San Francisco, CA— The Los Angeles Lakers withstood the Golden State Warriors fourth quarter push in San Francisco Saturday night. By doing so, they improved to 22-5 on the road with the 125-120 win in Chase Center.
By all accounts this wasn’t the Lakers (39-12) best performance against this young ball club. Much of that is because they looked uninterested due to the gap of talent between them and their California rivals. There was a lack of attention to detail, terrible mental errors on defense and atrocious decisions when it came to making crisp passes.
Yet, give the Warriors (12-41) credit for playing extremely hard the entire game. Golden State took advantage of the mistakes by the Lakers and played a 48-minute contest. However, the purple and gold stepped up when they needed to. Thanks to some fourth quarter heroics by LeBron James and Anthony Davis, the Western Conference’s top team are 25-2 against sub .500 teams.
Scoring from Everywhere
In a game where you could’ve had both of your stars in Davis and James load manage or blow their opponents out early, they were asked to do more. The dynamic duo combined for 49 points, 18 rebounds and 15 assists against the Warriors. Although the two all-stars closed out the contest for their team, they had much help from their teammates. Which is going to be huge as we get into the second half of the year and close in on the playoffs.
Avery Bradley had an outstanding night in the Bay Area. He finished with 21 points on 63 percent shooting and knocked down five threes. He was the catalyst that got things going early for Los Angeles offensively and that was major. Because this team came out very slow to begin the game. They missed their first five shots in the opening period. However, Bradley stayed calm and was confident in the team’s offensive sets and hit timely threes.
The purple and gold had seven players in double-figures in their match-up. Kyle Kuzma pitched in 12 points to go along with six assist. Dwight Howard continued his steady play, finishing with a near double-double (12 points, 8 rebounds). In addition, Rajon Rondo was a guy who contributed well in the minutes he played with 11 points, four rebounds and four assists and three three-pointers.
When James and Davis can get contributions on every hand, it makes things easier for them to where they can operate on offensively and take the game home.
Why Not Let it Fly
This is a Lakers team that shoots 31 percent from beyond-the-arc this season. They converted on 48 percent of their three-point shot attempts against the Warriors. This was outstanding for a team that has players who are capable of knocking down those shots but at times have struggled.
When LA wasn’t toying around with the ball, their movement of the orange was pure. They were able to swing the ball or make the skip pass to the open man, who in turn would knock down the long-range bomb. James didn’t have his best shooting night from deep as he only hit three triples on eight attempts. However, you’ll remember the dagger he hit to seal the game.
Rondo had three threes of his own, Danny Green would pitch in two and Bradley lead the way with five.
This is what the Lakers will need down the stretch: players that can knock down those shots not only in the open floor, but in the half court set. Will this be an every night thing? No. However, this should give the franchise confidence as to what they can do moving forward
Cleaning the Glass
Los Angeles ranks seventh in the NBA in rebounds (45.9 per game). This team had 47 on the night and 12 offensive rebounds. They were a team that could not be touched around the rim. Many of their points that came in the paint were thanks to their activity on the glass. Although they were still outscored by eight in that category (60-52).
Howard and James were beasts on the glass contributing eight boards apiece. In addition, Davis had 10 rebounds of his own to close out the contest. No one should be dominating the Lakers on the glass because they have three guys on their squad who are around 7-Feet: JaVale McGee, Davis and Howard. You also have James, who can get 8-10 rebounds.
The Lakers have to continue to use their size inside and get easy buckets. One of the ways of doing that is getting that squeegee and handling their business on the glass. It leads to second chance opportunities and more chances of getting to the foul line.
Rebounding comes to a matter of heart. The Lakers had more heart on the glass against the opposition. They out-rebounded the Warriors 47-33.
The Lakers will face the Phoenix Suns on Feb. 10
Golden State will matchup against the Heat on Feb. 10