When Mike D’Antoni was brought to the Lakers last season, the memories of Showtime danced in Jerry Buss’ head. D’Antoni’s “7 Seconds or Less” offense was designed with Showtime in mind. For the first time since his arrival in the city of angels, the Lakers showed glimpses of new school Showtime. With 20 points in the first 6 minutes of the game and 54 points in the first half, the Lakers starters gave fans more reason to be excited for the season.
However, Warriors head coach Mark Jackson kept his starters in throughout the fourth quarter against the Lakers second and even third units, leading to Golden State erasing an 11-point lead and winning 100-95.
“I thought we played well,” said Mike D’Antoni, Lakers head coach. “The energy was great. We didn’t finish it off, but I thought we played well.”
Nick “Swaggy P” Young kept fans on their feet with usual Young antics, leading L.A. on the score sheet with 18 points. Kaman finished a perfect 7 of 7 from the field for 14 and grabbed 10 rebounds. The point guards, Steve Nash and Steve Blake, found teammates early and often, finishing with 12 total assists. Blake’s lob from half court to Xavier Henry in the first half led to a dunk and some rumbles about Showtime. Henry finished with 15 points, while Blake struggled shooting for the second game in a row, going just 1 for 11.
“We’re making strides,” head coach Mike D’Antoni said. “Guys are getting in shape. I thought Pau and Kaman did well tonight. Nash played well, Nick Young had his best game.
The Lakers opened up red hot, pouring in 20 points before the first TV timeout. The team calmed down drastically from then, but still managed 26 points in the first quarter and 28 points in the second on a mixture of fast break buckets, pick and rolls, pick and pops, and post-up plays. The diverse Lakers offense saw Young, Pau Gasol, and Kaman get into double figures before halftime.
The starters came out early in the second half and continued the hot shooting, specifically Young, who dazzled fans by taking Klay Thompson one-on-one with an array of crossovers that got him to the line, sparking a Lakers 9-0 run. The lead was pushed to 11 late in the quarter on a Henry three. However, while the Lakers going deep into the bench to give the inexperienced guys a shot, the Warriors stuck with the starters, eventually grabbing the lead on back-to-back Curry threes with 6:19 remaining in the fourth.
The two teams traded baskets with the Warriors starters finishing out the game, with Golden State pulling away late thanks to big shots from Steph Curry, who finished with 24 points despite shooting just 3 of 10 from three. David Lee led all scorers with 31 points on 12 of 16 shooting, helping the Warriors outscore the Lakers 31-15 in the decisive fourth quarter.
Lakers draftee Ryan Kelly saw his first action of the preseason, finally recovered from off-season foot surgery. The former Duke Blue Devil 6 points and 3 rebounds in just 12 minutes, impressing with solid rebounding and smart defense. Lakers perimeter players Jordan Farmar and Wesley Johnson both sat out for the fourth game in a row, nursing minor injuries. Kobe Bryant was the star of the night despite never stepping away from the bench, drawing a cheer from the crowd every time he was shown on the big screen in-arena. Fans even produced an audible “Kobe” chant throughout. However, when asked if Bryant would be ready by opening night, D’Antoni offered his most realistic outlook yet.
“No,” D’Antoni replied coldly. “I’d be surprised if he was ready by then. It’ll be really tough.”
Then, when asked how the Lakers are coping with the loss of Dwight Howard, D’Antoni simply replied “Who?”, getting a laugh out of the media.
The Lakers and Warriors will battle again Friday morning in Shanghai. The game will again be played at 4:30 AM Pacific, 7:30 AM Eastern.