Warriors use second half surge to defeat Lakers in thriller, 128-121

Jason Parkhurst-USA TODAY Sports
Anthony Davis left early and Lebron James did all he could as Lakers fall in crucial game to Golden State

LOS ANGELES — For the second game in a row, the Lakers were playing with postseason implications on the line, and despite Lebron James’ remarkable offensive effort, they once again came up short. James finished with 40 points, 8 rebounds, and 9 assists while Anthony Davis left the game due to an eye injury and did not return. 

Even though the Lakers had the lead throughout much of the game, the late third quarter and fourth quarter minutes by the Warriors proved to be the difference. Austin Reaves had a rough game from the field, going 4/13, and outside of Rui Hachimura and D’Angelo Russell, the Lakers could not find much to stop Steph Curry and Klay Thompson. 

The Lakers are now 36-32 and fall to 10th in the Western Conference. 

Here are my three takeaways:

Any game would be tough without Anthony Davis, but especially so against a hungry Warriors team that was at full strength. James did all he could without his co-star, bullying in the paint, scoring from the outside, and using his speed in transition. While James did finish with 40 points, he affected the game in all facets, but this just shows how important Davis is for this team to win games. 

Davis left the game early with what Shams Charania of the Athletic categorized as a “corneal abrasion.” Steph Curry was scoreless in the 8 minutes that Anthony Davis did play on Saturday, and from then on ended up with 31 points. It seemed as if the paint was open the whole night regardless of who the Lakers had at center or manning the inside, with the Warriors taking advantage of pick and roll sets and back cuts. 

Davis is critical on offense for this team, but defensively is where they have struggled already without him, so if his absence is going to be extended, the Lakers could be in some trouble regardless of who they play. 

Every game from here on out is going to be crucial for the Lakers, and with the loss against the Warriors on Saturday, they now fall back to the 10th seed in the West. While there are still many games left to play, and plenty of time to move up, it is looking more and more bleak for the Lakers to get out of the play-in scenario. 

The Phoenix Suns are now 3.5 games ahead of the Lakers in the 6th spot, and the Dallas Mavericks are 2.5 games ahead of the Lakers in the 8th spot in the Western Conference. It is make or break time for this team, and with Jarred Vanderbilt and Gabe Vincent nearing a return, it could be crucial for the team to be at full strength as we head down the home stretch of the regular season in the NBA. 

The Lakers will now play the Atlanta Hawks on Monday in Los Angeles. Tipoff is set for 7:30 PM PST.