The Warriors needed overtime to dispatch of the Lakers on Wednesday night in L.A. as they continue to look less than dominant when not completely locked in. And yet, despite getting pushed to an extra period, Golden State showed up when needed with a pair of Steph Curry threes to open up overtime and give the Warriors a cushion they would not give back in the 127-123 win.
The Warriors and Lakers are far from a rivalry in the sense of there being a history of competitive games between the two. During this recent Warriors run, L.A. has been a non-contender in the West, and during the Lakers’ heyday in the 2000s, Golden State was but a blip on the radar out West.
Now, the thing that makes these games most interesting is the opportunity for young L.A. teams to try and prove themselves against the league’s best and the coaching matchup of mentor Steve Kerr against protege Luke Walton. Walton, of course, got the Lakers job in part because of what he did in his time in Oakland. When Kerr was forced to miss time with back surgery in 2015, Walton coached the team to a robust 39-4 record.
However, that’s not the best interim coaching record for the Warriors. Mike Brown, a former Lakers coach, went a perfect 12-0 last playoffs when Kerr was forced out with back issues again. In their first meeting since then, the Warriors’ PR department made sure to have a little fun with Walton and let him know where he stands now in Warriors interim coach history.
It’s a pretty hilarious little bit of trolling and all in good fun — no one would confuse the relationship between the Warriors and Walton as contentious. Walton nearly got the last laugh on Wednesday night, but his Lakers squad fell just shy of the upset win. If nothing else, the Lakers pushing Golden State to overtime showed the strides they’ve taken under Walton and that, in due time, they should be back in the playoff picture in the Western Conference.