The Warriors' season is not yet over, but there was little looking on the bright side for Golden State on Wednesday night.
After leading through three quarters, the Warriors lost a 103-100 nail-biter to the Los Angeles Lakers at Staples Center. Golden State led by 13 points at halftime, clawing back in the fourth quarter to hold a 3-point lead with 3:08 remaining.
Then, the Lakers finished the night on an 8-2 run, capped off by LeBron James' miraculous, shot-clock-beating 3-pointer.
"I couldn't be more proud of the team for what they've become over the last couple of months, but this is a bitter pill to swallow," coach Steve Kerr told reporters in a postgame video conference. "This was our game, and we couldn't get it done."
The Warriors limited James to six points, seven rebounds and four assists in the first half, out-scoring the Lakers by nine in the reigning NBA Finals MVP's minutes. But James and LA found another gear in the second half while Golden State clung to a shrinking lead.
James scored 16 second-half points in 17:27 of action, finishing the half a whopping plus-22. Anthony Davis wasn't far behind. He played the entirety of the second, scoring 20 points and grabbing nine rebounds.
Davis started at power forward, but the Lakers opted to use him as a center in the second half to counter the Warriors' smaller lineup. Still, Golden State very nearly held off LA's surge.
The Warriors had the ball and a chance to tie the game with 2.1 seconds left, but Davis' defense on Curry ensured the sharpshooter couldn't even get a game-tying shot off as time expired.
"[Loved] the way our guys responded in the fourth, coming back to make big plays, and take the lead and give ourselves a chance to win," Kerr said. "But we just couldn't quite pull it off."
A win Wednesday would've saved the Warriors a lot of stress, as Golden State would've advanced to a first-round playoff series with the Phoenix Suns. Now, the Warriors must beat the Memphis Grizzlies on Friday at Chase Center, all in order to advance to play the top-seeded Utah Jazz in the first round.
The Warriors have been using an eight-man rotation due to injury and illness, and they could've used the extra two days off to rest and prepare. Instead, Golden State must now beat Memphis for the second time in a week in order to extend its season.