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sport / / BANG: Warriors meet moment to beat Lakers in possible play-in preview

o BANG: Warriors meet moment to beat Lakers in possible play-in previewAllen

BANG: Warriors meet moment to beat Lakers in possible play-in preview


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From: (Allen)
Subject: BANG: Warriors meet moment to beat Lakers in possible play-in preview
Date: Sun, 17 Mar 2024 22:11:34 -0000 (UTC)
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 by: Allen - Sun, 17 Mar 2024 22:11 UTC

They were lucky Davis couldn’t play after the first quarter. -AL

Warriors meet moment to beat Lakers in possible play-in preview
Steph Curry returned after missing three games with a sprained right ankle

>LeBron James #23 of the Los Angeles Lakers dribbles past the defense of
> Trayce Jackson-Davis #32 of the Golden State Warriors during the first
> half of a game at Arena on March 16, 2024 in Los Angeles,
> California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by
> downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms
> and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Sean M.
> Haffey/Getty Images)

Danny Emerman is a Bay Area News Group sports reporter
By DANNY EMERMAN | | Bay Area News Group
PUBLISHED: March 16, 2024 at 8:11 p.m. | UPDATED: March 16, 2024 at 8:44 p.

LOS ANGELES — From the courtside celebrities to the star power in the
nationally televised game and tense finish, much of Saturday night’s game
felt like a playoff game.

The Warriors and Lakers, projected to play each other in the 9-10 play-in
round exactly a month from Saturday’s meeting, lived up to the big-game

Each team appeared to bring their top-level intensity, Warriors coach Steve
Kerr trimmed his rotation to a playoff-style nine. The game took on a
different tone when Lakers star Anthony Davis suffered a corneal abrasion
and didn’t return after the first quarter. And then it turned bizarre at
the end, when the shot clock became suddenly fried.

Still, in front of Kim Kardashian, Bad Bunny and Novak Djokovic, Steph
Curry, Klay Thompson and Jonathan Kuminga combined for 80 points for a
much-needed victory. The defense might not have been up to postseason par,
especially with Davis off the court, but the Warriors (35-31) absorbed a
playoff-caliber LeBron James performance (40 points, nine assists, eight
rebounds) in the 128-121 win.

The Warriors had this game circled for at least a week: their I-5 rivals in
enemy territory, with a chance to surpass them in the standings and take a
step toward a coveted tie-breaker. Not to mention an individual matchup of
LeBron James and Steph Curry, the two defining stars of their generation.

Kerr reminded the team just how consequential this game is at practice at
UCLA on Friday.

“I believe in this team, I believe it can make a really good run, and this
is obviously a big game if we’re going to make that run,” Kerr said

Except for the shot clock issues and replay review stoppages that made the
final two minutes last 20 and required the public address announcer to
manually announce the shot clock, the contest felt like more than a regular
season game.

Curry didn’t rush his recovery from the ankle sprain that knocked him out
the previous three games, but made note of the point in the season the
Warriors find themselves in when discussing his imminent return with
reporters. He wasn’t going to miss this game.

On the Arena court pregame, Curry went through a full-speed
round of warmups. It took him a few tries, but he nailed a halfcourt shot
to end the routine, skipping over to assistant coach Anthony Vereen to
celebrate. He took a photo with former MLB superstar Albert Pujols and
trotted back to the locker room. Curry, and the entire joyous, spectacular
package that comes with him, was back.

But it was Curry’s backcourt partner, Thompson, who carried the Warriors as
Curry went scoreless in the first quarter. Thompson dropped 18 in his first
eight minutes. He hunted shots from the 3-point arc and midrange and worked
the two-man game with Trayce Jackson-Davis for an and-1.

Curry’s first bucket came five minutes into the second quarter. By then,
James had registered 16 points and six assists on 6-for-6 shooting. At
least on the offensive end, he treated the game like it carried some extra

Golden State surged with Davis in the locker room for the entire second
quarter due to an apparent eye injury. When Davis was on the court,
especially as Draymond Green rested, the Warriors looked way too small to
contend with Los Angeles’ front line.

With Davis unavailable, Curry got going with drives and Green found
Jonathan Kuminga on consecutive alley-oop lobs — one from halfcourt and
another on the short roll — to earn a halftime lead.

Davis’ absence allowed Golden State to play inside-out. To create a Curry
four-point play, every Warrior touched the ball. Then he and Kuminga drove
for consecutive layups.

Without Davis protecting the rim, Golden State scored 35 points in the
third. James prevented them from sustaining a double-digit lead, sensing
the Lakers needed him to take over.

The Warriors matched James’ fourth quarter minutes with Kuminga and
Curry’s, hoping to mitigate the 20-time All-Star. But consecutive and-1s
from James through Kuminga trimmed Golden State’s 10-point lead to six.

Green guarded James slightly more down the stretch, but James still played
bully ball, constantly attacking the rim and either finishing or earning
free throws. He drilled a step-back 3 in the corner over Curry, which for a
moment inched the Lakers within four but later got negated because he was
out of bounds. The replay review might’ve been the biggest swing of the

In a strange twist, the game ended with the Lakers’ PA announcer manually
informing the arena of the dwindling shot clock. By then, a playoff-level
game devolved into a bizarre, embarrassing footnote. One that the Warriors
finished off.

sport / / BANG: Warriors meet moment to beat Lakers in possible play-in preview


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