Lakers vs. Golden State: Lakers can't slow Warriors, lose third straight game
The Lakers have lost three consecutive games, two to teams with records below .500.
The latest defeat came to the Golden State Warriors on Wednesday nighit at Oracle Arena in Oakland.
The loss left the Lakers 4 1/2 games behind the San Antonio Spurs for the best record in the NBA.
It means that Lakers will be hard-pressed to catch the Spurs.
The Lakers have four regular-season games left, the Spurs five.
The Lakers couldn't stop Golden State's backcourt of Monta Ellis (26 points) and Stephen Curry (20).
The Lakers fell behind by 19 points at the start of the fourth quarter, a sign that they still weren't quite ready to play.
They cut the lead to 12 points behind the inspired play of Matt Barnes.
But after Curry made a three-pointer for an 82-67 Warriors lead with 6:14 left, Lakers Coach Phil Jackson called a timeout.
He was looking for a way to get his team going.
Kobe Bryant went to work, scoring 11 of 13 points for the Lakers at one point, pulling them to within 90-82 with 2:16 left after they had trailed, 86-70.
Bryant finished with 25 points on 10-for-20 shooting, but it wasn't enough.
When Dorell Wright made a three-pointer from the corner in front of the Lakers' bench to put the Warriors ahed, 67-54, Lakers Coach Phil Jackson had seen enough and called a timeout with 2:12 left in the third quarter.
Jackson probably was tired of watching his team play with no energy, with no desire, with no effort.
The Lakers were outhustled and outplayed by the Warriors in the third quarter.
That was never more evident than late in the third quarter when Lakers power forward Pau Gasol had his defensive rebound ripped from his grasp by Lou Amundson.
Then with the Lakers down, 70-54, Gasol made only one of two free throws.
It was that kind of quarter for the Lakers.
The Lakers were outscored, 29-16, in the third.
This came on top of the Lakers being outscored, 29-15, by the Warriors in the second quarter.
Monta Ellis has 24 points through three quarters to lead the Warriors.
Warriors 43, Lakers 38 (end of first half)
That strong start by the Lakers in the first quarter didn't carry over to the second quarter.
Instead, the Lakers looked like a team content with the nine-point lead they had at the end of the first quarter.
The Warriors scored the first 10 points of the second quarter to wipe out that lead, and the Lakers also played uninspired basketball, turning the ball over seven times in the quarter.
They had shot 52.4% from the field in the first quarter, but wound up shooting 40.5% by the half, scoring only 15 points the quarter.
Monta Ellis scored 10 of his 14 points in the second quarter, giving the Lakers all they could handle.
Lakers 23, Warriors 14 (end of first quarter)
The Lakers opened the game eight for 10 from the field, building a 12-point lead.
The Warriors, on the other hand, started the game two for eight, putting themselves in a big hole.
But the Lakers cooled off somewhat, though they still made 52.4% of their shots in the first quarter.
The Warriors shot only 24.1% from the field in the first.
Kobe Bryant led the Lakers in the first quarter with 10 points on five-for-nine shooting.
The Lakers know they didn't "respect" the Utah Jazz on Tuesday night and wound up losing the game.
But the Lakers claim they won't make the same mistake against the Golden State Warriors tonight at Orcale Arena in Oakland.
The Lakers might have beaten the Warriors three times already this season, but L.A. knows that Golden State plays hard.
"This team still has guys that are on the team that average big numbers," Lakers Coach Phil Jackson said.
Guys like guard Monta Ellis, who averages 24.3 points a game, point guard Stephen Curry, who averages 18.3 points, Dorell Wright, who averages 16.3 and David Lee, who averages 16.4.
The plan is for the Lakers to attack the smaller Warriors inside with 7-footers Andrew Bynum and Pau Gasol.
-- Broderick Turner, reporting from Oakland
Photo: Lakers guard Kobe Bryant attempts a reverse layup against Warriors power forward David Lee in the first half Wednesday night in Oakland. Credit: Ben Margot / Associated Press