photo from sfgate.com: The Golden State Warriors Andrew Wiggins (22) defends against the Los Angeles Lakers LeBron James (23) on Thursday night at Chase Center
By Jerry Feitelberg
San Francisco- The Warriors, without starter Draymond Green, who was out with back spasms, had another new lineup in the game against the LA Lakers Saturday night.
Eric Paschall started instead of Draymond. Ky Bowman replaced the departed D’Angelo Russell at point guard. Newly acquired Andrew Wiggins started in the other forward slot. Marquese Chriss remained at the center position and Damion Lee was the other guard.
The Warriors’ head coach Steve Kerr had to wonder how his team would perform. They traded six players in the last two weeks. They received just one player, Andrew Wiggins in return. They also received several draft picks as they are in the process of building the team for a successful season next year when Steph Curry and Klay Thompson return.
The Lakers entered the game with the best record in the Western Conference 38-12. The Warriors owned the worst 12-40. The Lakers are led by LeBron James, Anthony, Davis, Dwight Howard, JaVale McGee, and Avery Bradley. The game, on paper, looked to be an easy win for LA.
The Warriors gave the Lakers all they could handle. In the first half, The Dubs’ Marquese Chriss knocked down 20 points to lead his team. Wiggins had 13. The Lakers outscored the W’s 33-25 in the first period. The Warriors won the second quarter 34-33 to finish the first half trailing by seven 66-59
The Lakers did not relinquish the lead the rest of the way. The outscored Golden State by five in the third period to lead 96-84. It looked like the lakers were going to cruise to an easy victory.
The Warriors fell behind by fifteen 102-87. It was at this point that Kordan Poole, coming off the bench, showed the Lakers and the rest of the NBA the reason the Warriors picked him in the first round of the draft. The young man from Milwaukee, who played his college ball at Michigan, started making shots. He knocked 16 points in the fourth period to close the deficit it just five points.
The Lakers led 116-111 and they could not afford to remove their starters from the game. The Lakers had to hang on for dear life as Poole and Chriss continued to make baskets to keep the Warriors close. The Warriors ran out of time as the fell to LA 125-120.
Game Notes and stats- There were a lot of bright spots for the Warriors Saturday night. Marquese Chriss played well on both ends of the court. He scored a career-high 26 points to go along with 9 rebounds. Andrew Wiggins, in his first game as a Warrior, put 24 points on the board.
Jordan Poole had 19. Ky Bowman recorded 11 assists and seven points. Alen Smailagic recalled from the G-League scored ten points. Damion Lee had 8, Eric Paschall six.
Warriors’ head coach Steve Kerr had this to say bout the play of Andrew Wiggins: “I told him, `No matter what happens we need you to sprint the floor, both ways,” Kerr said after Wiggins scored 24 points in his impressive Warriors debut Saturday night.
The Warriors defense caused the Lakers to commit 24 turnovers. The one negative was that the Lakers outrebounded Golden State 47-33. The Warriors could not stop the Lakers’ big men LeBron James, Anthony Davis, JaVale McGee, and Dwight Howard from controlling the boards.
Anthony Davis led the Lakers with 27 points and 10 rebounds. LeBron scored 22 points, eight boards, 11 assists, and he connected on three threes. Avery Bradley finished with 21.