by Jerry Feitelberg
Oakland- Klay Thompson scored 28 points Saturday night to lead the Warriors to a 115-101 win over the Los Angeles Lakers. The Lakers were without the services of LeBron James. James returned to action after missing 17 games due to a groin strain suffered on Christmas Day in a game against the Warriors. James played 40 minutes in the overtime win over the Clippers Thursday night and woke up very sore. Lakers’ coach Luke Walton gave him the night off.
The Warriors got off to a good start in the first quarter. They had an early 14-point lead 22-8, but the Lakers got their offense going to make in 22-14. The Warriors shot a blistering 64% in the quarter and held the Lakers to 35%. However, they did not blow the Lakers away. They held a nine-point lead 33-24 at the end of the first twelve minutes of action. The Lakers won the second quarter 34-30 to finish the half trailing 63-58. Klay Thompson led the Warriors with 23. The other half of the Splash Brothers, Steph Curry, could not make a shot. He made just two free throws, and that was it.
The Lakers continued to double-team Curry and Kevin Durant in the third quarter. Lakers’ coach Luke Walton’s strategy was to not let Steph or KD get any open looks and force the other Warriors to beat them. The theory worked as the Lakers opened the third period with a 22-68run to take the lead 81-71. The Warriors behind the play of DeMarcus Cousins, Kevon Looney, and Andre Iguodala chipped away at the Laker lead until late in the third period when Iguodala nailed a three to give the Warriors a two-point advantage 88-86 after three-quarters of play.
Steph Curry, who was held to just two points and had missed all of his shots, came to life in the fourth quarter. He knocked down twelve points and the Warriors outscored the Lakers 27-15 to seal the win.
Game Notes and Stats- The Warriors needed help from DeMarcus Cousins and Andre Iguodala to pick up the lack of production from Steph Curry. Cousins responded with a double-double. He Scored 18 points and had 10 rebounds. Iguodala kicked in with 17 and he connected on three 3-point shots in four attempts. Klay Thompson finished with 28 and Kevin Durant had 21 points and 11 assists for another double-double. The Warriors recorded 31 assists on 41 field goals. They were moving the ball well.
The Lakers had six players in double figures. Brandon Ingram led the Lakers with 20. Kyle Kuzman had 13, Rajon Rondo 10, Kentavius Caldwell-Pope 12, Ivaca Zubac 10, and Lance Stephenson, 10. Former Warrior JaVale McGee was presented with his 2018 championship ring prior to the start of the game. McGee received a nice ovation from the Warrior fans. The Lakers are 6-12 when LeBron James is not in the lineup.
The Warriors return to action on Wednesday against the San Antonio Spurs at Oracle Arena. Game time is at 7:30 pm.