After the defending champions Golden State Warriors took a loss at the hands of the Los Angeles Lakers last week, they came into the pre-season finale with the mindset to play much better to prepare for the regular season which tips off in five days.
This time around, the Warriors demolished the Lakers by 39 points behind hot three-point shooting and superb defense. The Warriors had been sluggish throughout the preseason until tonight’s showing.
Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson, also known as The Splash Brothers, ignited their team’s offense with multiple three-point shots in the first quarter, and they never looked back.
The reigning MVP Curry finished his night with 24 points, 10 assists, and four steals on 9 of 14 shooting from the field and 4 of 8 from downtown. Thompson put in 24 points as well on 9 of 12 from the field and 4 of 6 from beyond the arc.
Harrison Barnes had an incredible game, too, recording 23 points on 9 of 12 shooting, including 5 of 6 from three-point territory, joining Thompson and Curry’s splash party. In fact, the Warriors as a team shot 16 of 31 from three-point distance, good for 51.6 percent.
The Lakers defense, which has been miserable over the last couple years, was unable to contain the hot shooting of the Warriors, allowing the champs to shoot nearly 60 percent for most of the game.
While the Warriors were prepping for the regular season, Byron Scott was still trying to figure a few things out as far as rotations go. In the first half, he used two different units only. He utilized just 10 players in the first 24, his starting unit which consisted of D’Angelo Russell, Jordan Clarkson, Anthony Brown, Julius Randle, and Roy Hibbert, and his bench unit which consisted of Marcelo Huertas, Lou Williams, Nick Young, Ryan Kelly, and Brandon Bass.
Both units competed well in the first quarter but fell apart after the first 12. The second unit mentioned above did not have any size to rebound and no rim protectors, allowing the Warriors to get easy shots around the basket.
Huertas, who has been a standout the last two games for the Lakers, started well but ended poorly in this one, finishing with six points, four assists, three steals, but seven turnovers. Randle also started off with a couple of nice plays but finished with just nine points, six rebounds, and six turnovers.
The Lakers as a team committed 23 turnovers which led to 27 points on the other end for the Warriors. Golden State wasn’t clean with the ball either, coughing it up 19 times.
Williams, who did not play in the last two games due to a minor groin injury, picked up where he left off, finishing with 19 points, leading all scorers for Los Angeles again.
The shooting woes continued for rookie Russell, as he shot 4 of 12 tonight for 11 points to go along with four assists. The other rookie, Anthony Brown, had his best game of the preseason, notching 14 points on a perfect 3 for 3 from deep.
The Lakers hope Brown could eventually become the 3-and-D guy they are looking for, and in this game, he did not disappoint.
Unfortunately for the Lakers, Jordan Clarkson had to leave the game early with a shoulder sprain, which will require an MRI tomorrow.
After the game, Coach Scott told reporters that Clarkson is in danger of missing the team’s season opener next Wednesday due to the shoulder injury, but the second year man is hopeful that he will be ready to go.
Both teams concluded their preseason tonight, as the Warriors finish with a 3-4 record and the Lakers with a 3-5 record.
The defending champions will start the regular season on Tuesday night against the New Orleans Pelicans, which will be the night they raise their championship banner. The Lakers, meanwhile, begin their regular season against the Minnesota Timberwolves on Wednesday night.