Short story: The Golden State Warriors took a 24-point beating at the hands of the rejuvenated L.A. Lakers at the Staples Center. The Lakers, hours removed from the surprising decision to fire head coach Mike Brown, certainly looked more like a team capable of a deep playoff run than they had in any game during their 1-4 start. Here are some quick-hit notes on the game.
The Problem with Jump Shots
We’ve seen it a couple of times now: the Warriors absolutely need their jumpers to fall for the team to have a chance to compete. After a decent first quarter of shooting, just about everyone in a Warrior uniform went cold, which led to 16 points in the second quarter, 17 in the third and 22 in a garbage-time fourth.
As a team, the Dubs shot just 33 percent from the field and 28 percent from beyond the three-point line. Only Festus Ezeli (2-for-3) and Jeremy Tyler (3-for-4) made more than half of their shots. Curry and Thompson both put up 6-of-16 efforts while shooting just four free throws between the two of them.
Going forward, the Warriors must find a way to score when their jumpers aren’t falling. They may not have been able to win this game even if they’d been hitting from the outside, but the loss to Sacramento on Monday is a prime example of just how shaky a jumper-dependent team can look. Part of the blame goes to coach Mark Jackson, who is proving himself to be totally incapable of making in-game adjustments. But just as much honus is probably on the Warriors’ players themselves, who continued to cast away and never forced the issue by trying to draw fouls in the paint.
This is going to be the team’s biggest offensive problem going forward. If they don’t fix it, the playoffs are out of the question.
It’s really hard to say whether the Lakers suddenly snapped into form after kicking Mike Brown to the curb. They won a game by 24 points, but even that doesn’t necessarily mean they’re world-beaters again. We’ve covered the Warriors’ cold shooting, which was a major reason for the Lakers’ victory. But L.A. only shot 40 percent themselves—and that figure got a nice boost during garbage time. It was under 40 percent for almost the entire game.
Pau Gasol definitely looked far more interested in competing than he had all year, and Kobe Bryant continues to get past the foot injury that has held him back in the early going. But the Warriors wouldn’t have beaten anyone last night with the way they played, so who knows?
One sure positive for the Lakers in the post-Brown era is that the bench finally showed up. Going into the contest, the Warriors’ bench was averaging 35 points per game, precisely double the average of the Lakers’ reserves. In this one, though, the Laker subs scored 37.
The Dubs Have No Chance Without Bogut
Bogut wasn’t much of a rebounder before the 7-10 day shutdown (he couldn’t get off the floor), but the Warriors sure could have used his size against L.A. on Friday.
The Lakers held a plus-11 advantage on the glass, which gave them enough second opportunities to offset their poor shooting. We’re learning that Festus Ezeli is not yet even an average rebounder at the center position—he pulled just three in 20 minutes against L.A. And without Bogut, we’re seeing more and more of the dreaded Landry-Lee frontcourt combination that never holds its own on the glass.
Rebounding issues aside, the Warriors simply give opponents everything they want inside with Lee and Landry in the game together. If Andris Biedrins has to play to avoid that, so be it.
The Dubs get back at it tonight at home against the Denver Nuggets. Tip off is at 7:30.