Warriors Outlast Lakers in their First Overtime Game of the Season, Win 127-123
On Wednesday, November 29, the Golden State Warriors (15-6) began their 11-day road trip in Los Angeles against the Lakers (8-12). Both Kevin Durant and Stephen Curry would return to the lineup after their brief absence, and were looking to make a big impact against the Lakers. Nick Young would be facing the Lakers for the first time since he left to join the Warriors, and was very excited to do so. The Warriors were looking to bounce back after a disappointing loss to the Kings, and start their road trip off right. The Warriors would go on to win the game in overtime, 127-123.
The first quarter saw the Warriors build a nice lead over the Lakers. The way they were able to build that lead was surprising though, as they did so primarily by scoring in the paint. Zaza Pachulia was able to roll and get open layups whenever he wanted, and finished the quarter with six points as the Warriors’ leading scorer. The Warriors were pretty sloppy with their passes, as they committed seven turnovers in the opening quarter, but they balanced it out with solid defense. The Warriors shot 61.9% in the first quarter, while the Lakers shot just 40.9%. Heading into the second quarter, the Warriors led 30-20.
In the second quarter, the Lakers finished on an 18-4 run to take a lead heading into the second half. Both of the teams’ shooting percentages basically flip-flopped. The Warriors’ shooting percentage dropped from 61.9% to 45.8%, while the Lakers went from 40.9% to 53.8%. A big reason for the shooting woes of the Warriors was because of the Splash Brothers. Klay Thompson went 1-5 in the half with just five points, and Steph went 3-10 with six points (Steph’s poor performance was due to having his shooting hand wrapped up). While the Splash Brothers struggled, the Lakers benefitted from a strong performance from Brandon Ingram, who had 14 points on 6-8 shooting in the first half. The Warriors also continued to turn the ball over at an alarming rate, and had 14 turnovers at halftime. Only two Warriors had their +/- above 0, and the two were Zaza and Jordan Bell, who combined to play just 11 minutes. At the half, the Warriors looked as if they were ready for their annual embarrassing loss at the Staples Center, and were down 54-50.
The third quarter saw the Warriors and Lakers go back and forth. The Lakers continued to shoot above 50%, ending the quarter with a FG% of 52.4. The Warriors shot the ball better than they did in the second quarter, and finished the quarter shooting 49.3% from the field. Klay Thompson and Kevin Durant picked up the scoring on the offensive end, finishing the quarter with 13 and 22, respectively. Brandon Ingram had 22 points at the end of the third quarter, and Lonzo Ball finally got his shot to start falling, and finished the quarter with 15 points. Going into the fourth quarter, the Warriors and Lakers were tied with 84 points.
The fourth quarter was a continuation of the third, just more back and forth basketball, which ordinarily would be exciting, except for the fact that the Warriors could have put the Lakers away a long time ago if they didn’t turn the ball over like it was their job. They finished the fourth quarter with 21 turnovers, but they did force the Lakers to commit 17 turnovers themselves. The Warriors ended the fourth quarter shooting 48%, while the Lakers still were at 50%. Kevin Durant was the leading scorer for the Warriors with 25 points, while Klay was close behind with 20. Brandon Ingram led the Lakers with 26 of his own and Julius Randle was right behind him with 20. The Warriors were down by three with under a minute left in the game, but Kevin Durant stepped up and nailed a three in the face of Lonzo Ball to tie the game, and the fourth quarter ended with the score tied at 109. The Warriors would go to overtime for the first time this season.
In overtime, Stephen Curry took over the game. After scoring just 15 points in regulation, he made back-to-back threes to open up the overtime period en route to a 13-point performance in overtime. The Warriors took an initial lead in overtime, but the Lakers battled back to keep it close, but the Warriors were able to pull away at the end thanks to clutch free throw shooting by Stephen Curry. The Warriors won the game 127-123.
I was honestly surprised the Warriors won this game, as they traditionally lose a game in embarrassing fashion every year at the Staples Center, and it looked like the Warriors were set up to continue the tradition after they became incredibly sloppy after the first quarter. They finished the game with 22 turnovers, which isn’t good, but after the first half, they were on pace to turn the ball over 28 times, so I felt okay settling for 22.
The Warriors had five players finish with double digit scoring, and all five of them were the starters. Zaza started the game off really well, going 3-3 in the first quarter, and finished the game with 11 points on 5-5 shooting. Klay Thompson stepped up after a disappointing first half and finished with 20 points. The two highest scorers for the Warriors were Kevin Durant and Stephen Curry, who had 29 and 28, and made big shots when it mattered most.
My main takeaway from this game, and yes, it’s very biased, is that Stephen Curry is the best basketball player to have ever walked on the face of the Earth, and I am willing to fight anyone who disagrees. He has the ability to impact a game faster than any other player in history, and he will end his career with more championships than Michael Jordan. He will go down as the G.O.A.T.
The Lakers put up a very impressive fight against the Warriors, and I was surprised at how well they shot the ball. They nearly became the second team in the last 38 games to shoot 50% against the Warriors, and narrowly missed the milestone by only shooting 49.5%. Brandon Ingram was spectacular, scoring a career-high 31-points. He looked like a young Kevin Durant, and if he continues to develop and become the player the Lakers hope he can become, he will be a very dangerous player in the NBA for a long time. Lonzo Ball also had one of his better games, scoring 15 points while making 3 three’s, but I don’t really have much to take away from one standout performance from behind the arc. Even a blind squirrel finds a nut once in awhile, and I expect him to go back to being the worst shooter in the league the next time he takes the floor.
The Warriors play next on Friday, December 1, in Orlando against the Magic at 4 p.m.