Lakers’ rough start continues with 127-104 loss to Golden State
Just when things couldn’t get worse for the Lakers, history tapped them on the shoulder. Not the championship-toting, parade-planning type.
The Lakers are off to their worst start since 1957, a 0-4 beginning made official after a 127-104 loss Saturday to the Golden State Warriors.
This hasn’t happened since the Lakers were in Minnesota. George Mikan was the head coach, Vern Mikkelsen the leading scorer that season.
It’s getting dicey. This is barely November. Seventy-eight games remain.
“If you’re a competitor and you want to win, you should be disappointed right now,” Lakers Coach Byron Scott said outside the locker room. “If the guys are in there having a good time, then we’re in big trouble.”
Kobe Bryant put on a bizarre show with his high shot count, sometimes questionable shot selection and still-prominent highlight material. He finished with 28 points on 12-for-28 shooting.
Klay Thompson had a career-high 41 points and Stephen Curry had 31 for the Warriors. Coincidentally (or not), Thompson’s previous career- high was 38 against the Lakers in the Warriors’ home opener last season.
The Lakers trailed by only seven before the midpoint of the fourth quarter but had nothing beyond that. They were playing their fourth game in five nights, so fatigue was a consideration.
There continued to be signs that Jordan Hill, not Jeremy Lin or Carlos Boozer, might be the Lakers’ second-best player.
After scoring 23 against the Clippers, Hill kept attacking with a variety of mid-range shots and was a big part of an early Lakers lead that swelled to 10 points in the second quarter.
Eventually, the Warriors played like the team that clobbered the Lakers by 56 points over two exhibition games last month.
Or maybe the Lakers started playing like the Lakers.
Boozer was a nonentity again (nine points) and Lin never made a shot, finishing with six points (all from the free-throw line) on 0-for-6 shooting. Hill had 23 points, making 10 of 14 shots.
Bryant was a study in just about everything.
Highlights? He somehow lofted a twisting scoop shot with enough backspin to hit the rim and fall through as he got knocked to the other side of the basket. Later, he floated to the right side and drilled a 19-footer over Thompson and Draymond Green that drew surprised admiration from the Oracle Arena crowd.
Bad shots? Bryant’s 31-foot three-point shot banked hard off the rim and, predictably, away from the basket. The 29-footer he later launched was also unsuccessful.
“No, it doesn’t bother me,” Bryant said of the 0-4 start, his voice soaked with sarcasm. “Festive and jovial about it.”
He later added, without the sarcasm, he was “not happy about it. Also nothing you can do about it. Gotta move on to the next one.”
Scott felt some nostalgia before the game, and it had little to do with returning to one of the NBA’s oldest arenas.
Jerry West is a consultant for the Warriors, the same Jerry West who acquired Scott and Swen Nater from the San Diego Clippers for Norm Nixon, Eddie Jordan and two second-round draft picks in 1983.
“He brought me to this organization, which was a big risk from what everybody was saying 30-something years ago,” Scott said. “He took the chance and I’ll be forever grateful.”
West has mentored Scott through the years and gave him advice before he accepted coaching jobs at New Jersey, New Orleans and Cleveland.
“He’s one of the few people that you can seriously call on the phone and he answers,” Scott quipped.
But Scott didn’t call West during the Lakers’ achingly long coaching search that ended with his hiring in late July.
“He knows how much I love this organization, so I didn’t think there was any need to really call him on this one,” Scott said.
It would be fascinating to hear West’s unfiltered comments on the present-day status of the Lakers. Hard to imagine anything positive other than Bryant’s 36-year-old skills and Hill’s efforts.
After all, former Lakers such as West aren’t used to seeing these types of beginnings. He was only a teenager the last time this happened.
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