San Francisco – LeBron James and Stephen Curry are two of the best NBA All-Stars in this generation. Tonight, they faced off in a thriller game that ended with two overtimes. The sellout crowd got their money worth in watching two players exchange baskets until the buzzer sounded.
The Warriors lost another tough one in dramatic fashion, James made a pair of free throws with 1.2 seconds left not he clock. Curry threw a “Hail Mary” shot that he typically makes but was short on the landing. The Los Angeles Lakers got the 145-144 win over Golden State. The Warriors scored a season-high 144 points but failed to keep the Lakers off the line.
“We just have to limit our fouling,” said Klay Thompson. “A 43/16 free throw discrepancy is not ideal if you want to win. We just have to limit our fouling. Play well offensively, we had great looks to win the game, I had a few it just didn’t go down.”
Curry scored a season-high 46 points, it marked his 65th-career game with 40-plus points.He sank a season-high nine threes (prev. eight, 12/22 vs. WAS). This marked his 40th-career game with nine-or-more threes, the most in NBA history. Damian Lillard is second all-time with 13-such games and Klay Thompson is third all-time with 12-such games. Draymond Green grabbed a season-high 14 rebounds en route to his third double-double of the season.
“They did everything,” Steve Kerr said. “Our guys did everything to close the game. They executed beautifully on offense, and they were scrapping, and clawing defensively. Give the Lakers credit, give LeBron (James) credit, he made the move at the end to draw the foul, shot their 42nd and 43rd free throws of the game, and knocked them down. So give them credit.”
“Our whole season we’ve had some tough breaks, some self-inflicted wounds, some games that you obviously should have won,” said Curry. “There’s disappointment walking off the floor, like tonight is a night where you feel like you played well enough to win, almost like the Sac game. Again, have nothing to show for it. We fought you know the whole way, stayed in it when things weren’t going our way, gave ourselves an opportunity, was down to the last possession three or four times in regulation, both overtimes. We’re playing with a little bit of desperation trying to change the tide of our season and just don’t have nothing to show for it right now.”
Prior to tonight, the Warriors last played a double-overtime game on 1/2/23 vs. ATL, a 143-141 victory. The team also recorded season-highs of 55 field goals attempted a franchise-record 58 3-point attempts. Golden State allowed an opponent-season-high 145 points (prev. 141, 1/10 vs. NOP). Despite 46 from Curry, and 22 points from both Andrew Wiggins and Thompson, the Warriors still struggle to close out games.
“Just same vibe, doesn’t make it any better, actually makes it worse,” Curry said on closing out games. “Like I said, played well enough, had a tough stretch in the middle of the fourth quarter, but you see we were flying around, playing aggressive, understanding every possession was important, makes or misses, whatever, there’s just an energy about what we were trying to do. It’s just a tough way to – back-to-back games at home that you play well enough to win and just don’t get it done.”
James who will return to the NBA All-Star game for this consecutive 20th season finished with 36 points, 20 rebounds and 12 assists. Anthony Davis who left the game with an injury and then returned, had 29 points and 13 rebounds. D’Angelo Russell added 28 points. LA’s 43 attempts from the line were the key to their success. Both Thompson and Wiggins fouled out in the first overtime.
“It’s what you play basketball for, the games you want to be in,” said Davis. “That team over there, I mean we’ve seen them a lot over the course of the years, through playoffs and the regular season. They have a lot of fire power, as you can see, but we’re very confident in ourselves. Everybody was just making plays, whether defense or offense. I could have had a chance to put it away with the free throw and missed. AR (Austin Reaves) same thing, missed. And then big fella (LeBron James) rolling and made two big ones and we didn’t have any more timeouts.”
“I don’t predetermine anything I do on the floor, so, got a pretty good look at the first OT, one of my patented shots going left, you know floater going left with my right hand, rimmed in, rimmed out and I was able to get a little angle on the second OT,” James said on his final play. “And, I was able to drive take a Euro-step kind of back to the right hand was able to get a foul call on Draymond (Green) and you know, step up and make the free throws.”
Photo by GSW/Twitter
WARRIORS HEAD COACH STEVE KERR PREGAME PRESSER
ON DRAYMOND GREEN’S MINUTES:
“He’s in good condition, he’s ready to bump up the minutes for sure.”
ON WHAT PLAYER’S HIGH-SCORING GAMES SAYS ABOUT THE MODERN NBA:
“Guys are so skilled today. There’s so much space on the floor, everybody’s playing multiple bigs who can shoot threes, so there’s just too much ground to cover for the defense. Pace is up, over the last few years everybody is playing faster, with more pace. Teams have gotten really confident in their offensive schemes with all that spacing and pace. So the last few years offensive ratings have just been climbing and climbing. Then the final piece of it for me is just the way we officiate the game favors the offense in a way that it didn’t 15 years ago. The rules have been altered to really give the benefit of the doubt to the offensive player. I think we’re actually entering a phase now where we’re going to have to look at, just like the league did 20 years ago, look at the rules, see where the game’s going, and maybe make some adjustments back in the other direction.”
ON THE LEBRON JAMES AND STEPHEN CURRY MATCHUPS OVER THE YEARS:
“Really incredible. What I see is LeBron has always been one of the great physical specimens, not only in the league but on the planet, but he developed his skill in the second half of his career. Steph was the opposite, he was one of the most skilled guys right away, and he developed his body. So what I love about the two guys is they each were already great players, but they identified where they could get better and put in the work, and the work is year round. You can see it, how prepared they are for every season. They’re two of the all-time greats because of that, not just the skill or the athleticism, but the awareness of what they need to do to keep getting better, and keep getting better, over, and over, and over again. It’s incredibly inspiring.”