Lakers

Lakers pull off the shocker of the NBA season, stunning the league-leading Golden State Warriors, 112-95

You know you were waiting for it to happen.

Waiting for the Lakers to blow their surprisingly big lead. Waiting for the team with the second-worst record in the NBA to come back to Earth. Waiting for the Golden State Warriors to get serious and grind up the Lakers, for Stephen Curry and his defending-champion teammates to put on their usual show befitting the team with the league's best record.

Even the Lakers admitted they were waiting for something happen, and that they held their breath until they'd actually pulled off their monumental 112-95 upset of the Warriors on Sunday afternoon before a delirious Staples Center crowd.

After the game, Lakers Coach Byron Scott said he admired his team's effort, "as hard as we've played all season long." Still, it wasn't until very late in the game that he realized they were going to win.

"Yeah, it was about one minute and five seconds left in the fourth quarter," Scott said. "Then I felt pretty good."

The Lakers were up by 20 points then.

When Golden State Coach Steve Kerr pulled his starters with 4 minutes 37 seconds left, the Warriors trailing by 19 points and showing no sign of having a comeback in them, D'Angelo Russell said he started to believe a win for the Lakers was possible.

"When he took all the starters out, because those guys, they usually come back and they usually make a major run," said Russell, who had 21 points. "Those guys, they're good."

On Sunday, though, not so much. Curry, the NBA's reigning most valuable player, made only one of 10 three-point attempts and finished with 18 points, well under his league-leading average of 31.7. Klay Thompson, his sharpshooting All-Star accomplice in the backcourt, missed all eight of his three-point shots and scored 15 points.

The defeat dropped the Warriors to 55-6 and put a dent in their bid to break the 1995-96 Chicago Bulls' NBA record of 72 wins in a season. And it was a loss well-earned, according to Kerr.

"We got what we deserved," he said. "When the ball doesn't go in, you have to win with energy and defense and toughness, and we didn't have any of that."

As a team, the Warriors shot an uncharacteristic 40.2% from the field and an atrocious four for 30 from three-point range — the fourth-worst single-game three-point effort by an NBA team since the arc's inception in 1979-80.

"I would say 24 of them were good shots that just missed," Curry said. "It happens."

While the Lakers (13-51) were building a 23-point lead in the fourth quarter, Kobe Bryant stayed on his young teammates, reminding them to stay the course.

Bryant had missed Friday night's game, a loss to Atlanta, because of a sore right shoulder. There are 18 games left in his 20-year career, which will end next month with the Lakers' season, and he says "hopefully" he can play in them all.

"I know that's wishful thinking," Bryant said after scoring 12 points. "But hopefully."

Bryant, whose teammates wore his No. 24 socks during the nationally-televised game, was like a proud parent watching Jordan Clarkson come back from a left knee injury that kept him out Friday to score 25 points against the Warriors.

Bryant said he was proud of Julius Randle, who had his 27th double-double with 12 points and 14 rebounds, and of the Lakers' defensive effort, particularly against Curry and Thompson.

"I think the improvement and the importance of this game is not necessarily in the win," Bryant said. "But it's in the fact that we executed the game plan very well. We paid attention to detail very well. For young guys, I think it's extremely important to see the results of that.

"When you pay attention to little details, those good things happen. So as they grow, they start trusting that more and more. They start trusting the process more and more. So from that aspect, I think it was a big game."

Follow Broderick Turner on Twitter:@BA_Turner

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Copyright © 2016, Los Angeles Times
A version of this article appeared in print on March 07, 2016, in the Sports section of the Los Angeles Times with the headline "LAKERS 112, GOLDEN STATE 95 - SHOCK BROKERAGE - Lakers pull off the stunner of the NBA season, taking down Warriors" — Today's paperToday's paper | Subscribe
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