The member of the Golden State Warriors with whom Lakers Coach Luke Walton expected some friendly trash talk wasn't his counterpart and mentor, Warriors Coach Steve Kerr. It was Warriors forward Draymond Green.
Green didn't play in the teams' first preseason meeting in Las Vegas. But he started on Wednesday night. The back-and-forth began with the Warriors' first possession.
Green hit a three-point shot, then stared down Walton. Later, Green hit another three and walked right over to Walton to tell him about it. Throughout the game they traded occasional barbs as their teams squared off for the second time in a week.
"Dray? Was he talking out there?" Walton said, a deadpan expression on his face. "I always enjoy the back-and-forth with Draymond. Usually I was on his team when it was happening. It's not as fun when you're going against him."
The Lakers fared better this time. They trailed by only nine at halftime, after trailing 74-47 at halftime in Las Vegas. Through three quarters, the Warriors were still rotating in their starters, and the Lakers kept close. Ultimately, the Lakers lost, 123-112. Their exhibition schedule ends Friday against the Phoenix Suns in Anaheim.
Rookie Brandon Ingram played his best game of the preseason and led the team with 21 points. He also had four assists, seven rebounds and two steals.
"I think I'm making progressions every time I step on the floor," Ingram said. "Coach Luke, Coach [Brian] Shaw, they're putting me in good positions with the ball in my hand. I kind of thrive in that position. … I'm surrounded by shooters, so being aggressive is helping a lot."
The Lakers stayed close, cutting their deficit to single digits repeatedly. Every once in a while, though, a sequence erupted that left no doubt of the discrepancy between the teams.
On one such series, Warriors point guard Stephen Curry tossed a behind-the-back pass to forward Kevin Durant, who fell, then knocked the ball out to guard Klay Thompson for three. Walton called a timeout in frustration.
Walton gave a night off to small forward Luol Deng, and brought shooting guard Lou Williams off the bench. In an effort to jump-start his first unit, Walton started point guard D'Angelo Russell, power forward Julius Randle, center Timofey Mozgov, small forward Nick Young and shooting guard Jordan Clarkson.
It didn't cure the Lakers' of their slow starts. Golden State went on a 12-0 run to begin the game.
"Still struggling," Walton said of his first unit. "We gotta figure something out. Individually, they all had good moments throughout the game. Collectively, as a group we can't keep getting down to big deficits like that so quickly in a ballgame."
Mozgov suffered a bruised tailbone in the third quarter and left the game. He said after the game that he should be fine for next week, when the regular season beings.
Point guard Jose Calderon missed his second game in a row with what's been termed a minor calf injury. Calderon, 35, has had problems with the calf since the Lakers were at training camp in Santa Barbara. Walton said with a player his age, the Lakers want to be cautious about his return.