That was a hell of a battle.
The Lakers carried a double-digit lead for a lot of the second half. Stephen Curry got free and got the Warriors back in it. But in the end, the Lakers held on and got a Game 1 win, 117-112.
The game plan seemed clear from both teams. The Lakers decided to attack the paint while the Warriors fired their artillery from afar. They dominated the points inside and the foul line. I know Dubs fans are going to complain about the free throw discrepancy but, dude, you’re not going to get foul shots if all you do is shoot threes.
The Lakers put Jarred Vanderbilt on Stephen Curry and it worked out perfectly for L.A. While Curry had a tough time shooting, Jordan Poole and Klay Thompson did their best to replace his perimeter shots. Meanwhile, the Warriors’ lack of size had no chance against Anthony Davis. He went for 23 points and 11 boards in the first half. Lakers led by the half, 65-64.
L.A. would stretch the lead as D’Angelo Russell (10 points in the third) and Austin Reaves (7 points) got on fire in the third. And then into the fourth, the Lakers would pile on to the lead even more. LeBron James made a jumper to make it a 112-98 lead.
Darvin Ham took Vanderbilt out in an interesting move. With Stephen Curry on the ball, he was able to make more plays. Curry scored 8 points in a 14-0 run to tie the game.
D’Angelo Russell made a short banker and LeBron split his free throws. The Warriors had a chance to tie and… well…
This was not a good shot by Jordan Poole. He certainly had time and he probably could’ve gotten closer for a better shot. Anyway, he missed the long one and the Lakers got the board. Dennis Schröder iced the game with two free throws not long after and L.A. has once again stolen home court in a series.
The Warriors kept up because they can shoot threes much better than the Lakers. L.A.’s going to have to do a little better at that. But there is no way the Warriors can stop Anthony Davis. No way Kevon Looney, Draymond Green, JaMychal Green, or Jonathan Kuminga can stop him.
On the other side, Stephen Curry can’t be held down forever, either. However, Jarred Vanderbilt did a very good job harassing him for most of the game. It’s clear that the Warriors are going to have him on the ball more when they face each other on Thursday.
Lakers killed the Dubs in the paint, 54-28. Warriors countered with 21 three-pointers while the Lakers only scored 6. But the inside attack and aggressiveness enabled the Lakers to have more free throws (25/29, .862). The Warriors only shot 6 free throws, making 5 of them.
Anthony Davis was a monster with 30 points, 23 rebounds, 5 assists, and four blocks. He also played just under 44 minutes. Not sure if he’ll play that many minutes again but the Lakers needed every second of his play. LeBron James played 40 minutes himself; he had 22 points, 11 rebounds, and four assists. D’Angelo Russell had 19 points and 6 assists; he had 10 in the third. And Dennis Schröder came off the bench to score 19 points and was great on both ends.
Curry scored 14 of his 27 points in the fourth quarter. Klay Thompson scored 25 and made 6 threes. Jordan Poole might have had his best game of the playoffs with 21 points and 6 dimes but his last three wasn’t exactly a great shot. Kevon Looney scored 10 points and grabbed 23 boards although he wasn’t in for most of the fourth as the Warriors tried to come back.
The Lakers have done their job but they’re going to be greedy and try to get Game 2. The Warriors might have found their mojo even if they came up short.
And we’re going to do this again on Thursday. I can’t wait. We all can’t.