It wasn’t their biggest come from behind victory, but it was the most impressive.
Ten days after erasing a 22 point deficit to beat the Los Angeles Clippers, the Warriors (7-6) overcame an early 19 point hole to beat the Lakers (11-4) in Los Angeles, 115-113, in one of the most entertaining games of the young season.
It looked like Golden State was on pace to get blown out, something they’ve made a habit of vs. the cream of the crop this season. The Warriors trailed 34-15 in the first quarter, and 64-48 at the end of the first half.
Out of nowhere, the Warriors found their counterpunch, erasing the lead by outscoring the Lakers 67-49 in the second half, and improbably dominating them with a 34-21 fourth quarter.
Golden State finally evened things up with 3:13 to go thanks to Kelly Oubre’s driving layup, his biggest bucket in his best game as a member of the Warriors.
To add to the improbability, it was Draymond Green who gave the Warriors the lead with consecutive layups down the stretch, driving to the hoop twice as multiple Lakers defenders ran out at Stephen Curry in the high pick and roll. The it was Curry himself who nailed the dagger just moments later, hitting a deep three over Anthony Davis to give Golden State a five point lead with less than a minute left.
CURRY OVER DAVIS pic.twitter.com/4H1GWkgXqy
— KNBR (@KNBR) January 19, 2021
Though Curry (26 points, 7 assists) and Green (7 points, 8 rebounds, 9 assists) shared the late game heroics, the Warriors’ primary counterpunch was their bench, and some credit for that should go to Steve Kerr.
The second unit was spectacular, responsible in large part for a 22-6 second quarter run that put Golden State back in the game, and a 19-6 third quarter run that put them within striking distance. One of Kerr’s most successful tweaks this season was inserting Eric Paschall as the focal point of that group as a small-ball five. On Monday he was perhaps their best player, bullying the bigger Lakers defenders for 19 points in 19 minutes.
But Kerr made another successful tweak to that lineup that was just as crucial, inserting the struggling Kelly Oubre for Andrew Wiggins. Kerr is clearly trying to find a way to get Oubre going without pulling him from the starting lineup, and he may have found a solution.
Oubre finally looked like the player Golden State thought they were getting this offseason, dropping 23 points on 9-18 shooting while being an absolute menace on the defensive end, with two steals and two blocks. Oubre also had a number of deflections, the most notable of which took place on a Lakers inbound pass with 3:13 left, giving the Warriors possession down two. Oubre then tied the game with his layup moments after.
Despite winning the NBA Title in 2020, this version of the Lakers might be better than last year’s. The reason why was on display Monday night, where offseason additions Dennis Schroder and Montrezl Harrell combined for 42 points (25 and 17 respectively). On a team with LeBron James and Anthony Davis, it was Schroder who paced the Lakers, killing the Warriors’ big men in the pick and roll. James Wiseman was a frequent victim, and was rendered largely inept, accumulating five fouls and four points in just 13 minutes for the most disappointing game of his young career.
Yet that proved to be a problem for LA, who couldn’t get more out of Anthony Davis. Draymond Green deserves much of the credit, marking Davis for much of the game, and holding the All-NBA center to just 17 points 6-of-16 shooting. LeBron also had an off night, also going 6-of-16 for 19 points.