The Golden State Warriors earn their first win over the Los Angeles Lakers at the Oracle Arena for the first time since 2011 and it also created some space from the Houston Rockets who came into tonight’s contest just a half game behind for the sixth spot in the Western Conference.
It was clear how the Lakers were going to go after the Warriors to start the game by getting the ball inside to Dwight Howard and Pau Gasol and yet the defense by Andrew Bogut and David Lee made head coach Mike D’Antoni change strategy after Dwight attempted two shots outside of his range.
Klay Thompson led the way offensively in the fist quarter with 11 points and when Gasol got taken out Lee took advantage of being defended by Antawn Jamison and scored six. With the defense and the offense rolling the Warriors opened up a 12 point lead at the end of one.
Bryant led the Lakers with eight points though it took him 10 shots to do so and there was a point where he got so stubborn that after a miss he didn’t get back on defense which gave Thompson a wide open three at the other end of the floor and he buried it.
Second quarter worked even better as Jarrett Jack took advantage of poor defense by Steve Nash to get to the rim on back-to-back possessions and Harrison Barnes attacked the defense of Jamison and after drawing a foul and completed the three-point play to push the lead 19. There was an injury scare as it appeared Carl Landry landed awkwardly after blocking a shot, yet thankfully stayed in the game.
The lead did get up to 20 at one point on a Stephen Curry three and the Lakers even after getting the Warriors into the penalty only trimmed it to 16 before a 7-0 by Golden State opened up a 23 point lead at the end of the first half. This came after a Curry jumper, a tip-in by Lee and after Metta World Peace threw the ball away with 1.4 seconds left and the ball got thrown up for Bogut who tipped it in with .5 seconds remaining.
D’Antoni felt that the ball got tipped before it went out-of-bounds and let the officials know. Curry and Thompson each scored 16 points with Lee contributing 14 points and six rebounds at the break. One thing that has been the Achilles heel for Golden State keeping big leads and it almost resulted in disasater again.
Nash got going in the second half and Bryant also hit a three and the lead went got cut to 17 though that didn’t last long as a barrage of threes pushed it to 25. Another little run by the Lakers got stalled after consecutive jumpers by Jack.
It was the shooting of Jodie Meeks in the fourth that allowed for a little flourish to get the Lakers within 14 halfway through the quarter. Finding a mismatch with Bryant defending Lee in the post the Warriors went to it drawing a foul.
Then poor offense began to take its toll on Golden State as the team settled for jumpers instead of attacking and after Bryant got away with a walk Curry made the biggest play of the game finding a cutting Bogut for an easy layup to get the lead back to nine.
Content with not allowing threes Kobe attacked the basket and Thompson got away with a possible foul. Meeks attempted to draw a foul on a three, yet didn’t get the whistle and the Warriors ran time off the clock before Curry got fouled.
Another issue came when both free throws got missed and with 8.8 seconds left up seven Bryant fouled on a three-point attempt. The resulting three free throws resulted in one make. Golden State made both frees throws after a timeout to put the game away, Nash finished the scoring with a jumper.
Curry finished with 25 points,10 assists, 7 rebounds, Lee’s line for the night 23 points and 12 rebounds and Thompson 22 points.
Kobe led the Lakers with 36 points and eight rebounds with Nash chipping in 21 points, nine rebounds and seven assists and Meeks scored 13 off the bench.
As mentioned before first win for the Warriors at home since 2011 which the final score was 95-87. Monta Ellis scored 26 and dished out six assists, Lee went for 22 points and 17 rebounds and Curry contributed 20 points, six rebounds and five assists.