Five takeaways from the Lakers’ 127-123 loss to the Golden State Warriors
Coming off a loss to the Sacramento Kings, it would seem like the Warriors would be hyperfocused and ready to get the taste of losing out of their mouths.
But that wasn’t quite the case Wednesday night.
The Warriors weren’t totally healthy. Point guard Stephen Curry was still experiencing a great deal of pain from a finger injury, so much so that he apparently consulted Kobe Bryant about how to play through with it. But Golden State also wasn’t mentally ready. Warriors coach Steve Kerr said before the game that he doesn’t need a Finals-level intensity right now, but he does need better focus than he’s getting.
It was harder than perhaps expected, but Golden State avoided its seventh loss of the season. Here are five takeaways from the Lakers’ 127-123 loss to the Warriors.
1. Lakers coach Luke Walton’s confidence in Brandon Ingram is growing. Walton said he could see that Ingram was especially “locked in.” Ingram agreed, but then said he tried to bring the same level of focus to every day. He scored a career-high 32 points and as regulation expired, Walton trusted him to take the final shot. “It means a lot,” Ingram said, when asked about Walton’s confidence in him. “Something we work on in practice a little bit. Just the confidence in me for him to just let me drive to the basket and do something that’s been working a lot the whole game.”
2. The Lakers committed a lot of turnovers, but the Warriors committed more — and allowed many more points off them. The Lakers scored 19 points off the Warriors’ 22 turnovers. That was part of the game plan. Walton knew the Warriors were struggling with ball security, so he wanted to exploit that.
3. Several Lakers players were asked post-game whether they felt Curry would get hot soon. He made only one of seven three-point attempts in regulation and scored 15 points. In the five-minute overtime period, Curry made two three-pointers and scored 13 more points. The players’ didn’t concede that Curry would eventually start making his shots; rather, they focused on defensive mistakes they’d made that could have prevented Curry’s shooting from improving.
4. Julius Randle turned 23 on Wednesday and put together a solid performance. He was one of four Lakers players to score at least 20 points, and his total came in just 31 minutes of play. Randle scored 16 points in the first three quarters.
5. Walton’s decision to call a time out with 5.3 seconds left in regulation didn’t come lightly. Randle was barreling toward the basket hoping to score the game-winner as it happened. Here’s what Walton had to say: “I was debating that, and once the ball was loose and I looked, there was maybe 5 seconds left. I wanted to make sure we got a good shot up. I liked that Brandon was hot. … Normally I would like to let that play go and let the players use the momentum to get something, but it just looked a little too chaotic.”
Follow Tania Ganguli on Twitter @taniaganguli
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