Coming into Saturday night’s contest, the Los Angeles Lakers hadn’t beaten an NBA team during the preseason, but that came to an end when they notched an 85-70 victory over the defending champions Golden State Warriors, in a game that was cancelled late in the third quarter due to hazardous court conditions.
The game took place in San Diego, and there was apparently a hockey rink underneath the hardwood floor which caused wet spots. The wet spots became dangerous as the game proceeded. Many players were sliding, and the referees decided to ultimately call off the contest after Warriors guard Leandro Barbosa nearly injured himself on a slippery spot.
The Warriors came into Saturday’s outing without Klay Thompson, Harrison Barnes, Andrew Bogut, and Shaun Livingston, while the Lakers were without Kobe Bryant and Lou Williams.
Surely, the league’s MVP Stephen Curry had to carry the load for his team, and he did just that in the first quarter. Curry finished with a game-high 19 points and drilled five threes on the evening. Festus Ezeli was the only other Warrior to score double figures with 10 points and nine boards.
Despite Curry’s three-point barrage, the Lakers maintained composure and remained close throughout the first half thanks to Julius Randle’s continued growth. The 20-year old scored 14 points all in the first stanza, shooting 4 of 8 from the field and 6 of 7 from the charity stripe.
Randle’s confidence has reached an all-time high, as he is aggressively attacking the rim and drawing fouls. He even accepted the challenge from runner-up for Defensive Player of the Year award, Draymond Green, and drew a handful of fouls on the defensive ace.
Jordan Clarkson also demonstrated why he was on the All-Rookie First Team last season by pouring in a team-high 17 points on 7 of 9 shooting, including a monstrous one-handed putback dunk.
With Bryant and Williams out, it allowed Byron Scott to experiment more lineups. Coach Scott basically used a different lineup for each quarter. In the first quarter, he started Clarkson, D'Angelo Russell, Anthony Brown, Randle, and Roy Hibbert and played them the entire period. But in the second frame, he played Robert Sacre, Ryan Kelly, Nick Young, Jabari Brown, and Marcelo Huertas for the entire 12 minutes.
Huertas, who was nursing a hamstring injury, made his debut and immediately impressed the coaching staff. The Brazilian tallied six assists to go along with four points on 2 for 2 shooting. He was distributing with efficiency, as he only turned the ball over once.
The 32-year old played like a traditional point guard, looking to always pass first to get his teammates involved. If he is able to make the roster, he could become a savvy reserve guard for Coach Scott’s team.
In the third stanza, the Lakers came out with a lineup of Clarkson, Michael Frazier, Metta World Peace, Larry Nance Jr., and Robert Upshaw.
Nance Jr. was another young fella who was shimmering tonight. Not only did he showcase his shooting touch, but he validated his leaping abilities by serving up a facial with a one-handed thunderous dunk over Festus Ezeli.
Upshaw only scored two points in this game, but he made a remarkable move as well by faking his defender and taking it to the basket for a one-handed stuff. He also included a sweet block on James Michael McAdoo to conclude his night.
The Lakers as a team looked spry on the court, shooting 46 percent from the field and earning 28 free throws on the evening. The Warriors, on the other hand, couldn’t find enough offense outside of Curry. They shot just 38.7 percent from the floor and 68.4 percent from the free-throw line.
The Lakers were also extremely clean with the basketball, committing just five turnovers and did not give up any points off those miscues, while the Warriors had 12 giveaways, leading to 20 points.
The Lakers earned just their second win of the preseason and their first over an NBA team, with their first victory coming against Maccabi Haifa. They now have two more exhibition games remaining with their next one coming up on Monday, October 19, against the Portland Trail Blazers.
The Warriors have two more preseason games remaining as well, as they will play host to the Los Angeles Clippers on Tuesday, October 20. The game will be televised on ESPN.