GAMEDAY LINKS: Team Q1 Q2 Q3 Q4 Final
Box Score Los Angeles Lakers 16 24 36 27 103
Play by Play Golden State Warriors 28 35 31 15 109

Curry returns, leads Warriors past Lakers, 109-103


Posted Mar 26 2013 2:14AM

OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) Stephen Curry shifted the focus from his troublesome right ankle by putting the Golden State Warriors on firm footing in the Western Conference playoff chase.

Curry had 25 points, 10 assists and seven rebounds on the sprained ankle, and the Warriors held off the Los Angeles Lakers 109-103 on Monday night.

"I've been through a lot with the ankle," Curry said. "This year has been a new feeling."

Both in the Bay Area and in Southern California.

David Lee added 23 points and 12 rebounds, and Klay Thompson scored 22 points to propel the Warriors to a 25-point lead early in the third quarter in a matchup with huge playoff implications. Golden State (41-31) improved to a game ahead of idle Houston (39-31) and 4 1/2 games in front of the Lakers (36-35) for sixth place in the West.

"We are the better basketball team," Warriors coach Mark Jackson said. "They are in the rear view mirror and I have not checked it and I will not."

Los Angeles' lead over Utah (35-36) for the final playoff spot is down to one game. The Jazz beat Philadelphia 107-91 in Salt Lake City earlier Monday night.

Kobe Bryant scored 36 points and Steve Nash had 21 points, nine rebounds and seven assists in an otherwise lackluster Lakers effort. Los Angeles has lost three straight games, and the latest was never even close.

"We just got to maintain our poise and just think about execution and what we're going to do," Bryant said. "You got to look at what teams are doing against us in terms of spreading us out and rolling the big, and now we collapse and we're releasing the shooters. This is about the third game in a row that that's happened to us. Not get overly emotional. Just look at what's going on and just make adjustments."

Hasn't happened yet.

Questionable to play since spraining his twice surgically repaired ankle in Saturday's victory over Washington, Curry sat out the morning shootaround and often grimaced during a pregame workout at the arena. Jackson called Curry a "game-time decision," though Lakers coach Mike D'Antoni never doubted Curry would play - or play well.

Curry said his ankle would've been too sore to play on in the morning. He said it loosened up by the afternoon, and he felt no limitations on the court.

With the dynamic point guard leading the way, the Warriors received contributions from all over.

Thompson hit three of his six 3-pointers in the first quarter, and Curry made another one. Festus Ezeli added an alley-oop from Jarrett Jack and put back a miss to give Golden State a 28-14 lead.

The reserves kept the momentum going, with Jack outrunning everybody for a coast-to-coast layup and tossing in a floater to start the second quarter. He had 19 points.

The usual sprinkling of Lakers fans shouted chants of "M-V-P!" when Bryant shot free throws. But they were drowned out by the Warriors fans who sold out Oracle Arena for the 25th straight game and screamed "Beat L.A.!" at every chance.

The frustration for the Lakers finally started to show. First, Metta World Peace jawed at Lee, then awkwardly patted the All-Star forward's head once officials intervened. A few minutes later, Dwight Howard picked up a technical foul while exchanging words with Lee and an official after he was called for a foul on Lee's layup.

Both Lakers big men struggled on both ends. Howard had 11 points and 15 rebounds, and Pau Gasol was held to seven points and eight rebounds as he works his way back from a right foot injury.

"We're trying to get into the playoffs right now. That's more of a disappointment," D'Antoni said. "But we still have time to figure it out. Still have time to get into the playoffs, still have time to make an impact. But time is running out."

The half ended when Lee dunked the ball with 1.9 seconds left, World Peace threw away an inbounds pass and Curry lobbed to Andrew Bogut for an alley-oop over Bryant, who just walked through the tunnel behind the basket and into the locker room as his team inbounded the ball. But not before taking one quick glance at the scoreboard: Warriors 63, Lakers 40.

"We made a statement in that first half," Jackson said.

World Peace stayed in the locker room in the second half because he "felt fluid" in his left knee. The rest of his teammates had to endure a blowout loss, though not before Bryant added a few highlights, including spinning past Thompson along the baseline and finishing a reverse dunk over Lee that drew roars from each ban base.

