The Los Angeles Lakers were looking to end their three-game losing streak, but they had a tall task ahead of them as they hosted the NBA’s best team, the Golden State Warriors.
The first two meetings between these teams were not close as the Warriors dominated on their way to scoring 127 and 136 points in the two wins. The Lakers would have to do so without Kobe Bryant who sat out the game to get some rest.
In Kobe’s place, Wayne Ellington got the start and would go head-to-head with the NBA’s best shooting backcourt of Klay Thompson and early-season MVP candidate Stephen Curry.
Slow start for the Lakers as Wayne Ellington struggled with a turnover and Wesley Johnson missed a jumper. A Klay Thompson three got the scoring started with a three, but Johnson responded with a three of his own to tie the score. Golden State had a quick 6-0 spurt, but baskets by Davis and Price closed the score to 9-7. The Lakers continued to play well, going on a 6-0 run of their own to take a 13-11 lead midway through the quarter. Stephen Curry got going with a patented stepback three-pointer but a Johnson jumper kept things going for the Lakers. Then bench came in for the Lakers and kept up the impressive start as Boozer and Sacre hit fadeaways and Nick Young knocked down a three to push the Lakers lead to five. The Lakers continued to play with energy, stopping a Warriors fast break and coming back with a Lin three to push the lead to 29-22. The Lakers added to the lead with a Boozer dunk, steal, and Nick Young basket and foul to end an impressive first quarter as the Lakers led 34-24.
Jordan Clarkson entered the game to start the second quarter, but the Lakers offense struggled to start. Their defense, however, played well as neither team could get a point three minutes into the period. Lin finally hit a three to give the Lakers a 13 point lead. A couple of trips to the free throw line cut the Lakers lead to nine as both offenses continued to play subpar. A Lin steal led to a breakaway dunk for Clarkson but Curry quickly answered with a layup. A dunk from Davis was followed by another Warriors turnover which led to a Young three as the Lakers pulled ahead by 14 midway through the quarter. Two beautiful assists from Lin to Davis kept the Lakers ahead by 16. Davis continued his strong half with a jump hook to keep the Lakers up 14, but a layup by Ezili cut the lead back down to 12. A Price spin and layup and a backdoor cut by Ellington put the Lakers back ahead by 16. Johnson got going to end the half with a three and an alley-oop from Young to give the Lakers their biggest lead of 17. A Thompson layup cut the Lakers lead to 63-48 at halftime.
The Lakers defense remained strong to start the second half as Davis got a steal and Hill and Johnson combined to block Ezili. The Lakers got off to a 6-0 run to start the quarter pushing their lead to 21. Back-to-back Curry jumpers cut the Laker lead to 17 but Price answered with a floater. Curry responded with another three as he began to get going. Another Curry jumper and the Lakers lead was suddenly down to 14. After a timeout, Davis improved his shooting to 7-7 on the night, but the Lakers left Barnes wide open for a three pointer to cut the lead to 13. A Thompson three cut the lead to 10, but Ellington answered with a three of his own and an assist to Boozer to keep Golden State at bay. Price hit back-to-back threes to keep the Lakers ahead by 16 as the third quarter began to wind down. Boozer followed with a layup to get the Lakers back up 18. Price hit his third straight three to put the Lakers back ahead by 21 much to the delight of Staples Center. Defense continued to shine down the stretch of the quarter but the Lakers could not take advantage and push the lead out farther. A Boozer offensive rebound capped a 10-1 Lakers run that gave the Lakers their biggest lead of the night at 22 points, but Lee answered with a dunk. Jeremy Lin hit a ridiculous fadeaway to end the quarter as the Lakers remained ahead 95-73.
Boozer got the scoring started with a layup and a free throw. A Sacre layup continued the good start for the Lakers, but David Lee hit a couple of baskets as the Warriors tried to cut the lead. Barbosa hit a three for the Warriors but a Clarkson floater kept the Lakers well ahead by 22. The teams traded baskets which the Lakers were fine with as they remained ahead by 22 after a Boozer jumper answered another Lee layup. Lin had a beautiful drive and dish to Boozer to put the Lakers ahead by 24 midway through the fourth as the Warriors kept their stars on the bench. A 7-0 spurt by the Warriors cut the lead to 17 as the Lakers seemed to let up briefly. A Holiday basket and free throw cut the Lakers lead to 14 with under four minutes remaining as the crowd began to get nervous. Another free throw followed by a Barbosa jumper cut the lead to 11 as the Warriors went on a 13-0 run. Sacre missed a hook, but took a charge on the other end as the Lakers got the ball back with under two minutes left. Defense and hustle carried the Lakers down the stretch even as their offense sputtered. A Holiday three cut the Lakers lead to single digits with under a minute remaining, but Lin hit a three to put LA back ahead 11 with 35 seconds remaining to effectively ice the game. A couple of Price free throws provided the final margin as the Lakers upset the Warriors 115-105.[divide]
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