LOS ANGELES (News4usonline) – It’s only one game. Actually, the first game of the NBA regular season won’t matter much in late spring and the early summer months. However, for the Los Angeles Lakers, expectations are sizzling high considering the team went out and signed a bunch of high-profile free agents, including shooter Carmelo Anthony.
For LeBron James and Anthony Davis, it was a great night against the Golden State Warriors. James scored 34 points and had 11 rebounds. The stat line for Davis almost mirrored what James did against the Warriors. Davis finished his night with 33 points and 11 rebounds in nearly 39 (38:55) minutes of action.
Sounds like a winning formula, right? Wrong. Golden State and their new brand of Warrior basketball blitzed the Lakers with a 38-29 fourth quarter to win on the road with a 121-114 win.
“We didn’t finish quarters well the whole night,” Lakers head coach Frank Vogel said. “I think they closed the gap at the end of the third and then obviously we gave up a 38-point fourth quarter. If you do that, you’re going to lose most nights. The defense is just not on a string yet. We did a good job being up on Steph [Curry]. The backside was much better in the first half than the second half.”
As far as how James and Davis played, Vogel liked what he saw from his two top players.
“Those two guys were spectacular, obviously big nights for both of them,” remarked Vogel. “We’re going to be pretty good if we get those types of performances. We just have to be better defensively and just finishing other action. This is a team that is all new to each other. Everybody is finding their way a little bit. Each day we get a little bit better and a little bit more connected. Watch the tape and get better from it.”
The difference in the ballgame was how the game was played in the four quarters. Golden State scored 30 or more points in three of the four quarters played. On the flip side, the Lakers scored 30 or more points once, and that was in the opening period. Outside of James and Davis, the Lakers didn’t have another player score in double figures, including guard Russell Westbrook.
“We just have to do a better job of closing quarters,” Davis said. “We let [Jordan] Poole get going in the third and kept going off and they got the lead. It’s rotations, not that that’s an excuse, but AB [Avery Bradley] had one practice with us.”
Davis continued, “Obviously he knows our system so it’s kind of the same thing defensively, he’s a great defensive player. He had some miscues; I had a miscue on a [Andrew] Wiggins three in front of our bench when I was ready to go help block [Nemanja] Bjelica’s shot, and they kicked it out and got some offensive rebounds. They hurt us with the three towards the end of the game, so we have to be able to get our schemes.”
"Three by Curry!"— Golden State Warriors (@warriors) October 20, 2021
We've heard that before ? pic.twitter.com/vfRoIeWHDt
The Lakers’ defeat was a disappointing debut for Westbrook. Westbrook, who was obtained by the Lakers through a trade with the Washington Wizards, had a difficult night, scoring just eight points in 35 minutes of playing time.
“He has to be himself,” Davis said of his new teammate. “A lot of times, even in the preseason, he wants to get everyone involved and rightfully so, that’s what he does. He averaged a triple-double and wanted to get those assists and get guys open.
“But when we opened up the lane for him, a lot of times when he gets there they’ll fan back out and now he has a wide-open layup or a dunk, but he’s looking to pass,” Davis added. “We just want him to be himself, be aggressive, be Russell Westbrook, be the guy that we traded for.”
Westbrook said his tough night is more about how to be on the same with everyone else.
“We just got to figure it out, it’s that simple,” Westbrook said after the game.
The Warriors won this ballgame without Steph Curry going off and being Steph Curry. The NBA superstar didn’t need to. The Warriors had six players score in double figures.
“It’s a good confidence builder knowing we came in and got the job done,” Curry said after going producing a 21-point, 10-rebound, and 10 assist effort against the Lakers. “Everybody contributed and started develop an understanding of how offensively we’re going to create shots, move the ball, weather the storm.”
Curry continued, “The second or third quarter we went on a little run early, we kept our composure. We didn’t turn the ball over in the second half which was a huge benefit to maintain the pace and giving ourselves some looks. The fact that everybody who was on the floor contributed in a meaningful way kind of speaks to our depth and how we want to play going forward.”
Dennis is the editor and publisher of News4usonline. He covers the NFL, NBA, MLB, racial and social justice, civil rights, and HBCUs. Dennis earned a journalism degree from “The Mecca” aka Howard University. “I write on what I am passionate about.”