Warriors

Warriors takeaways: What we learned in 120-94 blowout loss vs. Lakers

Warriors takeaways: What we learned in 120-94 blowout loss vs. Lakers

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LOS ANGELES -- The Warriors' descent to the bottom of the league standings has been a sight to see through the first month of the season. 

On Wednesday, they added to the futility, losing to the Lakers 120-94, dropping their fifth straight contest. 

The loss marked Golden State's first five-game losing streak under coach Steve Kerr and snapped a three-game regular-season winning streak over Los Angeles. 

LeBron James made easy work of the Dubs' putrid defense, scoring a game-high 23 points to go with 12 assists, while former Warrior JaVale McGee finished with 18 points and 16 rebounds. 

Here are three takeaways from the loss:

Defensive doldrums

Warriors Insider Monte Poole did the honors of providing Golden State's woeful defensive stats, so I'll spare you the trouble. Nonetheless, the Warriors continued their season-long defensive struggle, allowing the Lakers to use this game as a cardio exercise. 

Playing against a battered squad, the Lakers pounced early, shooting 69 percent in the first quarter, including five 3-pointers. LeBron James scored 19 first-half points, adding six rebounds as the Lakers scored 64 points in the paint. 

Kerr has lamented his team's defense for most of the season, but Wednesday's performance tapped into what frustrates him the most: a total lack of effort. Under the current circumstances, the Warriors' lack of depth will assure that they'll lose most nights, but that doesn't mean they have to go down without a fight.  

Rebounds anyone?

Coinciding with Golden State's defensive woes was its inability to attack the glass, getting outrebounded 51-33 on the night. By the end of the evening, no player even cracked double digits in the category. 

Entering Wednesday, the Warriors were near the bottom of the league in rebounding, averaging just over 40 boards per game. With a frontline depth chart that included JaVale McGee and Dwight Howard, Los Angeles had the size to overwhelm Golden State's small frontline. 

But rebounding is about desire and as the Warriors showed Wednesday, they had very little of it. 

[RELATED: Kerr explains why Warriors-Lakers rivalry doesn't exist]

D'Angelo Russell shines 

In what has become a trend in recent weeks, D'Angelo Russell had a solid offensive night Wednesday, scoring 21 points to go with eight assists. 

Entering Wednesday, he was averaging 26.3 points and 6.5 assists per game, while shooting 45.1 percent from the field. Offense has never been an issue for Russell, and with Klay Thompson and Stephen Curry out, he'll have full rein of the offense and should flourish. 

Moving forward, he'll need to put the same amount of effort on the defensive end for the Warriors to have a slight chance most nights. 

Warriors' Steve Kerr says trade rumors don't affect D'Angelo Russell

Warriors' Steve Kerr says trade rumors don't affect D'Angelo Russell

D'Angelo Russell is rapidly approaching a date some NBA observers have circled since the Warriors acquired him this summer.

Golden State can trade Russell as soon as Sunday, Dec. 15, and the 23-year-old has been the source of trade speculation during his time in the Bay Area. The Athletic's Jon Krawczynski reported Wednesday, citing sources that the Minnesota Timberwolves "remain interested in Russell" and that the guard "seems to be realistic in understanding that he may not be long for the Warriors once Steph Curry and Klay Thompson return to full health."

Russell is averaging a career-high 22.4 points per game this season to go with 6.1 assists and 3.1 rebounds, serving as the top offensive option in the absence of his All-Star teammates. He knew he wouldn't play much with Thompson this season as he recovers from a torn ACL, but Curry's broken hand threw a wrench into the Warriors' -- and thus Russell's -- prospects this season. Warriors coach Steve Kerr praised how Russell has handled the rumors surrounding him. 

"Money doesn't buy peace of mind," Kerr said Friday morning (H/T San Francisco Chronicle's Connor Letourneau). "It doesn't buy a sense of belonging, a sense of, 'Alright, this is my team.' If there's speculation that you're going to be traded all the time, I don't care how much money you make, I don't care who you are. That's tough. That's no fun to deal with, and this season has been nowhere close to what D'Angelo thought it would be when he first signed with us.

"There's no Steph. We're struggling to win games. He's had his own injuries, and we're throwing all kinds of different lineups out there based on the other injuries we've faced." 

Russell has played in just 15 of the Warriors' 27 games this season, playing on a team that looks far more like the Los Angeles Lakers of his first two seasons than the playoff-contending Brooklyn Nets a year ago -- let alone the reigning Western Conference champion Warriors. 

[RELATED: How Warriors' Chriss earning chance to start at center]

Kerr, who entered this season with the highest winning percentage in NBA history (.785), is as aware of Golden State's dramatically different reality as anyone. He said it has only brought out the best in Russell. 

"So given all that, he's played really well, and he's been a great teammate and he's doing everything he needs to do to solidify his position here," Kerr continued. "But this is the NBA here, and we never know what's coming, what's happening. So, it's a difficult position to be in in general, but for him in particular it's strange set of circumstances and he's handling it really well." 

Whether or not the Warriors trade Russell, it's clear Kerr holds him in high regard.

Watch Warriors' Ky Bowman dominate for Santa Cruz in G League debut

Watch Warriors' Ky Bowman dominate for Santa Cruz in G League debut

Warriors two-way guard Ky Bowman made his G League debut Friday night in Santa Cruz.

He dominated the Agua Caliente Clippers of Ontario. 

The Boston College product could have scored 40 points if he really wanted to, but he picked his spots and made sure his teammates were getting good looks.

After shootaround in Utah on Friday, Warriors coach Steve Kerr was asked what Bowman can work on while he's with the Sea Dubs.

"He's got a really aggressive mindset -- which I like -- but there are still circumstances and situations where he needs to think more pass," Kerr said. "And more strategic, rather than just score, score, score."

Bowman clearly listened to the eight-time NBA champion.

[RELATEDWhy Dubs might be very active before, after trade deadline]

Also, "Sky Bowman" was on full display.

The 22-year-old will be back in action Sunday afternoon as Santa Cruz faces the Northern Arizona Suns. Watch the game at 2:00 p.m. on NBC Sports Bay Area.

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