A night after MVP candidate Steph Curry dropped 32 points in a win over league-leading Utah Jazz at home on his birthday, the Warriors lost by 31 to the betting favorites in 2021 NBA championship odds.
The Golden State Warriors were looking to build off another impressive win against the team with the NBA’s best record, knowing full well the size of the next beast in front of them, albeit without generational talent Anthony Davis.
Any enthusiasm or excitement that felt palpable in pregame interviews and warmups seemed to fall completely flat midway through the second quarter, on the way to allowing the Lakers to 65 first-half points on 69% shooting from the floor.
Curry seemed to take up right where he left off the night previous, looking to elaborate on the running bid for his third MVP award, but the Warriors were unable to generate anything of substance and lacked intensity and consistency on the defensive end.
100 straight games with a Steph #SPLASH💦 pic.twitter.com/TDd238dKbv— Golden State Warriors (@warriors) March 16, 2021
Rookie guard Nico Mannion, who shares the same birthday as Curry, did his best to keep it close in the second quarter, with Curry sitting until 5:13 remaining. However, as was the case with everyone wearing blue last night, the spark was not there, and the Lebron James-led Lakers took full advantage.
“Very disappointing, especially coming off of yesterday’s win against a great Utah team where I thought our defense was engaged and active all game,” head coach Steve Kerr said in his postgame press conference. “Tonight, we lost our connection pretty early. We lost our defensive focus.”
A driving Curry layup cut the Laker lead to 12 early in the third quarter, but uninspired play on both ends and an impressive, scoreless stretch from one of the league’s top defenses allowed Los Angeles to pull away and never look back.
Curry finished the night with 27 points on 9-17 shooting and 4-7 from three, registering three steals and two assists on the night. Curry’s second assist came in the third quarter and was the 4,856th of his career, passing Guy Rodgers (4,855) to become the franchise’s all-time assists leader.
An assist for the record books 👏@StephenCurry30 || #DubNation https://t.co/4qEZ57X1H0 pic.twitter.com/5No2HOy96Z— Golden State Warriors (@warriors) March 16, 2021
This 36-hour span truly helped to highlight this tale of two teams, with two games in two nights against two tough opponents that led to two very different outcomes.
Kerr was open and insightful in his postgame press conference, if not a little downtrodden, trying to offer some sort of explanation for the team’s current standing.
“I think these last two days kind of define our team in a lot of ways,” Kerr told the media after the game. “In a span of 36 hours we beat the team with the best record in the league with a spirited defensive effort, and then we lost by 31 points to another great team. So, who are we? What kind of team are we? We’re 20-20 for a reason.”
“There’s gotta be a competitive spirit, that we had yesterday and that we lost today, and we’ve gotta have that all the time, and that’s the number one thing we have to find,” Kerr reiterated. “We didn’t compete tonight and that’s disappointing.”
The Warriors will have another chance to improve their record when they take on the Rockets in Houston Wednesday evening at 5 p.m. PST.
Top Image: Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images