Lakers Can't Catch Warriors After Slow Start
LAS VEGAS — Before the preseason even began, the 2016 championship seemed to be Golden State’s to lose, as it added former MVP Kevin Durant to an already-loaded roster featuring two-time reigning MVP Stephen Curry and All-Stars Klay Thompson and Draymond Green.
Though Green rested, the remaining three feasted on buckets against the Lakers on Saturday, showing why they are the title favorites by jumping out to a 74-47 halftime lead in their 112-107 victory.
The Lakers’ reserves outscored the Warriors’ in the second half, 60-38, to make it more respectable, but even that margin wasn’t enough for victory.
Julius Randle — who had five points, seven rebounds and three steals — said the team can “absolutely” learn from this game given that the Lakers are trying to play a similar style to Golden State under head coach Luke Walton, who was an assistant there for the past two years.
“This is why you have preseason,” Luol Deng said. “… You learn from things like this. The offense they’re running they’ve been running for a while. This is not their first time.”
Thompson and Curry are certainly accustomed to the Warriors’ system, having scored 24 and 14 points, respectively, in the first half before sitting the rest of the game. But Durant is still the new guy on the squad, though he didn’t look it while scoring 17 points in 22 minutes.
On the other side, second-overall pick Brandon Ingram — who has been compared to Durant by many, including the four-time scoring champion himself — covered Durant on several possessions.
“He makes shots; he makes tough shots,” said Ingram, who had 12 points. “… It’s just amazing to see a player like that make all those shots and get after it on the defensive end.”
The Warriors were hot from tip-off, hitting eight of their first nine attempts en route to shooting 61.9 percent in the first half. Thompson was the one paving the way, scoring 18 points in the game’s first 10 minutes in front of his father: Lakers radio broadcaster Mychal Thompson.
“You’ve got to really rely on your team defense,” Deng said. “I thought in the first half we allowed their offense to dictate our way. We’ll get better at that, but that’s a team that can be explosive.”
The Lakers did have some good production when their backups faced Golden State’s — including from Nick Young, who scored 17 points in 18 minutes by shooting 6-of-9 with a trio of 3-pointers.
And while Larry Nance Jr. helped Los Angeles scratch back with four steals, the Warriors were simply too far ahead to reel in.
Walton said that there are “a million things” he wished he could have put in to counter Golden State, but that there is only so much he can teach in practice, especially to a young team that he wants to ensure is picking up these lessons.
“The priority is making sure that we are getting things in correctly,” he said. “If that ends up costing a couple of wins here or there then that’s something I think we have to live with as a group, because in the bigger picture it’s more important that we have those basics down and those fundamentals down.”
Lou Williams rested for the Lakers, while Green, Andre Iguodala and David West did the same for Golden State. … Jordan Clarkson started for Williams and scored 15 points on just 4-of-14 shooting. … A crowd of 15,821 was on hand at T-Mobile Arena.
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