Sunday night’s Laker-Golden State Warrior game was shaping up a lot like one of the Rocky movies.
You know the script. The hero gets knocked around and bloodied, but there’s no doubt who is going to defeat adversity and pull it out in the end.
Same thing at the Forum Sunday. Or so it seemed. The 25-4 defending world champs were going against an 11-22 squad whose away performances looked like the road to oblivion.
The Warriors, losers of 12 in a row on the road and 8 of their last 10 overall, moved out in front early, and were up by 17 late in the first half.
So this time, Rocky lost.
Golden State, despite losing offensive leader Purvis Short with a sprained ankle in the third quarter, rewrote the script, withstood every Laker charge and emerged with a 130-122 victory.
The Lakers thought they had left the heavy fog behind in Sacramento Sunday morning when they flew home after beating the Kings on Saturday night.
But they played much of the time Sunday night as if they were still in that fog.
They committed 21 turnovers (the Warriors had only nine) and often played shoddy defense that left one Warrior after another alone under the basket for uncontested points.
Part of the trouble was caused by foul trouble.
Laker center Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, in foul trouble most of the night, was able to patrol the middle for only 30 minutes.
He still managed to score 22 points, hitting all 10 field goals he attempted.
Teammate Magic Johnson led the Lakers with 30 points.
Warrior center Joe Barry Carroll had also had 30. Chris Mullin added 24.
Golden State started play shooting 47.3% from the floor for the season, but hit at a 61.1% rate in the half, finishing with a 57.7 % mark.
Warrior Coach John Bach, whose job has been rumored to be in jeopardy, looked like John Wooden Sunday.
For a three and one-half minute segment in the second quarter, he put in all reserves-Greg Ballard, Jerome Whitehead, Terry Teagle, Geoff Huston and Peter Verhoeven. Not exactly the group you expect you find on your neighborhood NBA All-Star ballot, but Golden State was able to extend its lead from 13 points to 15 with this unit on the floor.
So the capacity Forum crowd of 17,505 went out for their nacho chips and wine at halftime and waited for what they figured was the inevitable comeback.
Sure enough, Los Angeles made a run in the third period, cutting the advantage from 15 points to six.
When Short went out, with five and one-half minutes to play, the Warriors’ lead wa eight, 86-78.
But Abdul-Jabbar was also out of action for the remainder of the period and the Warriors, behind the shooting of Mullin, held on.
Los Angeles cut it to five in the fourth period, but by then, time had nearly expired.
As had the Lakers.
Laker Notes Dept. of Accuracy: Although the official statistics from Saturday night’s Lakers-Kings game showed James Worthy with a record-tying, perfect shooting night from the floor (14 for 14), the Laker forward didn’t agree. He insisted that he had missed a jumper. So Kings publicist Julie Fie tracked down a tape of the game and ran it back. Nearly two hours after the final buzzer, she discovered Worthy wouldn’t make a bad statistician.He had indeed missed a jumper in the second quarterafter connecting on his first seven shots. So scratch Worthy from the record book. But give him a couple of points for honesty . . . Had Worthy actually made 14 of 14, he would have tied the record of Wilt Chamberlain, who accomplished that feat for the Lakers in a March, 1969 game . . . Chamberlain also holds the NBA record of 18 for 18, but that performance came in 1967 while he was playing for Philadelphia.