Steve Blake's 3-pointer sliced Golden State's lead to 105-96 with 2:51 remaining in the fourth quarter. Bryant followed with a spinning jumper in the lane before Bogut cut down the middle past Howard for an uncontested layup that ended the little drama this game had.

Golden State clinched a non-losing season for the first time since finishing 48-34 in 2007-08, the year after making the playoffs for the last time. The Warriors hadn't had a better record than the Lakers this late in a season since 1993-94.

Now they'll likely be in front for good.

NOTES: Lakers reserve F Antawn Jamison played through pain in his sprained right wrist. He had five points in 14 minutes off the bench. .. The Lakers had won six straight against the Warriors, including the two previous games this season. ... The teams meet for the final time this season in Los Angeles on April 12.

Copyright 2012 by STATS LLC and Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and Associated Press is strictly prohibited

View More Photos

Points Bryant, 36
Rebounds Howard, 15
Assists Curry (GSW), 10
Blocks Bogut (GSW), 2


Mike D'Antoni:

On the game:
“Well I think the whole team struggles so it’s hard to just point out two guys. We just didn’t play well, a lot of blown assignments. Give them credit, they hit some shots that even when we did guard, they hit them. But again, might have found something toward the end, ball a little bit better, we played with speed. We held them to about 18 points in the last 15 minutes or 16 minutes. So there are some things we’ll have to build on and then just flush this one down the toilet and go on to the next one, we’ve got to start winning it.”

On Metta World Peace's knee:
“He said that the back of his knee was bothering, and I told him, ‘Well if it’s bothering you then you can’t go out there.’ He said it was really hurting so that’s why we held him, but I don’t know what that means. But he said he felt fluid in the back of his knee.”

On moving forward from the three-game losing streak:
“Well a lack of, probably, a focused effort; we still have that problem. But some things that we need to maybe change up on, we’ll see. We’ve got to think about it, look at the film, and try to get back where we were.”

On the Warriors' offense:
“Well they’re good. You give them a half of an inch and (Klay) Thompson, and (Stephen) Curry, and David Lee, all of them were hitting shots, especially in the first half.”

On slim margin of error:
“Well they understand that but obviously we need to stop losing. I talked about it, we’ve got to turn it around. But yeah, they know, they’re professionals.”

Kobe Bryant:

On coming back in the 4th quarter:
“They finally started missing some shots. They made a great amount of tough shots from long distance early on. In the fourth quarter, we were able to corral them a little bit and knock a few shots down ourselves.”

On the team's rhythm:
“I think we’ve got to get our rhythm down a little bit better. Obviously, the rotations are little different and guys have got to get used to it. Defensively, we’ve got to execute better. Teams try to spread us out and go one on one with us like they did tonight, we’ve got to do a good job of forcing guys to help and supporting them.”

On the Warriors' hot shooting:
“They made some tough shots. [Stephen] Curry has got a trigger. [Klay] Thompson has a quick trigger. I felt that in the second half we were able to run them off their line and make their life a little difficult but [Jarrett] Jack came in and made some big plays for them.”

Jodie Meeks:

On the slow start tonight:
“For some reason we’ve been getting off to slow starts but it’s just been in the past few games so I’m confident we’ll be able to get it together and get it back on track.”

On playing well in the 4th quarter:
“We finished the game on a good note even though we lost. We got some momentum in the end and guys started making some shots, so hopefully we’ll be able to continue that going into next game.”

On finishing the season strong:
“Coming down the home stretch of the season, we’ve all got minor injuries and are a bit mentally fatigued but we can’t use that as an excuse. We’ve just got to fight through it and focus on what we’re doing and keep fighting. I’ve got a lot of confidence in this team that we’ll be able to do that.”

Mark Jackson:

On the fourth quarter:
“They made plays, they made shots and they got to the foul line. They have a couple of guys over there that have had a lot success and they understand that the game is not over. We will get better at it. At the end of the day we made the right plays, enough plays to get out of here with a victory. Proud of my guys.”

