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Wednesday, April 6, 2011
Warriors 95, Lakers 87 -- At the buzzer

By Brian Kamenetzky

Let's just cut to the chase...

Lowlights:

1. Offense.

With seven minutes remaining in the first quarter, the Lakers were 8-of-10 from the floor and had piled up 17 points. From that point until the end of the third quarter, they hit only 14-of-46 (30 percent) and scored all of 36 points. This after notching all of 57 points through the first three quarters Tuesday night against the Jazz. They came alive in the fourth -- easy to see why it took so long, because Golden State is a stout defensive foe ... oh wait -- but as a group, the Lakers completely lost any grip with their identity as a team, and while not everything parallel's last night's loss, one thing definitely does. ...

2. Turnovers. Fourteen through the first three quarters, as the Warriors built a 17-point lead the Lakers couldn't overcome with at least the appearance of attention in the fourth quarter. In all, the giveaways were good for 15 Golden State points, and more importantly contributed to the sort of sloppy, helter skelter, up-and-down pace the Warriors want to play, especially against a team like L.A. They gave the ball away with ill-advised passes, like the one Kobe Bryant lofted nearly three quarters the length of the court towards Ron Artest, easily picked off by Golden State. They turned it over with bad charges, like the one picked up by Lamar Odom in the lane after passing behind his back to Matt Barnes on the wing.

(That play made Norman Dale cry.)

In the end, they turned it over 18 times, setting up 21 points for Golden State. Something they still might have managed to overcome, even if it wasn't deserved, had they hit their. ...

3. Free Throws. Heading into the fourth, the Lakers made only half of their FTA's, missing nine of 18. By the end of the game, their percentage had skyrocketed -- skyrocketed! -- to 59. It's never a good idea to give away points on a night where you can't score, are liberally turning the ball over, and doing very little. ...

4. Defensive Rebounding. By the end of the third -- again, the point at which the game was too far gone -- the Warriors had 17 offensive rebounds on 44 misses, a very healthy 38.6 percent, well more than their 26.5 percent average. Sure, the Lakers tightened up in the fourth quarter -- only one ORB surrendered -- but by then they'd basically laid out a Vegas style buffet of second-chance points. Golden State finished with 17, in total, but was the case with L.A.'s turnovers, by constantly failing to secure the glass, the Lakers were unable to control the tempo of the game.

Combined, the Lakers also gave Golden State an enormous advantage. L.A. actually shot a better percentage from the field (42.9 percent vs. 38.7 percent) but the Warriors had 16 more field goal attempts. You just can't win that way (as Wednesday night's game demonstrates). Of course, the Lakers still could have managed to squeak out a win had they not made a habit out of. ...

5. Completely Ignoring the Big Guys. It may not be an exaggeration (or at least not an egregious one) to say something good happened literally every time Andrew Bynum touched the ball. He moved the rock well when the double came, evidenced by a great pass to Pau Gasol flashing through the lane for a short jumper early on. He shot at a high percentage -- it's hard to be more efficient than five-for-five. He made his way to the line seven times (only making three, but at least he drew fouls). For his part, Gasol was a very tidy seven-for-11 from the floor, and earned his way to the stripe eight times. Clearly 12-of-16 with 15 FT's wasn't good enough.

The Warriors had no answers for either player, not that the Lakers noticed. They went huge stretches either making impatient glances down at the block, or simply ignoring it all together, which made perfect sense because. ...

6. The Outside Shooting Was Awful. Again. Five-for-19 from beyond the arc, and only two-of-12 through three quarters.

Put all of this together, and it's not surprising the Lakers failed defensively, as well. Against a team like the Warriors, the Lakers basically did everything they possibly could to make their lives difficult. Disorganization ruled the day. Still, Golden State shot a terrible percentage from the floor, scored eight points below their season average, and left the door open for even a halfway competent effort by the Lakers.

I could also mention the bench, which was horribly unproductive save a quick six-point burst by Matt Barnes in the fourth quarter. Lamar Odom had six turnovers, while Shannon Brown and Steve Blake combined to make one of their 11 shots. Feel free to add more in the comments section.

Highlights:

1. Milwaukee 90, Miami 85. An incredible gift for L.A. from the folks in South Beach. Had the Heat taken care of business against the lottery bound Bucks, they'd be tied with the Lakers in the overall standings. Ahead, really, since Miami owns the tiebreaker (head-to-head play). Boston is now tied with the Lakers in the loss column, but for now stay behind them in the standings because the Lakers own the tiebreaker (record against the opposing conference, since the teams split the season series).

Clearly, though, the Lakers are in danger of undoing all the good work the big second half run did for them in the standings.

But for the Lakers themselves? Highlights? Really? C'mon...