Scoring against the Warriors isn’t much of a problem for any team, let alone the Lakers.
In fact, in the three previous matchups between the two California squads, L.A. had averaged 124.3 points, all in winning efforts.
Make that four wins for a season sweep.
L.A. had to settle for 114 points on Thursday night at STAPLES in a game that was at once a blowout and a nail-biter.
A smoking hot 20-6 run to start the second half seemed to have put L.A. well on its way, but the plucky Warriors can score too, as they proved in coming almost all the way back late in the fourth quarter. A Monta Ellis layup made it 106-103 Lakers with 1:31 to play, but a key Trevor Ariza three pointer preceded two Lamar Odom free throws and a breakaway Ariza dunk to close the game.
It was the right way for the Lakers to go into their longest road trip of the season – a seven-game Eastern swing that commences in Chicago and concludes in Milwaukee – particularly after dropping the late January double OT contest vs. Charlotte prior to the six-game Grammy trip.
Leading the way for Los Angeles was Pau Gasol, who put up 21 points and 14 boards, while Sasha Vujacic contributed 12 points off the bench, highlighted by three three-pointers in a three minutes stretch around the start of the fourth quarter. Kobe Bryant needed 25 shots to get his 21 points, while Odom matched Gasol’s double-double with 16 and 12.
It wasn’t just Vujacic that was effective off the bench, which combined for 32 points (led by Vujacic), 13 boards (four from Josh Powell) and 12 assists (seven from Jordan Farmar).
The Lakers now take off … for a while. Their longest road trip of the year, seven games in 12 days, begins in Chicago and ends in Milwaukee.
Until then … a few numbers:
Straight games without a three-pointer for Luke Walton before his baseline triple in the second quarter.
Straight points for Golden State to cut what had been an 18-point third quarter lead down to six with just over a minute remaining.
Point margin in the first seven minutes of the third quarter, as the Lakers turned a one-point halftime lead into a 74-57 blowout.
Straight minutes played by Pau Gasol in the first half
Turnovers from the Lakers, allowing the Warriors to stay in the game.
Shooting percentage for both teams in the first quarter on 12-of-25.
Combined points for Monta Ellis (27) and Kelenna Azubuike (25) to pace the Warriors.
Wins for the Lakers.