LOS ANGELES — One good turn deserves another, and the Warriors got that maxim wrong Saturday night in Los Angeles.
After several successful adjustments from Golden State led to a convincing victory in Game 2, the Lakers responded with adjustments of their own and rolled to a 127-97 rout in Game 3 at Crypto.com Arena.
Although the Warriors looked set to take command early in the second quarter, they were so outplayed in the final 31 minutes that coach Steve Kerr emptied his bench with 9:11 left.
Stephen Curry led Golden State’s scorers with 23 points, while Andrew Wiggins had 16 and Klay Thompson 15.
The Warriors’ downfall was mostly attributed to their 19 turnovers, of which the Lakers scored 27 points.
Here are three observations from a loss that leaves the Warriors trailing 2-1 in the best-of-seven series with Game 4 scheduled for Monday night in Los Angeles:
A brutal second quarter too difficult to overcome
After taking a 30-23 second quarter lead and moving up 40-29 with 7:53 left in the half, the Warriors have put together just about all the ingredients needed for a giant pot of Catastrophe Stew.
Turnover figures? Check. Faults? Check. Flagrant faults? Yeah. Technical faults? One for each Green, Draymond and JaMychal. Poor shot? Absolutely. The Lost Coach Challenge? Of course.
The result was the Lakers went on a 30-8 run, beating the Warriors 36-18 in the quarter and taking a 59-48 lead at halftime.
LA scored 15 points on nine Golden State turnovers and shot 50% while the Warriors shot 30.4%. Many cooks were also involved, with Thompson, Curry, Poole and Looney being responsible for turnovers.
It’s not easy to outscore your opponent 17-10 in a quarter and still be outscored 36-18, but the Warriors have found a way.
Klay’s dream becomes a nightmare
It was the night that spent 12 years living in Thompson’s dreams. A playoff game at Staples/Crypto.com Arena against the Lakers.
And it went terribly wrong for the veteran guard who spent his teenage years living in Orange County and attending Lakers games with his father, Mychal, a color analyst on the team’s radio broadcasts.
Thompson started pretty well, scoring 11 points while going 3 of 5 from range in his first 11 minutes. From there, it was an evening he would like to forget.
Klay was 2 of 9 the past three quarters, finishing with 15 points on 5 of 14 shooting, including 3 of 9 from beyond the arc. Worse still, he committed six turnovers – more than in his previous 154 postseason games.
In 33 minutes of playing time, Thompson was 23 under.
The Return of the Free Throw Disparity
There was a lot of talk about the free throw disparity in Game 1, with the Lakers taking a 29-6 advantage in that category. Game 2 numbers (Lakers 17, Warriors 16) were much closer.
Game 3 was very similar to Game 1, and inside is a story.
Lakers coach Darvin Ham was asked before the game about physical versus free throw count. Warriors coach Steve Kerr in his pre-game press conference was asked the same question. Both agreed that the more aggressive team tends to get the benefit of the doubt from the officials.
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Generally playing harder and making fewer errors, LA went for the line 37 times, making 27. Golden State, by contrast, was 12 of 17.
That’s a lesson the Warriors need to take in Game 4.