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Warriors know when they lost to Lakers, and it wasn’t in the final moments

The Warriors were never quite cruising on Wednesday night, but for the first two quarters, they looked as comfortable as you could possibly be against a Los Angeles Lakers team that is still very much seen as a title contender. They lost 103-100 on an absurd LeBron James shot in the waning seconds of the fourth, when he was apparently rendered completely blind from a ruthless eye gouge from Draymond Green (sarcasm, James said he was seeing three rims when he shot it).

Amidst all of the self-imposed melodrama surrounding LeBron versus everything and LeBron versus Steph, there was a Warriors team playing excellent, relentless basketball against a team they were not favored to beat. A Curry buzzer-beater to end the first half gave them a 12-point lead, which, proved to be not near enough.

It was in that quarter that followed where it went sideways.

That relentless pace, which was one-sided in the first half, was matched by the Lakers in the second. There were innumerable loose balls, second chance opportunities and combined turnovers.

Los Angeles stormed back into the game on the back of the Warriors’ inability to hold onto the ball, and Golden State recognized that pretty immediately. After the game, head coach Steve Kerr said that third quarter was absolutely where the game was lost.

“For sure,” Kerr said. “We had five turnovers in the first half and I think 10 in the third quarter… We got away from ourselves. I didn’t even think our turnovers were forced. I thought, we just made careless decisions with the ball and that’s what turned the game.”

Yeah, that’ll do it. They turned it over eight times in that third period, and were outscored 35-24, heading into a brief spell to start the fourth quarter sans Curry. That led to the Lakers’ first lead of the night, which at one point grew to six points.

Juan Toscano-Anderson made a point to credit the Lakers for pressuring those turnovers, saying that those moments to start the third gave them a needed jolt.

“We came out, we turned the ball over three times in a row, I think, to start the third quarter and they built some momentum,” Toscano-Anderson said. “The first five minutes of the third quarter is a really important portion of the game and so they won that portion and they rode that wave to end the game.”


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