OAKLAND — The Warriors in the early part of the season have proved they’re a good team. But they’re not all the way there…yet.
Kobe Bryant wasn’t at his best but it was still better than most players who are playing their ‘A’ game. Bryant took over 40 shots and was 16-of-41 from the field scoring a game high 34 points as the Lakers outlasted the Warriors 118-115 in overtime.
“We played hard,” Bryant said. “Dwight, Pau, and I each had 4-5 fouls at the time. We weren’t playing particularly well. I wasn’t shooting the ball well and when you’re met with a challenge you have to go harder and that’s exactly what we did.”
In his first game back after suffering a non displaced fracture in his left leg and missing 24 games, point guard Steve Nash had 12 points and nine assists.
“We’ve got a long way to go before we’re a good team but as far as the pressure on me goes I don’t look at this as I’m the savior,” Nash said. “Our team is still trying to form and hopefully I can help that process but if we become a great team it’s not down to me and if we don’t, it’s not down to me either.”
In the loss, Jarrett Jack scored a season high 29 points off the bench. David Lee had 20 points and 11 rebounds and Stephen Curry had 20 points, seven assists and eight rebounds.
Golden State did play inspired basketball coming off a win over the Charlotte Bobcats the previous night. So the Warriors had to be somewhat fatigued, especially since the Lakers had been resting since Tuesday and enjoying Friday night off in San Francisco.
Both teams had six players score in double figures. The Warriors built up a 14 point lead early in the 4th quarter but down the stretch, the talented Lakers roster with the return of Nash was just too much for Golden State to overcome. Off the bench, the trio of Jordan Hill, Metta World Peace, and Jodie Meeks combined to score 46 points and grab 20 rebounds.
Trailing 90-76, LA went on a 19-5 run to tie the game. It was a back and forth game after that. World Peace made a step back 3-pointer with 24 seconds left. Jack hit a mid range pull up jumper that tied the contest with 14.9 seconds remaining.
“We’re definitely not a team into moral victories,” Jack said. “We come out feel like we can win every game when we step in between those lines. We just learned that when you mess around and allow a team such as them who have tremendous firepower and obviously they’re not at their best yet. They’re definitely far from a finished product, hang around, these are the types of results that can possibly happen.”
Los Angeles had the ball for the final possession and the ball was fed to Kobe whose baseline jumper was off the rim forcing overtime.
In the extra session, the Lakers dominated the paint outscoring the Warriors 4-0. Curry missed a tough 3-pointer and Klay Thompson’s reverse lay up attempt was just short. Despite a Curry triple with 33.8 seconds left to make it a one point game, that’s as close as the Warriors would get. Nash’s 14 foot fade away jumper ensured the victory and the final margin of victory.
“We’re professional athletes and (fans) expect nothing but our ‘A’ games every night and for us to be in tip-top shape every time they see us on the floor,” said center Dwight Howard had 11 points and six rebounds. “We understand that but also understand that it’s a process. We’ve just got to continue the way we’ve played the last four games.”
NOTES: The Warriors fall to 1-2 in overtime. Their last loss was in double overtime vs. Denver on November 10. … Golden State is 5-3 in the second game of a back-to-back. … David Lee tallied his league-leading 12th 20 point, 10 rebound game. … Kobe Bryant scored a Warriors opponent high of 34 points. Bryant is the first player to attempt 40 shots since he attempted 44 shots on January 14, 2008. It’s the ninth time Kobe has attempted 40 or more shots in his career.