The Los Angeles Lakers built a strong campaign that they could not keep up for the entire 48 minutes in their 113-115 loss to the Golden State Warriors.
Lakers forward Anthony Davis noted that the rotations of the reigning NBA champions were not good and the team squandered lucrative opportunities on offense.
“We couldn’t hit a three on a wing, I think in the corner,” he said. “I had a shot at the top of the key, mid-ranged that I missed.”
Lakers guard Dennis Schröder led with 25 points with five players scoring in the double digits and Davis made 17 rebounds. Warriors guard Steph Curry scored 26 points and forward Draymond Green made eight rebounds.
Golden State collected early fouls that put Lakers players on the free-throw line. The Golden State frontcourt kept them in the game. Schröder initiated an eight-point run while the Warriors’ offense paused for over two minutes. The Lakers held Curry to five points in the first quarter.
The Warriors relied heavily on scoring in the paint, they were led by forwards Kelly Oubre Jr. and Eric Paschall. Oubre Jr. earned a technical foul, the second of the night for Golden State. The Lakers forced turnovers and scored from the Warriors’ fouls.
Center Montrezl Harrell and Davis battled for rebounds and blocks. The Lakers bench had 21 points by halftime with Harrell contributing 12 points. The Lakers were up 64-48 at the half. Oubre Jr. scored eight of his 23 points during the second quarter.
“[Oubre Jr.] played arguably his best game on both ends of the floor,” Curry said. “He always brings energy and that was a big thing for us tonight.”
Center James Wiseman picked up his fourth foul early in the third phase. As the Lakers scoring rhythm slowed, forward Andrew Wiggins went on an eight-point run, putting the Warriors within nine points of the Lakers. Oubre Jr. did whatever he could to keep the Warriors competitive.
“During that second half, he was amazing defensively. The entire game he was great offensively,” Green said about Oubre Jr.. “He’s really finding his confidence, he’s finding his way on this team, he’s knocking shots down now.”
When the Warriors closed their deficit to two points, Kuzma scored two three-pointers to help the Lakers go on a nine-point run.
The Purple and Gold lost their shot midway through the fourth quarter. Curry hit two free throws to put the Warriors within two points of the Lakers with 3:13 left in regulation. After a cutting layup by Oubre Jr. and two shots from Green, the Warriors made their first lead of the game.
“I think [the Warriors’] pressure was decent,” said Lakers head coach Frank Vogel. “I thought most offensive possessions, we were organized, but we were either hesitant or overpassed.”
Free throws kept the Lakers close, but Curry hit a three-pointer to put the Warriors up by five points. As the clock dwindled down, LeBron had the ball in his hands. He missed a three pointer at the final buzzer.
“Obviously, you’re frustrated anytime you lose, especially when you know you could have played better,” James said. “You learn from all of that and then apply it to the next game.”
The Lakers will now depart on a seven-game road trip. Their first opponent will be the Milwaukee Bucks on January 21 at 4:30P.M. PST.