As if on brand for their season to date, the Golden State Warriors have fallen 145-144 in a double overtime thriller against the Los Angeles Lakers at Chase Center on Saturday night.
In a classic duel between all-time greats Stephen Curry and LeBron James, the Warrior superstar put his team in front after a clutch three-pointer with 4.7 seconds left in the second overtime. But the 39-year-old James responded, calmly knocking down two free-throws after being fouled with 1.2 seconds left.
The Golden State Warriors meeting with the Los Angeles Lakers had everything, including its fair share of controversial refereeing decisions
As they've done on countless occasions, James and Curry went head-to-head down the stretch as the legendary pair combined for 82 points in the contest. James had 36 points, a season-high 20 rebounds and 12 assists in an unbelievable triple-double, with Curry nailing nine threes on his way to 46 points along with seven assists.
Yet for all the greatness that was on display, the game was inevitably marred by some controversial decisions late in regulation and throughout overtime. That included an inadvertent whistle that caused a jumpball with 22 seconds in regulation, while the Lakers were upset by a decision not to review a potential flagrant 1 foul after Draymond Green intentionally fouled Anthony Davis.
The contrasting styles of each team were evident, again leading to a notable storyline regarding the free-throw differential. The Lakers made 38 of their 43 attempts, talliyng 27 more than the Warriors who went 11-of-16. Curry got to the line on just three occasions, with the two-time MVP repeatedly left frustrated by some non-calls when driving to the basket.
Golden State had earlier led by 15 in the third-quarter after a blistering 25-5 run to the start the second-half. With Andrew Wiggins, Jonathan Kuminga and Draymond Green starting together in the frontcourt, the Warriors briefly found some of their best basketball after giving up 68 points in the first-half.
While Los Angeles immediately responded with a 14-0 run of their own, Golden State appeared in control when they led by nine with four minutes remaining in regulation. But as has been the case countless times this season, their offense dried up as the Lakers went on a 12-0 run.
Back-to-back Curry layups forced overtime, including the second coming after a beautiful crossover on Davis. Klay Thompson forced a second overtime after a clutch three coming with just seven seconds left in the period, but the veteran sharpshooter fouled out shortly after.
After a rough 1-of-8 shooting, two-point first-half, Thompson came alive in the third-quarter and finished with 24 points on 6-of-17 shooting from deep. Wiggins also went 3-of-4 from deep as Golden State went 23-of-58 from beyond the arc in contrast to Los Angeles' 9-of-27.
Kuminga recorded his sixth-consecutive 20-point game with 22 points and nine rebounds, though his late defensive effort on a driving James was rightly scrutinised by TV analyst Doris Burke. Green had eight points, 14 rebounds, 11 assists, three steals and two blocks, finishing incredibly as a +31 in his near 46 minutes.
The loss pushes the Warriors back to a 19-24 record on the season, with the pain only heightened by the Lakers advancement to the ninth-seed in the Western Conference with a 24-23 record. The two teams will meet a further three times over the remainder of the season.