In the basketball world, March Madness means the college game. Tell that to Stephen Curry and the Golden State Warriors.
The Warriors entered Sunday with a league-best 55-5 record with wins in seven straight games. The Lakers came in 12-51. worst record in the Western Conference. Las Vegas oddsmakers installed Los Angeles as a 17-point underdog.
That's why they play the games. Jordan Clarkson scored 25 points, Kobe Bryant had 12 and the Lakers turned the tables on the Warriors with a 3-point shooting barrage for a stunning 112-95 win.
Whatever happens in the upcoming NCAA Tournament won't be quite as stunning as this result. Golden State is the favorite for the NBA title and clear threat to break the 1995-96 Chicago Bulls single-season record of 72-10. Los Angeles is heading toward yet another a cellar dweller finish. None of that mattered.
Curry and the Warriors had a rare off night from distance. Actually, off night undersells Curry (18 points) shooting 1 of 10 on 3-pointers while splash brother Klay Thompson missed all eight of his attempts as the Warriors finished 4 of 30 (13.3%).
Clarkson -- yes, that Clarkson -- hit 4 of 6 3-point attempts while D'Angelo Russell (21 points) hit three and Nick Young (13) swagged two.
Leading 22-21 after the first quarter, the Lakers outscored the defending NBA champions 38-28 in the second for a 60-49 halftime lead. Everyone assumed a second half rally was on the way. Nope. After maintaining the 11-point lead entering the fourth, Los Angeles pulled away with a strong final period.
This is the 1st time in NBA history a team below .200 beat a team above .900 (min 50 games). pic.twitter.com/PHlj5S5Tpu
— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) March 6, 2016
At 55-6, the Warriors remain just ahead of the Bulls' pace, but losing this incredibly easy matchup eliminates all margin for error. Three games remain against the 53-9 Spurs, including two in San Antonio, where the Kawhi Leonard's haven't lost yet this season. Golden State opens a six-game homestand Monday against Orlando.
Ok, time to pick up your jaw off the floor. The Lakers won't make the NBA playoffs, but they now have a their main season-highlight. The Warriors have a 21 games left in their pursuit of history with the postseason on deck.
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