On the Warriors' aggression tonight:
“It’s a message that was sent. I wanted my guys to understand that we are the better basketball team. We’ve played 72 games and the survey says that we are the better basketball team. That can’t be debated – through 72 games. We were not going to come into this game on our heels. We respect them and they have guys that will be in the hall of fame – I believe they have four of them. That being said, this is a different day and it’s a different basketball team. I thought it was important to be aggressive and let the chips fall where they may.”

On if he has to remind the team to be aggressive:
“I have a young basketball team. I was just reading where David (Lee) and Steph (Stephen Curry) said that it was their first time they have won 40 games. You can’t force the process. You have to be patient with them. I’m extremely proud of these guys and now this is the first time they have won 41. It’s something to celebrate. When we look at the other teams we are playing; they have experienced success, they know success and they recognize success. It’s something that is new to them and they truly deserve it. It’s all about them and they deserve it.”

On if he still has injury concerns with Stephen Curry:
“He’s proven. It’s not a concern to me and it’s not a concern to this franchise. Obviously, they stepped up and signed him long term. It’s not a concern for Steph (Stephen Curry). We know just how special a player and person that he is and we are fortunate to have him. People have freak injuries. Everything that has happened, even like the last time, he sprained his ankle and bruised his hip – that happens to the best of them.”

On if he had to be convinced to play Stephen Curry tonight:
“Watching him earlier today, watching him earlier this evening and then just spending time with him pregame – I’m not going to compromise him, this basketball team and more importantly I’m not going to compromise his future. When he told me he felt fine, I believed him. Bob (Myers) and I were in there together and the decision was to let him go, but I was going to keep my eye on him.”

Jarrett Jack:

On Stephen Curry:
“MVP candidate, in my opinion. What more could you ask of an MVP-type player? He’s been having incredible performances night in and night out battling through injuries. His ankle wasn’t 100 percent but he still gutted it out and had a phenomenal performance for us.”

On the offense in the first three quarters:
“If we defend, we can get whatever we want, we feel like. When we’re a team that really digs in and plays defense, our offense comes that much easier for us. Once we get in a rhythm and flow and play at Warriors pace, as we like to call it, we’re tough to defend.”

On the offense in the fourth quarter:
“I think we just stopped playing. We stopped being an aggressive, attacking team. We started playing half-court basketball and it’s kind of a tale of two halves. Those guys love to grind it out, they have the bodies and the big guys inside and it’s tough to deal with that sort of thing, plain and simple.”

On his performance:
“My teammates were drawing a lot of attention and were finding me open. I try to do the best I can and come through for them.”

On retaining their playoff position with the win:
“It’s psychological for us to play at a high level. We come out each and every night regardless of what place we’re in. I think nobody is paying attention to the standings, we’re just concerned about coming out strong.”

Klay Thompson:

On if beating the Lakers is gratifying:
“It is. You have to treat these last few games like playoff games every time. These games are huge for playoff positioning and we’ve got some teams around us trying to beat us. We’ve got to play hard and finish out strong.”

On his success from behind the arc this season:
“I’ve been able to shoot since high school, so nothing’s changed. I say just my confidence. I really trust my teammates and they do a great job of sharing the ball.”

On the defense in the first three quarters:
“When you hold a team under 40 percent shooting it’s a good night. They’re a good team and we just played our defense.”

On if the win gave the team confidence:
“Yeah, you have to treat every game like it’s a big game. You’ve got the Kings coming in here, another tough California team right up the street. We’ve got to treat all these games like it’s your last.”

David Lee:

On beating the Lakers:
“For the most part this year we’re trying to start fresh against these teams we haven’t beaten, games we haven’t won and things like that. But like you said, I think it’s a great win for us here at home and because of the standings right now it’s a big win in the race. We’re just excited; I think the last five or six games we’ve gotten back to playing Warrior basketball, and that’s exciting.”

On if the team can 'smell blood in the water':
“I think we’re starting to click. I think Andrew (Bogut) seems to be moving a lot better. I think we’re getting on all cylinders with me and him down low getting used to playing next to each other for an extended period of time and getting chemistry. Steph (Curry) is playing the way Steph has been playing for last three or four weeks now, and so has Klay, so we’re doing a good job.”

