OAKLAND – This time, it appeared the Golden State Warriors would only need three quarters instead of overtime to establish their superiority over the Los Angeles Lakers. Then, the Warriors learned a harsh lesson that work ethic can overcome even talent disparity and inexperience.
The Warriors still walked away with a 113-106 victory over the Lakers on Friday at Oracle Arena to cement their 11th consecutive win. But just like the two previous matchups that required overtime, the Warriors (26-6) did not escape easily against the Lakers (11-19).
After leading by as many as 23 points in the third quarter, the Warriors allowed the Lakers to open the fourth quarter on a 14-4 run that cemented their first lead of the game, a 89-88 advantage with 7:41 remaining. Suddenly, Kevin Durant’s continued efficiency (33 points) did not matter. Neither did Jordan Bell’s career-high 20 points. Neither did Draymond Green’s return to the lineup after missing four of the past six games with a sore right shoulder that entailed 13 points, 11 rebounds and seven assists.
After beating the Lakers twice in overtime this season, the Warriors appeared on the verge of needing extra regulation to settle the outcome. Lakers rookie forward Kyle Kuzma continued his standpoint play with 25 points on 8-of-13 shooting, two nights after dropping 38 in Houston. Lakers rookie guard Lonzo Ball discovered his shooting stroke from beyond the arc (4-of-5) to finish with 15 points. And Lakers forward Julius Randle added energy off the bench with 17 points.
But after Ball’s layup sliced the Warriors’ lead to 99-97 with 3:56 remaining, the Warriors went on a 6-0 run while holding the Lakers scoreless for nearly two minutes.
Hold your Christmas prayers.
Stephen Curry, who is recovering from a sprained right ankle, will very likely not play against Cleveland …read more
Source:: The Mercury News – Sports