Below is a running diary of L.A.’s Monday evening road contest at 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, Bryant, World Peace, Gasol and Howard
Warriors: S. Curry, K. Thompson, H. Barnes, D. Lee, A. Bogut
5:20 The Warriors got hot after starting the game 1 for 6, making five of the next eight shots, including two triples, to take a 14-10 lead into a time out. Steph Curry, who was a question mark to play after turning his ankle in the previous game, had five of the GSW points admist six consecutive Lakers misses before Kobe Bryant drained consecutive jump shots to stop an 8-0 run.
0:00 Things didn’t get any better for the Lakers, who fell behind by as many as 14 before two Antawn Jamison – playing through a sprained wrist – free throws cut the margin to 28-16 after 12 minutes. L.A.’s mission was to come out playing much better defense than was exhibited in blowing an 18-point lead to Washington in the last game, but they didn’t fulfill it early, the Warriors hitting 10 of 17 shots after starting the game 1 for 6.
7:09 All six Lakers points in the first five minutes came from Nash, now starting second quarters after resting earlier in the first to run things with Kobe sitting, but the Warriors were scoring even more, getting 13 points to open a 41-22 lead. L.A. were already in serious trouble.
0:00 It was a rough first half in general, needless to say, but the final 1.4 seconds were borderline inexcusable for the Lakers: After Gasol had cut the lead to 19 with a bucket at the rim, David Lee went right past three Lakers under the GSW bucket to tip home a Curry miss; then World Peace launched a full court pass that sailed out of bounds (it may have touched Lee, but no call was made), and with 1.4 still on the clock, the Warriors put Andrew Bogut back into the game – he set up shop under the rim, and L.A. allowed the Aussie to tip home an alley-oop, putting the Warriors up 63-40 heading into the break. A third straight loss for L.A. seemed only a matter of 24 more minutes.
Injuries have plagued L.A. all season, of course, but the return of Bryant and Gasol seemed to have throw off what had been a good rhythm for the team since the All-Star break. That’s expected to a degree, but time is surely running out for them to find it once again.
12:00 We found out at halftime that World Peace strained his left knee in the first half, and would not return, putting Meeks into the line up with Bryant moving up to the three. Meanwhile, Howard had needed three stitches to his lower lip after taking an elbow from David Lee late in the first half. Meanwhile, Golden State kept up its charge.
3:16 L.A. tried to mount an early rally in the third, cutting the 23-point halftime lead to 16 with a 5-0 run capped by Bryant’s jumper, but Laker-killer Jarrett Jack drained back to back jumpers, getting 11 points in the period to push the margin back to 20. Klay Thompson and Curry had done much of the early damage, but Jack was the guy maintaining, mostly from mid-range.
0:00 A run of free throw misses kept the Lakers from cutting further into the lead in the final seconds of the third, as Bryant hit 1 of 3, Gasol missed both after grabbing the offensive board, and Carl Landry scored on the other end with 11 seconds to go. Howard then missed two, Gasol again getting an O-board, before making 1 of 2. That was a total of 2 for 9 at the stripe, the Warriors happily taking a 94-76 lead into the fourth.
7:05 L.A.’s bench started the game hitting just 2 of 19 shots, before Jodie Meeks finally got a three to fall, cutting the lead back to 16 after early hoops from Jack and Lee had gotten it back into the low 20′s. The bench would finish a combined 7 for 26 from the field, Meeks and Blake adding a triple apiece later in the quarter.
2:51 The Blake three came with 2:51 to play, cutting the GSW lead down to just nine, the first time the Lakers had gotten the home team’s lead into single digits since the first quarter. But they had such little room for error due to the huge deficit, that consecutive misses from Nash – who’d play much of the second half – prior to Blake’s three were tough ones. The Lakers got another stop, their fourth straight, when Bryant’s pull-up three missed long. Yet another Warriors miss (Lee) led to Bryant’s bucket with 1:36 left, cutting it to seven at 105-98.
1:17 Golden State only needed one bucket to stave off LAL’s last-ditch effort, and they got one from Bogut, rolling to the rim against an uber-small Lakers line up of Nash-Blake-Meeks-Bryant-Howard, making it a 9-point deficit once again. L.A. got a final bucket from Nash with two seconds left to make the final score look much closer than the game was, at 109-103. It’s the third straight loss for the Lakers, who fall to 36-35 on the season, with Utah just a game back and Dallas 1.5 behind the eighth and final playoff spot.
L.A.’s road trip continues through Minnesota, Milwaukee and Sacramento: we’ll see you in Minneapolis on Wednesday.