Shoved, slapped and kicked into submission by the sorriest team in the Western Conference. That’s how the Warriors went out Sunday afternoon in Los Angeles.
And when the Lakers weren’t dropping the hammer, the Warriors were punching holes through themselves.
They strolled out onto the floor at Staples Center and quickly got into a real fight – which, given the profoundly tame and lame status of the current-day Lakers, was like being attacked by a gang of giant hamsters.
And the Warriors fell apart like never before this season, leaving Southern California with an assortment of bites and bruises, as well as the sting of a ghastly 112-95 loss that ranks as one of the biggest regular-season shockers in NBA history.
“It was just a bad performance all the way through,” Stephen Curry told reporters in Los Angeles.
Warriors coach Steve Kerr considered this rotten egg of an effort a lesson in professionalism for a Warriors team that has established a standard of exactly that.
“It’s actually pretty easy to explain,” Kerr said. “It’s the NBA, and if you’re not ready to play, anything can happen, and we weren’t ready.
“We had zero attention span out there at either end of the floor. Our guards were leaking out, not helping on the glass, turning ball over, over and over again. Not following the scouting report defensively. Not putting any pressure on the ball.”
The Warriors have been the best team in the NBA all season, while the Lakers have been one of the absolute worst. That what makes this outcome the so astonishing.
This was, according to Elias Sports, the first time ever that an NBA team winning more than 90 percent of its games had ever met a team losing more than 80 percent of its games so deep into a season.
“We didn’t have much energy to start the game for whatever reason and they played well obviously,” Curry said. “They were very aggressive [and] executed pretty well. We turned the ball over too much in the first half and didn’t give ourselves any opportunities.”
[INSTANT REPLAY: Lifeless Warriors handed sixth loss by Lakers]
How bad was it for the Warriors? Let us count the ways.
1) The Warriors, who rank second in the league in field-goal percentage offense, were outshot from the field (47.1 percent to 40.2) by a Lakers team that ranks last.
2) Tops in the league in 3-point shooting, the Warriors were outshot from deep (37.5 percent to 13.3) by the team that ranks last in shooting beyond the arc.
3) The Warriors committed 20 turnovers against a team that forces the third fewest (10.9 per game) in the NBA. Those giveaways led to 22 points for the Lakers, who won for only the second time in a month. Their record improved to 13-51.
From a micro standpoint, it gets worse. Klay Thompson and Curry, the sweetest-shooting duo in the NBA, combined for 33 points on 13-of-40 shooting, including 1-of-18 from deep. Lakers guards Jordan Clarkson and D’Angelo Russell outdid them, combining for 46 points on 16-of-35 shooting and 7-of-13 beyond the arc.
“The Lakers played a great game, and I’m happy for them; I really am,” Kerr said. “That’s a tough season to go through, and it’s no fun to be on that end of things. This was a great win for them and they deserve it, and I’m happy for them. We got what we deserved. ”
What the Warriors got was one of those games they never want to see or feel again, the kind of no-show performance with which they never want to be associated.
“It was kind of one of those things,” said Draymond Green, who committed seven turnovers, “where it’s like ‘come on, let’s go now’ and we cut it to eight like ‘alright, here we go.’ We just couldn’t get over the hump.
“But hey, it happens. It just can’t happen anymore.”
Yet the Warriors are stuck with this one, an afternoon during which they never seemed to shake themselves awake.
“We didn’t have energy and we didn’t play defense,” center Andrew Bogut said. “It’s as simple as that.
“We just had a flat game. We have actually stole a few of these types of games but tonight we didn’t have anything to give.”
What the Warriors gave was the worst show of a season in which they often have elevated the game to art.
What they gave the Lakers was the gift of errant passes and open shots until the game become one the Warriors could not retrieve.