This wasn’t anything close to the Golden State Warriors’ best effort. Against most teams in the NBA and certainly the Los Angeles Lakers, though, the defending champions can get by with a performance they’d deem nothing better than mediocre. And on Tuesday night, it was good enough for history.
The Warriors beat the Lakers 111-77 in a game that was never in doubt, becoming the first team ever to begin a season as the winners of 16 consecutive games. They tied the previous record of the 1993-94 Houston Rockets with a victory over the Denver Nuggets on Sunday.
Leading up to this decisive mismatch, Kobe Bryant gave his struggling squad a puncher’s chance at pulling off the upset against basketball’s best team. “I’ve seen stranger things happen,” he said of Los Angeles beating Golden State in Oakland.
From the very beginning of Tuesday’s contest, however, it was clear status quo would rule the night. The Warriors outscored the Lakers 30-11 in a laughably one-sided first quarter, taking full advantage of their opponent’s comical defensive missteps to rack up 10 dimes and six treys in 12 minutes.
Just what, for instance, is Lou Williams doing here? Stopping Steph Curry is almost impossible, but actually trying to do it is still a good strategy.
But sheer effort defensively isn’t enough against Golden State. It’s too talented, smart and selfless not to feast on a defensive outfit as inept as Byron Scott’s.