Warriors spoil Kobe's Jersey Retirement, Win 116-114 in Overtime
After beating the Dallas Mavericks four days ago, the Golden State Warriors (23-6) traveled to Los Angeles to face the Lakers (10-17). The Warriors were looking to extend their winning streak to nine games, but were facing an uphill battle. The Warriors would be without many of their key players yet again. Stephen Curry, Draymond Green, Zaza Pachulia, and Shaun Livingston were all out with injuries, but Nick Young returned to the lineup after suffering a concussion. The Lakers also retired Kobe Bryant’s two numbers during the game, and the energy would be electric as the city remembered its most celebrated player. The Warriors went on to win the game 116-114 in overtime.
In the first quarter, the Warriors got off to a very slow start that saw Klay Thompson pick up two quick fouls, and Kevin Durant start off 0-7. JaVale McGee threw down three dunks to get the quarter going with six points. KD also had six points on 1-7 shooting, he made a three and then three free throws. Omri Casspi had six points as well, and had a very solid, well-rounded quarter. Nick Young provided an instant spark off the bench while going 3-3 with eight points to lead the team. As a team, the Warriors shot 45.8% from the field and 50% from three, while the Lakers shot 50% from the field and 16.7% from three. The Warriors led the Lakers 32-24 after the opening quarter.
In the second half, the Warriors became ice cold, and were unable to make shots for long stretches. Their field goal percentage dropped from 45.8% to 37.7%. KD was still ice cold, and finished the half with 12 points on 3-11 shooting, and got absolutely demolished on a dunk from Larry Nance Jr. Omri Casspi was the only other Warrior in double figures, with 10 points to go along with six rebounds. Klay Thompson hit a couple of deep threes, but other than that he was very quiet. The Warriors also turned the ball over nine times in the half, and it was frankly astonishing that they were winning at halftime. They were winning at halftime because the Lakers shot the ball terribly from the free throw line at 7-15. At the half, the Warriors led the Lakers 57-53.
The third quarter saw both teams go back-and-forth and the Warriors continued to be hampered by their abominable shooting. As a team, they were shooting 39.5% overall and 33.3% from deep. Two big contributors to the poor percentages were KD and Klay, who combined to go 9-36 through three quarters. Durant still managed to put up 19 points thanks to getting fouled a ton and going 10-11 at the line. Klay had 13, but was missing shots he normally makes all night. Kevon Looney had eight points in the quarter, so that was nice. Jordan Bell provided the only highlight-reel play in the third when he blocked Brandon Ingram so hard that Ingram had to be removed from the game and checked out in the locker room. After three quarters, the Warriors led 83-82.
In the fourth quarter both teams shot the ball very poorly, and the Warriors were unable to put the game away. KD and Klay finished the quarter with a combined 41 points on 12-48 shooting, with both missing many shots that would have put the game away. KD had a shot clock violation in which he looked completely lost, and there were other notable mental errors throughout the entire quarter. Brandon Ingram stepped up for the Lakers down the stretch to keep them in the game, and ended regulation with 19 points. Kyle Kuzma led the Lakers in scoring with 22 points. Kobe Bryant had no interest in watching overtime after KCP airballed the potential game-winning three. The game was headed to overtime with the score tied at 102.
In overtime, Kevin Durant got hot and took over despite Lonzo Ball’s best efforts. Kevin Durant managed to not miss a shot in the overtime period and finished with 36 points, including the dagger over Lonzo Ball. Ball did manage to hit a couple big shots in overtime that were rather impressive, including a pull up jump shot and a three. Jordan Bell fouled out with a minute left in overtime and David West was subbed in to replace him, and he blocked Lonzo to end the game. The Warriors won the game 116-114.
This game was atrocious, was not fun to watch in any way, and is much less fun to write about. Klay Thompson paid tribute to Kobe by going 6-24, and it was a sight to behold. The Warriors shot an abysmal 40.2% and turned the ball over 14 times. They did manage to play decent defense when they were in the half court, so that was good.
Kobe Bryant’s halftime jersey retirement ceremony was pretty cool. I have never been a huge Kobe fan, but the cartoon/video tribute was pretty cool, and the amount of celebrities and legends in the crowd was insane. I would have enjoyed it a lot more if the Warriors had a commanding lead or could have made a jump shot or two.
I don’t really have much to say about this game, I miss Steph and Draymond and want to see them play again, the Warriors are just a more fun team when they play.
The Warriors are still undefeated when Jim Barnett wears JaVale McGee’s chain, and have stretched their winning streak to nine games.
The Warriors play next on Wednesday, December 20, at home against the Memphis Grizzlies at 7:30 p.m.