On Stephen Curry:
“We have a team that is a scrappy team and we’ve got a group of guys that are about the team. We’ve all had a couple games this year where we’ve had the option to play. Steph has had in the last couple of years plenty of games that he’s missed, and I know it’s really bothered him and it’s out of his control. When he has the option to play he’s going to do it. He’s a really tough kid, one of our leaders and he had a tremendous game tonight.”



Posted Mar 25 2013 12:22AM

The Golden State Warriors aren't sure if they'll have Stephen Curry available.

It may not matter against Kobe Bryant and the Los Angeles Lakers.

With the status of their leading scorer unclear, the Warriors attempt to continue their surge by beating the Lakers for just the second time in 20 meetings Monday night.

Golden State (40-31), sixth in the Western Conference, has won five of seven thanks in large part to Curry, who has averaged 30.2 points in those victories while hitting 59.6 percent from beyond the arc.

The All-Star guard turned in his best performance of that stretch Saturday before a right ankle sprain forced him to leave in the fourth quarter of a 101-92 win over Washington. Before getting hurt in the opener of this five-game homestand, he scored 35 points with eight assists while connecting on 13 of 18 from the floor - 6 of 10 from long range.

X-rays were negative on Curry's ankle, which he hurt on a hard foul by the Wizards' Cartier Martin while driving toward the hoop.

"Night in and night out, he's the best player on the floor," coach Mark Jackson said. "It's special to see, because when you play with players like that, it elevates everybody else and makes them believe we can win, because we've got the baddest dude on the floor."

The Warriors' struggles in the series come long before Curry joined the team in 2009. They've dropped 32 of 36 to the Lakers, including 15 of 18 at home after falling 118-115 in overtime on Dec. 22.

Bryant had 34 points, 10 rebounds and five assists in that meeting, and not surprisingly, he's the driving force behind the Lakers' dominance of the Warriors.

The superstar guard averages 30.6 points over his last 31 games against them, and 34.0 while playing in five of Los Angeles' six-game overall winning streak in the series.

Bryant wasn't able to keep the Lakers from blowing an 18-point second-half lead in Friday's 103-100 home loss to Washington. He finished with 21 points and 11 assists in his return from a sprained left ankle that sidelined him for two games.

"It's a disturbing loss and we're upset about it," Bryant said. "Our defensive intensity slipped a great deal in the second half and they took advantage of it."

Coach Mike D'Antoni feels the Lakers need to stick to the game plan.

"I can't explain it, but every time we get up 16, it's like, 'Well, we're really good and we don't have to play hard' and we start messing with the game," D'Antoni said. "When you start messing with not moving the ball, messing with 'I'm just going to go one-on-one every time,' and you start messing with the basketball gods, they will get you. If we don't change that we obviously won't make the playoffs."

Los Angeles, which is opening a four-game road trip, holds a two-game edge on Utah and Dallas for the eighth and final playoff position in the West.

A healthy Pau Gasol should help. The big man had four points and eight rebounds in 20 minutes Friday after missing more than six weeks with a right foot injury.

The starting lineup of Bryant, Gasol, forward Metta World Peace, center Dwight Howard and guard Steve Nash is 0-6 this season.

Copyright 2012 by STATS LLC and Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and Associated Press is strictly prohibited.
Probable Starters .
  #15 World Peace SF #40 Barnes  
  #16 GasolPF #10 Lee  
  #12 Howard C #12 Bogut  
  #24 Bryant SG #11 Thompson  
  #10 Bryant PG #30 Curry  

Lakers Kobe Bryant
(severe sprain, left ankle) is probable.
Pau Gasol
(strained plantar fascia, right foot) is probable.
Jordan Hill
(torn labrum, left hip/herniated disc) is out.
Dwight Howard
(torn labrum, right shoulder) is probable.
Antawn Jamison
(sprained right wrist) is day-to-day.

Jazz Stephen Curry
(sprained right ankle) is questionable.
Brandon Rush
(torn ACL and MCL, left knee) is out.

11/09 - GSW 77 @ LAL 101
12/22 - LAL 118 @ GSW 115
03/25 - LAL @ GSW
04/12 - GSW @ LAL