Three takeaways from Thompson, Warriors demolishing Lakers in Game 2 to even series
After one quarter, the Lakers were up 7, LeBron James had 14 points while knocking down a couple of 3s (the Lakers as a team were 5-of-8 from beyond the arc), and Los Angeles dared to dream of a 2-0 series lead.
Then the Warriors happened. Over the next two quarters Golden State scored 84 points on 56.4% shooting with 14 3s, they were getting buckets at the rim too, and had 25 assists (to seven turnovers).
After three quarters the Warriors were up 30 and it was garbage time. The final was 127-100 (that’s with the Warriors not scoring in the final 4:30 of the game). The series is tied 1-1 heading to Los Angeles for Game 3 on Saturday.
Here are three takeaways from Game 2.
1) Warriors’ defense came to play, crowded paint, led to transition buckets
In Game 1, the Lakers forced their style of play on the Warriors, pounding the ball inside and scoring 54 points in the paint (26 more than Golden State). Anthony Davis feasted and the Lakers drew fouls.
The Warriors got the message and their defense showed out in Game 2.
“They did a good job of crowding the paint, preventing us from playing downhill as much, and that in turn affects what we do at the free throw line,” Lakers coach Darvin Ham said postgame.
The Lakers still scored 42 points in the paint and got to the free throw line 17 times (well below the 29 in Game 1). However, an attacking Warriors offense won the battle of points in the paint by six points (the Warriors also had 33 points from beyond the arc).
Their weak side help on Anthony Davis — which was slow in Game 1, reacting like they were still playing the Kings’ shooters — was on point.
All that defense led to the Warriors pushing the pace from the opening tip. While the Lakers ran as much as the Warriors (according to Cleaning the Glass), the Warriors had a 166.7 offensive rating in transition, while the Lakers were at 46.2. The Warriors ran, got to the bucket or found open shooters at the arc.
six two Klay Thompson showed up, dropped 30
The Lakers executed their game plan of turning Stephen Curry into a playmaker more than a scorer — don’t let him get hot and beat them from 3.
The problem with that plan: Stephen Curry is an outstanding playmaker. Curry finished the night with 12 dimes, and carved up the Lakers with his handles and passes.
The other problem: it gave room for Klay Thompson to get loose, and once he gets rolling there is no stopping him. Thompson scored 30 and had eight 3-pointers.
All the Warriors starters finished in double figures.
That includes JaMychal Green, who got the start in place of an ill Kevon Looney (who still played, but just 12 minutes. Green finished with 15 points, but the fact he was a threat from 3 spread the Lakers’ defense out in a way Looney does not. Steve Kerr has a history of sticking with what works, so expect Green and the small-ball lineup to get the start in Game 3 even if Looney is healthy.
That small ball also worked because Draymond Green played a much better, much more aggressive Game 2.
3) It was a rough night for Anthony Davis
Anthony Davis remains the bellwether for the Lakers and this series — he has to be the best player on the floor for them to win.
He was not in Game 2.
Davis finished with 11 points on 5-of-11 shooting, seven rebounds, and while he had three blocks he did not have the same defensive impact as in Game 1.
The Warriors’ defense on AD was much sharper, starting with the weak side help coming in on pick-and-rolls. That being on point took away the quick finish for a bucket that is maybe Davis’ biggest strength.
The Lakers forced Davis into jump shots, making him more of a decision-maker and playmaker on offense. This is a Warriors trademark, they love to turn mobile bigs into jump shooters (just as Domantas Sabonis), and while AD will make some of those that is not when he is at his best,
Defensively, in part because of JaMychael Green starting, Davis was playing higher out n the floor defending pick-and-rolls, and that meant more short-roll passes for the Warriors and they thrived with that.
LeBron James led the Lakers with 23 points on 10-of-18 shooting with three 3-pointers.
Rui Hachimura knocked down eight 3-pointers on his way to 21 points off the bench for the Lakers.