It would be the understatement of the decade to say that things haven’t been going great for the Los Angeles Lakers this season. It would be an even bigger understatement to say that the Golden State Warriors have been having one of the most incredible campaigns any major sports team has ever had. And yet, yesterday at Staples Center, the Lakers made one of the biggest upsets of this NBA season, beating the Warriors 112-95.
Going into the last night’s game, the Warriors were 55-5 and on their way to the greatest regular season an NBA team ever had in the league. On the other hand were the Lakers with the 12-51 record, doing their best to pick first in the Draft and get Ben Simmons as another young star on the team that will (hopefully for Lakers fans) finally start rebuilding next season. People were expecting a trumping, to say the least. People were expecting the Warriors to win this one 150-50.
So, what the hell happened in LA yesterday? No, the Lakers didn’t invent a time machine to get the young Kobe Bryant to single-handedly demolish the young Dubs. In fact, Kobe went only 4 of 14 from the field for the modest 12 points. Instead, they relied on their two young stars, D’Angelo Russell and Jordan Clarkson who had what is probably their best joint game, with Clarkson pouring in 25 and Russell 21 points. Russell also had five assists and four steals. Even Huertas looked like a half-serviceable players last night.
Clarkson scored 23 of his 25 points in the first three quarters and he was the main reason why the Lakers controlled this game from early on. It was the strangest thing in the world. It was not as if they went on an insane run sometime in the game. No. They got in control of it by the end of the first half and they just kept on pounding on the Warriors.
In the end, however, it was not that the Lakers played particularly well; it was that the Warriors played their worst game of the season. The entire Dubs team shot 4 of 30 for three and Curry and Thompson shot 1-of-18 from beyond the line. It was by far the worst shooting night of the Splash Brothers’ career. It didn’t help that Draymond Green also had an appalling game, not being able to hit the broad side of the barn and turning over the ball 7 times.
It was the perfect storm for the Warriors – they played the worst game of the last two seasons and the Lakers had one of their better ones.