Sic transit gloria .
Or, as the ancient Romans could have told the Lakers, thus passes glory. Friday night, fresh from their conquest of the mighty Portland Trail Blazers, the Lakers were run over by the humble Golden State Warriors, 115-99, who thus broke a four-game losing streak.
This raises the question of whom the Lakers can beat on the second night playing back-to-back on the road. They are 0-4, having previously fallen to the Dallas Mavericks, who had just lost Roy Tarpley and games to Orlando and Miami; to the Cleveland Cavaliers, who had gone 1-6 without Mark Price, and to the Utah Jazz, which was at full strength and walked over them.
The Lakers’ average margin of defeat in the four games is 15 points.
They are averaging 81 points a game.
Three little Warriors, 6 feet 7 and under, almost outscored the Lakers by themselves Friday. Tim Hardaway (29 points), Chris Mullin (27) and Mitch Richmond (22) combined for 78 points.
Meanwhile, James Worthy, who played 42 minutes at Portland, shot six for 23. Magic Johnson, who played 44 at Portland, was five for 14.
“Yeah, we’ve played big minutes in the first games (of the back-to-backs),” Johnson said. “We played big minutes at Portland. It’s not only big minutes, it was emotional big minutes.”
Said Worthy: “Well, you know, that’s part of the game. I had a terrible shooting night, but I had good shots. As long as I get shots like that, I don’t worry.
“I think they (the Warriors) kind of wanted it more than we did. A team that small shouldn’t outrebound us.”
The Warriors used only two players over 6-7--Alton Lister and Tyrone Hill--for a total of 39 minutes and almost outrebounded the Lakers. In the second quarter, when the Warriors erased a 10-point deficit, they actually took over the boards and turned the game around.
“I don’t think this was a back-to-back loss,” Laker Coach Mike Dunleavy said. “They were the more aggressive team, and the aggressive team wins in this league. They were a little more hungry than we were.”
The two teams could hardly have started the night in more different moods. The Lakers were coming off their biggest victory of the season and had won four in a row. The Warriors were coming off an 18-point loss to Sacramento, which had ended a six-game losing streak in which it was beaten by at least 10 points in every game.
Mullin called the Warrior effort “pitiful.” Hardaway picked up five fouls in the first 4:44 of the fourth quarter. Hardaway and Sarunas Marciulionis fouled out, exhausting the point guard complement. Coach Don Nelson tried for an early exit, too, challenging referee Terry Durham, “You can throw me out any time you want.” Durham made him stay the duration.
A night later and it seemed only the Warriors’ uniform color had changed. In home whites, they watched Byron Scott score 16 first-quarter points as the Lakers ran to a 10-point lead.
Then the Lakers ran down. Worthy, 15 for 29 the night before, missed nine of his 11 shots before halftime, the Laker offense stalled and the Laker lead was gone. The Warriors led at the half, 59-56, Hardaway, Mullin and Richmond combining for 41 of the 59.
After that, the Lakers slid down the tubes.
“That’s why it’s such a great game, I guess,” Nelson said. “You can go from the outhouse to the penthouse in one day.”
Ask the Lakers.
The Lakers lost their chance to climb into second place in the West, which would have been their high point of the season. They remain in third, half a game behind the Suns. . . . Nice guys finish last: Warrior Coach Don Nelson, usually a hard man on rookies, invited Les Jepsen, Kevin Pritchard and Tyrone Hill home for dinner. “I’m going to let them know I can be their friend,” Nelson told the San Francisco Chronicle’s George Shirk. The next night, the Warriors were bombed at Sacramento. . . . Next for the Lakers: Golden State again Sunday night at the Forum.