By Jessica Kwong
AP photo: The Los Angeles Lakers forward Larry Nance Jr (7) is pulled down by the Golden State Warriors guard Stephen Curry (30) as Curry’s teammates forward Andre Iguodala (9) and guard Ian Clark (21) watch at Staples Center on Friday night
LOS ANGELES – The star-studded Golden State Warriors – not the rebuilding Los Angeles Lakers – took a 117-97 beating at Staples Center on Friday night as the Splash Brothers had an unusually flat night.
Stephen Curry finished with 13 points while Draymond Green scored 16 points against a young, Kobe Bryant-less Lakers team. Golden State’s new star, Kevin Durant, lead scoring with 27 points, but they couldn’t manage to catch up to the energetic Lakers.
Warriors head coach Steve Kerr said his team had bad defense, no-flow offense, and a pretty lousy night all around.
“It’s our annual beat down at Staples by the Lakers, they do this every year. Let’s just give them credit – they came in sky high with a ton of energy,” Kerr said. “Played really well and we were flat, right from the beginning. Never even had a run the entire game.”
Los Angeles took a 8-0 lead to start the game, as D’Angelo Russell and Nick Young hit three-pointers. The Warriors hit just one of their first 11 attempts, and the Lakers ran away with a 24-15 lead at the end of the first quarter. Golden State committed 8 turnovers.
The Warriors tried to catch up in the second quarter and got within 41-34 at the half.
“That’s a young and hungry team with a new staff and their getting after it,” Draymond said. “We’re obviously going to get everyone’s best shot and we got to know that.”
The main thing the Lakers succeeded in doing was not letting the Warriors get back in the game. Players responded every time the Warriors tried to come back, “and that’s not easy to do against a team like that,” said Lakers head coach Luke Walton, who was an assistant coach for the Warriors last season.
“Our guys responded every time and that’s not easy to do against a team like that. Obviously, for us, it was nice that Steph and Klay went 2-20 from three. That helps,” Walton said. “But our guys, form the opening tip, really got after it tonight.”
The Splash Brothers couldn’t turn their game on in the second half either. More than halfway through the quarter, Durant made an alley-oop dunk from Curry to bring the Warriors within 75-68. With 30 seconds to go, they cut the Lakers’ lead to 89-82, but Lou Williams made a couple of free throws, Curry made a bad pass and Brandon Ingram stole the ball, and Jordan Clarkson hit a jump shot. Lakers led 93-82 at the end of the quarter.
“You can’t just rely on emotion. You have to be able to rely on execution to win consistently in the NBA. There’s going to be nights where you don’t quite have the energy or the emotion that you had the previous night, so you have to be able to rely on execution, defense and toughness,” Kerr said. “We had none of that.
While Curry and Green couldn’t seem to make three’s, Williams hit a couple in the fourth quarter as well as a slam dunk and a layup just before the 2-minute mark that gave the Lakers a whooping 20-point lead. With 17 seconds left, Clarkson stole the ball and walked it the other side of the court as the clock ran out and purple and gold confetti fell from the rafters.
“They had nothing to lose, they were playing with house money,” Durant said of the Lakers. “They came out playing loose, playing the game, playing together, playing with energy, feeding off their crowd and they hit us in the mouth.”
After the game, Curry didn’t think about losing his consecutive three-point steak until a reporter pointed it out.
“Oh yeah, that’s right. No, that was a cool little ride,” Curry said. “Would have been cool to finish my career making one every game.”
Kerr said starting 4-2 “is a good record,” and seeming a bit irked by the question from a reporter, said, “Last year has nothing to do with this year. I don’t care about last year.”
“I don’t care about the record now, I care about how we’re playing,” Kerr said. “We’ve been totally up and down … It seems like what we’re doing right now is we are going to win or lose based on our emotion and our energy and if shots go in and that’s not a good recipe in this league.”
The Warriors return to Oracle Arena to face the New Orleans Pelicans on Monday. Tipoff is at 7:30 p.m.