Lakers 118, Warriors 115: Dec. 22 Running Diary

Below is a running diary of L.A.’s Saturday night road contest against Golden State, with some comments drawn from our @LakersReporter Twitter account, and a few more details in case you missed any of the action:

Lakers: Nash, Morris, Bryant, Gasol and Howard
Warriors: S. Curry, K. Thompson, H. Barnes, D. Lee, F. Ezeli

7:30 The first shot since Halloween from Steve Nash came from three-point range: swish. Lakers fans certainly appreciated seeing that happen, and in this case it tied the game at seven, early. Moments later, however, Dwight Howard picked up his second foul, on offense, and had to go the bench early. That brought Metta World Peace in, alongside Jodie Meeks, who replaced Darius Morris and his two fouls. Golden State was playing some physical D inside, with Howard, Gasol and Bryant all missing shots at the rim.

4:20 The Nash-Gasol pick and roll is going to be pretty fun to watch, folks. The first two times both produced buckets, first a Nash floater, than a Gasol alley-oop off Nash’s floated pass, with his left hand, in rhythm. I can’t remember the last time Gasol dunked the ball off screen/roll, as he’s often more of a popper than a roller, but with Nash, we should see it all. That put the Lakers up 17-14.

0:00 Nash checked out at the eight minute mark, but the Lakers continued to play well to close the period, getting some excellent bench energy from Jodie Meeks (a three-pointer), Metta World Peace (seven points, two assists) and Jordan Hill (four points, two rebounds), enough to take a 31-27 lead out of the period.

10:00 World Peace drained a triple to reach 10 points in his nine bench minutes moments after a fantastic defensive play from Meeks, who sprinted back in transition to break up what would have been an easy layup for Draymond Green. With that stop and triple, L.A. took a 36-31 lead.

0:00 From that point on, L.A.’s defense was very poor, and it didn’t help that Howard’s third personal foul put him on the bench with seven minutes to go. That allowed him to play only nine minutes in the half, in which he missed all but one of four shots, grabbed only two rebounds and had three of the team’s 12 turnovers. Bryant also struggled, hitting only 5 of 17 shots as he often complained about no calls, both factors leading to the Warriors taking a 61-53 lead into the break. Nash had seven points, four dimes and three boards in his 18 minutes, while the bench was a bright spot: World Peace had 11 points, Hill 10 points and four boards and Meeks five points with some good hustle in transition and on D.

9:13 L.A. needed a lot more from Howard, but got only three minutes out of him to start the third quarter, before he picked up his fourth personal foul. So he subbed out with four fouls, three turnovers, three rebounds and three points in his 12 minutes. L.A. cut the lead to five moments later when Morris scored at the rim, but a 5-0 Warriors run (capped by their 7th triple) put GSW back up by 10 at 71-61. David Lee was doing much of the damage, reaching 18 points with his eight boards on 8 of 14 shooting, countering Kobe’s push to 17 points on only 8 of 22 FG’s.

3:19 The 16th turnover of the night came on the offensive end, where L.A. had stacked up PF’s all night, Bryant being called for an off the ball call that GSW turned into a layup on the other end. The lead was 81-68, until a Nash alley-oop to Kobe cut the latest Warriors run, but an 11-point deficit meant far more work had to be done just to get back into it. Gasol was looking tired in just his second game back after missing eight with knee tendinitis, and Howard was on the bench, the two bigs combining for only 12 points and nine boards (nine and nine for the Spaniard).

0:00 A poor final minute for L.A. saw the Warriors build a 13-point lead heading into the final period. L.A. had erased an 18-point deficit to beat Charlotte at home on Tuesday, but they had the lead trimmed to seven starting the fourth quarter, and took the lead early in the period.

8:52 Howard picked up his fifth foul only 12 seconds into the fourth, but he stayed in, and was part of a 6-0 run that cut GSW’s lead to eight early in the period. L.A. was still within striking distance despite the struggles throughout.

6:50 Then, suddenly, a 13-0 Lakers run cut Golden State’s lead to just two at 90-88. MWP was instrumental, and Kobe capped it with a dunk after sitting for the first 11 points of the stretch. But at the 4:28 mark, Kobe capped a 7-0 run by draining a triple, and Jodie Meeks gave L.A. a 98-97 lead moments later. Great stretch of ball.

3:07 After L.A. took the lead, the Warriors got five straight points, Jack hitting a 3 and Barnes slamming home a miss, allowing a 102-98 lead. The crowd was going crazy, with both Warriors and Lakers fans freaking out at every bucket.

0:00 The final few minutes were entirely crazy: with 2:27 left, Howard hit two free throws, his biggest of the season, to get L.A. within two; Howard stripped Ezeli on the other end after an offensive board; Nash nailed a 27-foot three-pointer from the top of the arc to put the Lakers up 103-102 with 1:46 left; Ezeli slammed home an alley-oop with 1:35 left; Kobe countered with a 20-foot pull-up J; Lee hit a 16-footer to put Golden State right back on top; World Peace hit a corner three to put the Lakers up two with 24 seconds left; Jack hit a pull-up J nine seconds later to tie the game, and Kobe missed a baseline J that took us to overtime. Ridiculous display of shot making.

3:58 L.A.’s late shot making continued into the OT, as Howard slammed home a World Peace miss, and Bryant hit a weak side jumper off screen/roll run by Nash to make it 112-108. Jack had an answer, but Kobe scored again, open on the weak side once again thanks to Nash screen/roll. Kobe’s third jumper of the OT came as an answer to Thompson’s jumper, keeping the margin at four, though a Curry three with 33.8 remaining made it tight once again…

0:16.9 Enter Nash, who drained a step-back J in the lane to seal the 118-115 victory in a wild, potential team-building road game at Golden State in which the Lakers trailed by 13 entering the fourth quarter. Up next are the Knicks on X-Mas Day. See you there.