Photos by Guri Dhaliwal (Martinez News-Gazette)
The Lakers came out flat, barely tried to run competent offense for most of the night and played so little defense in the first quarter that their coach said on national television that they were “not honoring the game.” Nevertheless, despite the Lakers’ best efforts to give this one away with 24 turnovers, they managed to win anyway, coming out with a 125-120 victory mostly because the Warriors are terrible.
Wiggins gave the Warriors a bit of a spark in his debut (finishing with 24 points) while Marquese Chriss casually dropped 20 points in the first half because the Lakers refused to guard him. But L.A. decided to try for a few minutes to start the third quarter, and it was enough to give them a large enough cushion to survive the night with a victory despite Vogel continually needing to burn timeouts in order to stop Warriors runs down the stretch, and even with the worst team in the league keeping a game the Lakers led by as much as 21 points within 5 for most of the last few minutes.
Still, even if this was about as unimpressive a win as the Lakers have had all season, there were a few positives to take away. Avery Bradley continued his red-hot shooting of late, knocking down five of his seven attempts from deep to finish with 21 points. And while this wasn’t LeBron James’ best game of the season, he did manage to make some history from behind the arc.
In the third quarter, James moved into the top 15 in all-time 3-pointers made in the game, and knocked down three triples total to finish the night with 22 points, 11 assists and 8 rebounds (including one final 3-point dagger to ice the game with 16.9 seconds left).
And a win is a win, no matter how unimpressive. This one moves the Lakers to 39-12, and it’s the team’s third victory in the last four games. The Lakers will now head home and get Sunday off before hosting the Phoenix Suns at Staples Center on Monday night. That will be the team’s second-to-last game before the All-Star break, a vacation they desperately appears to need. We’ll see if the Lakers sputter all the way there, or actually try to exert themselves in one or two of these remaining games.