Golden State Warriors guard Steph Curry hit a buzzer beating three-pointer to give them a 55-42 lead at halftime. Forward Draymond Green defended Lakers forward Anthony Davis intensely, guard Dennis Schroder only scored two points.
In the locker room, forwards Markieff Morris and Jared Dudley demanded the team to play better.
“They got on us and told us that we got to pick this up,” said Lakers star LeBron James. “They brought the fight to our building and we got to bring it right back.”
The Lakers brought a new defensive energy in the second half, making seven steals and gaining a 12-point benefit from their eight turnovers in the third quarter. Defense secured the 103-100 win for the Lakers as the Warriors attempted to send an inbound pass to Curry and guard Kentavious Caldwell-Pope made a steal.
“We just smothered him, try to make someone else beat us,” Davis said. “That’s the type of defense we had to do, especially in the second half.”
To match the Warriors’ small-ball energy, they Lakers had Davis play center. Lakers head coach Frank Vogel knew that he would have to make adjustments in-game.
“The rotational tweak was a play-in game, unprecedented type of situation for us,” he said. “In a play off series, you have to make your adjustments in between games.”
While the Lakers struggled in the first half, guard Alex Caruso was able to score for the Lakers.
“He was awesome all night long,” Vogel said about Caruso. “When we were struggling offensively , he was five-for-five in the first half.”
Caruso’s offensive success came from the Warriors’ concern over Davis.
“I got a couple of layups in transition, an open three on a kick-off that I knew I was gonna have,” Caruso said. “Just doing what I do, being opportunistic.”
Forward Wesley Matthews hit a key three-pointer and took a charge. Always prepared to contribute, Matthews earned a 17 in efficiency rating.
“The individual satisfaction I get is that fact that my performance helped the team win,” Matthews said. “If I did all that and we didn’t win, then it’s all for nothing.”
The Lakers are set to start their series against the Phoenix Suns on Sunday.