Rapid Reaction: Warriors 125, Lakers 94
October, 30, 2013
By Dave McMenamin
Oakland, Calif. -- Talk about a letdown. One day the Los Angeles Lakers, with their hodgepodge lineup and lowered expectations, were the prince and shocked the basketball world with a dominant season-opening win over the Los Angeles Clippers. The the next day, with a reality check as to why ESPN.com NBA experts picked them to finish 12th in the Western Conference for a reason, they were back to being the pauper.
The Lakers ran into a buzzsaw at Oracle Arena on Wednesday, facing a young, rested Golden State Warriors team making its season debut in front of a fan base that had been bubbling in anticipation ever since the Dubs' unexpected playoff run last spring.
There are two ways to look at it. You can say that the Lakers came away with a split against two teams that are expected to finish in the top four in the West this season. Or, you could say that their disgrace of an effort against the Warriors rendered their opening-night outburst a mirage.
Back-to-backs are never easy in this league, and if you believed the oddsmakers, the Lakers were supposed to start 0-2 with their early schedule, not even it out at 1-1.
There are rationalizations that can be made -- the Lakers had tired legs, they are still missing Kobe Bryant, the Warriors' Klay Thompson (a career-high 38 points on 15-for-19 shooting) had the game of his life -- but there's also a bit of an empty feeling after this one.
Was all that promise of a deep 11-man rotation full of hungry, athletic players waiting to break out just the Lakers' way of putting lipstick on a pig, or is it something that's just going to take time to develop?
Were the Lakers that terrible or were the Warriors so amped, so focused that it didn't matter who their opponent was -- almost the same way the Lakers were the night before?
The same questions that faced the Lakers all offseason long are back in full force.
How it happened: The Warriors were up by 10 after one quarter, 19 after two and 33 after three in a game that the Lakers never led. It was a rout, a butt whipping, an embarrassment for the Lakers. They never had a chance.
What it means: Time will tell. At the very least, there is still a lot of work for this team to do to determine who their consistent performers will be every night. You don't want to be an inch deep and a mile wide.
Hits: Jodie Meeks (14 points), Xavier Henry (14) and Jordan Farmar (12) all scored in double digits for the second straight game, but only Meeks (4-for-8) shot 50 percent or better out of the group.
Chris Kaman and Pau Gasol combined for 23 points on 10-for-19 shooting and 11 rebounds.
Misses: Steve Nash sat out, as part of the team's plan to rest him on back-to-backs. L.A.'s point guards struggled without him. Not that Nash had a huge game against the Clippers, but Steve Blake (10 points on 4-for-13 shooting, four assists) and Farmar did not look like the celebrated backups they are sold as.
Shawne Williams might not have much more time as the starting 4 after following up his 1-for-5 night against the Clippers with an 0-for-1 mark in 11 forgetful minutes Wednesday.
L.A. was outrebounded 48-39 as a team.
The Lakers had 17 turnovers leading to 22 points for Golden State.
Stat of the game: A night after going 14-for-29 from 3 themselves, the Lakers allowed the Warriors to shoot an incredible 15-for-27 (55.6 percent) from the outside.
Up next: The Lakers head back home to host the San Antonio Spurs on Friday, followed by the Atlanta Hawks on Sunday.