Lakers get chance to avenge 43-point loss to Warriors
LOS ANGELES — The last time the Golden State Warriors visited Staples Center they suffered a surprising 20-point thumping by the Los Angeles Lakers. Since then, the Warriors have reeled off nine wins in a row.
The Warriors and the Lakers meet Friday for the second time in three days and the third time this month.
On Wednesday, the Warriors (13-2) delivered some payback in a 149-106 rout at Oracle Arena of the short-handed Lakers, who played without starting point guard D’Angelo Russell — out two weeks with a sore left knee — and forward Julius Randle (hip pointer). It was the most points scored by an NBA team this season.
"I don’t think a team I’ve been on has ever scored 150 points in a game," said Warriors shooting guard Klay Thompson, according to the East Bay Times. "But I can settle for 149."
Stephen Curry (31), Kevin Durant (28) and Thompson (26) combined for 85 points. The Warriors, who recorded a franchise-record 47 assists, scored 80 points in the first half.
"It was a beautiful exhibition that (the Warriors) put on," Lakers coach Luke Walton said. "As painful as this one was, that’s the beauty of the NBA. You always have another chance to redeem yourself one or two days later.
"That was the message: Let it go and be ready for Friday."
The Lakers will need a much better effort defensively if they expect to slow the high-octane Warriors, who are leading the league at 119.2 points and 31.9 assists per game. Golden State also is tops in field-goal shooting, connecting on 50.2 percent compared to 46.8 percent (fourth) for Los Angeles.
Offense has been one of the strengths for the Lakers (8-8), but their defense has lagged. The Lakers, who have lost three of their last four, with Wednesday’s 111-109 win over the Oklahoma City Thunder being their lone conquest, are allowing 112.1 points (27th) while scoring 109.6 (fourth). They are third in 3-point shooting at 39 percent.
However, opponents are hitting 48.5 percent of their shots from the floor.
The Lakers, though, are the only team to hold Golden State under 100 points this season. That occurred during their 117-97 romp on Nov. 4.
Much of the Lakers’ production this season has come from their bench, which is leading the NBA in scoring at 52.1 points per game. In 12 of the team’s 16 games, the leading scorer has been one of the reserves. Lou Williams has led the way in eight contests.
Williams (43.2 percent) and Nick Young (40 percent), one of the league’s early surprises, pace the Lakers’ 3-point shooting.
The Lakers have won the last two meetings against the Warriors at home. Both have been double-digit triumphs. Walton is a major reason for Los Angeles’ improved play this season.
"You can tell Luke Walton has come over there and changed the culture a bit," Durant told the Orange County Register. "I’ve been on a team like that. You’re young and just want to go out there and have fun with the game with no expectations. You’re just playing."