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Lakers fight to the finish before falling in overtime to the Warriors

Those who were surprised by Wednesday night’s game between the Lakers and Golden State Warriors, by how tough the Lakers played their big brothers up north, did not heed history.

The Lakers lost to the most talented team in the NBA 127-123 in overtime. Since Steve Kerr became the Warriors coach in 2014, his superlative teams have lost one game at Staples Center every year. To keep that streak alive, the Lakers will have to do it next time the Warriors visit.

“I mean, shoot, they’re the Warriors,” Lakers guard Jordan Clarkson said. “You aren’t playing hard you’re gonna get blown out. We’re trying to compete, we’re trying to win. When they come in here, they get the best of us. … When the defending champs come in here, you’re definitely trying to get that win.”

Warriors point guard Stephen Curry scored 13 points in overtime, including back-to-back three-pointers to begin the extra period. After making a free throw with 10 seconds left to give the Warriors a two-point lead, he missed the second, but the Warriors chased down the rebound. Curry then made two more free throws with 6.5 seconds left to make it a four-point lead.

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Curry finished with 28 points. Brandon Ingram led all scorers with 32 points, his first 30-point game. Kentavious Caldwell-Pope (21), Clarkson (21) and Julius Randle (20) also had at least 20 points for the Lakers. Warriors forward Kevin Durant scored 29 points, Klay Thompson added 20 and Draymond Green scored 15 points with 11 rebounds.

Lakers point guard Lonzo Ball scored 15 points with 10 assists.

“I love the way our guys competed defensively,” Lakers coach Luke Walton said. “We set a challenge to them that let’s be aggressive, but be smart. We set a challenge to our players tonight and I thought they did a great job of responding to that.”

The Warriors get every team’s best effort, their most energetic showing.

Perhaps that explained why, after a 20-point first quarter that the Lakers began by shooting just 33.8%, and by allowing the Warriors to make 62% of their shots, they reversed the course of the game. In the second quarter, the Lakers made 70.6% of their shots, a season high for a quarter, and held the Warriors to 20 points, a season low for an opponent in a quarter.

Perhaps the desire to knock off the league’s most talented team factored into Ball’s performance, though he’d never admit it.

During one series of plays that spanned a little more than a minute, Ball made two three-pointers, made a layup after driving past Curry and then dived so hard for a loose ball that a gash opened at the edge of his left eyebrow and blood trickled down his face. Lakers trainer Marco Nunez quickly patched the cut. Ball got three stitches after the game.

With 3:01 left in the game, Caldwell-Pope took a pass from Clarkson and went in for a layup to put the Lakers up 104-102. Thompson tied the score 52 seconds later with two free throws. With 1:33 left, Green gave the Warriors a two-point lead, and then Randle answered.

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Caldwell-Pope scored shortly thereafter and made the ensuing free throw to give the Lakers a three-point lead with less than a minute to go, but Durant drained a three-pointer on the next possession with Staples Center pitched.

The Lakers got the ball back with 5.3 seconds left and Walton took a timeout to call a play that gave Ingram the Lakers’ final shot. Ingram drove to the basket but couldn’t make his contested layup and the game went to overtime.

The regular season isn’t the primary concern for the Warriors. This is a team that has played in the NBA Finals for three straight years, winning two titles.

Along the way, some teams can cause problems. The Lakers did the last three seasons, and they did again Wednesday night, until the Warriors had enough.

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tania.ganguli@latimes.com

Follow Tania Ganguli on Twitter @taniaganguli


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