Just when you thought the Lakers had their mojo back, the Golden State Warriors pop up on the schedule.
Sure, the Lakers have won 9 straight over GSW including a season sweep for the second year in a row. But anybody who watched Monday night’s Battle in the Bay knows that this narrow win was one that could have easily been an embarrassing loss.
No matter what the records say, this is a clash routinely played on Golden State’s terms.
The Warriors lead the league in points off of turnovers. With that being said the Lakers turned it over 24 times playing right into Don Nelson’s master plan. Mind you Peyton Manning plays D more often than Golden State. Most of those turnovers were caused by sloppy play and careless execution.
Time and time again, Los Angeles was suckered into playing the game at a high tempo. Lead after lead was squandered. Possession after possession was wasted.
This was a ragged game that had the rhythm of Mark Madsen in a salsa club.
Steph Curry lit up the Lake Show matching Kobe’s 29 for high scorning honors on the night. Good thing for the Lakers that Curry couldn’t match Mamba in the most important category of all – clutch shooting.
After opening their biggest lead late in the game, the Lakers took their foot off the pedal and gave Golden State a golden opportunity. Curry got a clean look but misfired on an open three then Monta Ellis watched as his miracle shot hit every part of the rim yet never touched the net.
Those two misses would be good enough for the Lakers to hold on for a 124-121 victory.
Don’t let Pau’s 26, Bynum’s 19 and 14 or Lamar’s 17 and 12 fool you. The Warriors are balling with a D-League roster and an extremely undersized frontline. That this game was one lucky bounce away from going to OT is a shame.
No disrespect to the Warriors, they put forth a quality effort. However, these are the games that you’d prefer to put to bed early knowing that there’s another game on the horizon in less than 24 hours.
Sure, the next game is only a bus ride away in Sacramento. But when you consider how much better the Kings are than the Warriors. Then you factor in ROY candidate Tyreke Evans waiting to one-up his primary competition. You begin to see why leaving one late against a lottery team isn’t the best way to start a road trip.
Hey, it’s better to win lucky than it is to lose ugly. Problem is the Lakers have been walking this line all season. This team had better make sure that horseshoe over the doorway to the NBA Finals is turned up instead of facing down. Don’t want to let any of that remaining luck to spill out before the calendar turns to June.