The first half on Friday night in Los Angeles was not at all kind to the Golden State Warriors and Larry Nance Jr. made that abundantly clear in the second quarter. The Lakers’ big man streaked down the middle of the lane to finish a poster-worthy dunk and, in the process, Nance pushed off the head of David West to make the impact that much greater.
At first glance, this was clearly an impactful dunk, but the replay angles display the full ferocity of the dunk, including the fact that Nance seemed to further elevate after coming into contact with West. At the age of 36, West isn’t quite the athlete that he was in his absolute prime, but against the explosiveness and athleticism of the 23-year-old Nance Jr., Golden State’s veteran big man never really had a chance.
After an apparent rash of “breakout” performances against the Portland Trail Blazers and Oklahoma City Thunder early in the week, all seemed to be well with the Warriors at this (very) early point in the season. However, the first 24 minutes on Friday were a mess to the tune of a 16-point deficit for Stephen Curry, Kevin Durant and company and this play was a reminder that Golden State’s rim protection isn’t quite on the level that they want it to be right now.