LeBron James and Anthony Davis looked very much like the dominant duo that led the Los Angeles Lakers to the 2020 NBA Championship in the season opener against the Golden State Warriors on Tuesday night. But nearly everyone else struggled to match that level and it cost the Lakers in the end.
Both James and Davis posted 30 point double-doubles, but Russell Westbrook struggled mightily in his purple-and-gold debut and the Lakers dropped the season opener to the Warriors, 121-114.
LeBron led the Lakers with 34 points, 11 rebounds, and five assists while Davis finished with 33 points, 11 rebounds and two blocks, but no other Laker reached double-figures on the night.
Despite that, there were a couple of players who stepped up in a big way. Chief among them was Kent Bazemore, who got the start at shooting guard and was tasked with shadowing his former teammate Stephen Curry.
Bazemore was outstanding defensively, smothering Curry all night and helping to limit the former two-time MVP to just 21 points on 5-of-21 from the field and 2-of-8 from 3-point range while adding a pair of threes himself and finishing with eight points on the night.
Additionally, Avery Bradley got the call from Frank Vogel late in the game with things seemingly slipping away and nearly helped spark a comeback with a pair of 3-pointers, finishing with six points in eight minutes. The Lakers got little else from the rest of the team, however, and that would ultimately be the difference.
Westbrook provided plenty of fuel for the doubters as he finished with just eight points, five rebounds, four assists and four turnovers in his Lakers debut. The new Lakers point guard was just 4-of-13 from the field and finished a game-worst minus-23.
Carmelo Anthony scored nine points on 3-of-9 shooting in his first game with the franchise, while DeAndre Jordan caught a lob from James on the first play of the game but failed to score again.
The Lakers actually outshot the Warriors from the field in addition to hitting 15 3-pointers to Golden State’s 14. In fact, the Lakers led for the majority of the first three quarters and held double-digit leads at numerous points throughout the contest. But the resilient Warriors battled back every time the Lakers threatened to pull away.
The Lakers’ free throw issues from previous years continued on in their first contest this season as they shot just 9-19 as a team including a dismal 2-9 effort from Davis. Additionally, the Lakers were outrebounded 50-45 despite playing big lineups for much of the night.
Next up for the Lakers
The Lakers will look to pick up their first win of the season when they host the Phoenix Suns on Friday night, after which they cap their three-game homestand to start the year by hosting the Memphis Grizzlies on Sunday evening.
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