It was ring night for the Golden State Warriors, their fourth championship in seven years, and a night where they raised their 2021/22 championship banner in the Chase Center. The Lakers said they were looking to spoil ring night for the defending champs, and…well…that didn’t happen.
The Lakers, led by the preeminent LeBron James, were dominated by a team who appeared to have a fifth championship on its mind from the opening whistle. The Laker’s big three, James (31 points, 14 rebounds, eight assists), Anthony Davis (27 points, six rebounds, 0 assists), and Russell Westbrook (19 points,11 rebounds, three assists), played well, but it wasn’t enough.
The stats tell the story: the Lakers were outscored in the third quarter by 13 points. The Warriors held the Lakers to 43 percent from the field, and they struggled to shoot the three ball with a mere 25 percent from three-point range. The Warrior’s bench outscored the Laker’s bench 41-24, and in the third quarter alone, the Lakers had seven turnovers.
.”I mean, to be completely honest, we’re not a team constructed of great shooting. And that’s just the truth of the matter,” James said. James missed seven of 10 three-pointers. “But we’re not sitting here with a bunch of 40-plus career three-point shooting guys.” James is now 1,295 points behind Kareem Abdul-Jabbar’s scoring record set in 1987.
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The Warriors made up for their lackluster first quarter with a third-quarter explosion. Stephen Curry finished with 33 points, seven assists, and six rebounds. Klay Thompson playing with limited minutes, scored 18 points in 20 minutes. Head coach Steve Kerr said Thompson’s minutes would increase with each game, but for now, they are proceeding with caution.
And yes, Jordon Poole (12 points, two rebounds, seven assists) and Draymond Green (four points, five rebounds, five assists) played as if the punch a couple of weeks earlier never happened. Poole found Green for an easy bounce pass and layup. Andrew Wiggins had 20 points and six rebounds, and returning Warrior James Wiseman finished the night with eight-point, seven rebounds, and a blocked shot.
The bright spots of the night (besides the Warriors receiving a 16-carat ring) featured Curry recognizing the birthday of WNBA star Brittney Griner who turned 32 yesterday as she remains imprisoned in Russia, and former Warrior Juan Toscano-Anderson, who now plays for the Lakers, receiving his ring first. With the season underway, the Lakers take on Kawhi Leonard, Paul George, and the Los Angeles Clippers on Thursday at the Crypto.com Arena for their home opener.