These are glory days in Oakland. The Warriors dynamic guards, Steph Curry and Klay Thompson, are incredible young talents. They took advantage of a sluggish Laker team, winning 125-94. It did not seem that close. It felt like the Lakers lost by 50.
The outcome was not hard to predict from the opening tip. The Lakers played defense as if they were blindfolded. Shooters were wide open. Shots were never contested. Open lanes led to layups and dunks at the rim. Wes Johnson as a power forward was a disaster. He was too small to guard David Lee who had 24 points and 8 rebounds. Worse than being undersized, Johnson has little intuition on how to play in the paint. He does this thing where he flails with his hands all around the shooters face and body and when the ref’s whistle blows he seems baffled as to why. Jodie Meeks is also too small. He does not have the size to guard Klay Thompson who did his best Michael Jordan impression. Thompson had 27 points at half on his way to a career high of 38. Thompson almost made Steph Curry seem invisible. Almost. Curry’s dribble penetration disrupted whatever defense the Lakers thought they were executing, creating open shooters all over the court. It felt like a scrimmage and the Lakers were a college team and the Warriors were NBA champions and these two should never meet again.
When you lose by thirty you don’t make shots. You don’t do much of anything. The Lakers looked like a lottery team. They missed just about everything. Layups, three point shots, free throws. This was not the D’antoni system. He was cringing in his suit, having to watch his players throw up bricks, not pass the ball, commit stupid turnovers. Who was it that said Wes Johnson can score with any level of consistency in the NBA. Through two games Johnson is shooting 5-22. Xavier Henry was not much better, shooting 4-11. He came crashing to earth with a thud. He missed easy shots, he missed difficult shots. He created turnovers by running into stationery men, a habit of his. Steve Blake who started in place of Steve Nash struggled in the first half and showed his grit in the second half but by then it was too late.
So for all those radio talk show nuts who said the Lakers don’t need Kobe, he is too old, don’t re-sign him…um…you’re crazy.
Midway through the second quarter the Lakers were down by nineteen. Only Jodie Meeks had any offensive rhythm. The rest of the team was comatose. They were shooting thirty percent, had 25 points, and looked as most people expected they would look without Kobe Bryant, like a team of castoffs on one year deals. Horrible execution. No energy. No fight or toughness. Pau stumbled all night. He turned the ball over. He did not handle the double team well. On the one hand not playing with Kobe is nostalgic. It gives Pau a familiar taste of what he used to have at Memphis, an offense in which he is the focal point. On the other hand the responsibility that comes with being the main guy is understanding the opposing coach is going to use your weakness against you. The Warriors roughed Pau up early and then they just stole the ball, frustrating him. And then he disappeared.
It was a thirty three point deficit going into the fourth quarter with the Lakers having scored only 63 points. By the time the game ended it felt like a waste of two hours.
Player of the Game- Klay Thompson, 38 points. Scored from the outside, scored from the inside. Gave the Lakers a headache. Their brain will explode watching what he did to them on game film.
He should have stayed home- Wes Johnson. Awful. Awful. Did I say he was awful?
He said WHAT? Mike D’antoni: “We are going to have to learn to play harder.” Jodie Meeks: “We played pretty good defense.”
Highlight of the Night: Kobe in his suit on the bench, chewing his gum and thinking…??????
The Kobe System- Klay Thompson. Hitting shots from just about everywhere. Unguardable. Untouchable. Making his case for best young shooting guard. A star in the making.
Remember This – The Warriors speed, shooting ability, depth, ball movement, talent, execution and coaching put them at the top of the Western Conference. Better than the Clippers.