of weapons the Lakers have has created issues for teams all season, as they can look at a problem and solve it by inserting a different role player into the lineup.
It’s a luxury not all teams have and is what makes this Lakers team so dangerous. The Warriors learned that again on Monday and now sit on the brink of having their season come to an end because of it.
You can follow Jacob on Twitter at @JacobRude.