San Francisco – The series is poised to shift to Los Angeles, and both teams leave San Francisco somewhat satisfied. The Lakers dropped a game on the road. The Warriors avoided losing two at home.
What’s left to say: This Western Conference semifinal goes to LA, but no one is sure where it goes.
The Lakers and Warriors are flawed, but have clear strengths, and the narrative about the series is rewritten every day, and whoever wins or loses won’t really be surprised.
However, for one night, all was well with the Warriors. They blew an 11-point halftime lead and had the boot by the throat in an easy win in these playoffs. Anthony Davis went from series-opening high to crash-landing that, as he has this postseason.
Klay Thompson was looking clean at the crease (8-11pm 3pm) and his poor splash took the slack for brother Stephen Curry to make 30. And everyone wondered if the Warriors would make drastic changes. After their Game 1 loss, sometimes the best adjustment is … playing better.
It’s now 16 straight wins for teams to lose the first home game of a playoff series, and the Lakers have now lost for the 10th time (against 23 wins) — including play-in tournaments and the playoffs — since mid-February. Personnel changes changed their fortunes.
With the series still in play after Golden State’s 127-100 win, here are five takeaways from Game 2 and some hints about what’s in store for the next two games in LA.
1. Redux of the late AD
If Anthony Davis does indeed have his jersey number retired by the Lakers, as LeBron suggested the other day, it won’t take away from his recent performance. He lacked juice or impact on either basket, and he didn’t whiff for two nights after scaring the Warriors in the series opener. It was just 11 points and seven rebounds Thursday and the Warriors breathed easy.
Look, AD made the 75th anniversary team, won the championship in 2020 and delivered several great efforts over the years — few, if any, more spectacular than his 30-20 in Game 1. However, his basketball reputation wears ketchup stains for two reasons: his thick injury history and his tendency toward inconsistency. That Game 1 performance overshadowed this one, which sent basketball fans rummaging through the history books to see how he compares.
Remember that Davis laid a pair of eggs in the Lakers’ six-game first-round win over the higher-seeded Grizzlies; He went 4-for-13 in one game and 4-for-14 in another. He was almost invisible (except on defense) and left loads for LeBron James. They won two games against Memphis, 31-19 and 31-17. So, to summarize: Davis is a great player. The good news for the Lakers? At this rate he will dominate Game 3.
2. Draymond dictates defense (again)
A fair amount of Davis’ problems were caused by Draymond Green. After sleep-walking through much of Game 1, Green turned up his energy, awareness and intensity on defense and, as he often does, set the pace and excitement for the Warriors. He said he was „disgusted” with his Game 1 effort and said, „I knew I had to come out and have a good game for us to win; I had to come out and be aggressive and decisive on both ends.
In retrospect, it seems odd that the Warriors didn’t assign Draymond to Davis in Game 1. That honor went to Kevon Looney, who earned the job based on his work in the first round against Domantas Sabonis. But Davis presents several challenges to Looney, whose defense slips a bit as he moves away from the paint. Draymond accepted the offer and from the jump AD.
The idea and hope for the Warriors is to make Draymond difficult for AD and prevent him from getting into a quick rhythm. Well, it worked; Davis didn’t get touchdowns, so no damage was done. He shot 2-for-7 in the first half. On whether Draymond influenced it, AD said: “I don’t think so. I took the same shots I did in Game 1. I missed them. Well, then. As a bonus, Draymond took advantage of being left open by the Lakers defense and took 10 shots — steep for him — good for 11 points.
3. Managed load for two Laker stars
At least this blowout loss for the Lakers brought an unexpected benefit: they rested LeBron (29 minutes) and AD (32), who did not touch the floor when the Lakers started down 30 points in the fourth quarter. . Here’s why it helps: These teams play every night for the duration of the series, which lasts six or seven games. And Davis and LeBron burned 44 and 40 minutes in Game 1 two nights earlier.
It will be interesting to see how Lakers coach Darwin Hamm handles this. How much does he keep them from grinding too much while keeping them on the ground and taking care of the game in hand? The fast pace of this series is a little more in favor of the Warriors in that regard. LeBron is in his 20th season and his 38-year-old body bears the tread wear from decades of deep playoff runs. Davis was injured. It offers interesting strategy and results for the trainer with two stars.
4. Will Jordan get a pool pardon?
The most vexing issue with the Warriors in these playoffs, and indeed most of the season, has been the regression of Jordan Poole. He was a revelation last season when he produced points and energy.
It seems like a myth now. Thompson is injury-free and back to where he was before surgery; He was very efficient (11-18 FGs) Thursday. Meanwhile, Poole’s decline is head-scratching. He missed his first three shots, committed a pair of silly fouls and was eventually benched in favor of Donte DiVincenzo, who saw more minutes (28 to 15, albeit with some fourth-quarter garbage time).
Poole has been plagued by questionable basketball decisions for most of the season, including shot selection and poor defense. He came within 2 on the heels of a missed game-tying 3-pointer – from 30 feet – near the Game 1 buzzer. None of his teammates or coaches faulted him for that, but those were the chances Poole lost.
On Thursday, he made five fouls and three foul shots and never got into a run. The Chase Center crowd doesn’t boo him, but there’s a clear sound of unease whenever he makes a mistake. Will coach Steve Kerr lean heavily on Donte DiVincenzo and Gary Payton II, or will he retain Poole’s faith for some other reason?
5. J-Mike Is All Right
Any basketball fan regardless of allegiance should appreciate JaMychal Green. Many of his coaches and teammates — J-Mike has played on five teams — have a healthy amount of respect for everything he’s brought them, and the Warriors have the same respect so far in this series. Draymond Green said fondly: „He’s a dog, always a dog. We knew we needed a dog there.
J-Myke didn’t get a ticket to a career now in its eighth season. He went undrafted and did time in the G-League. He wasn’t blessed with world-class skills and only started 166 of his 544 NBA games. But Green is pure — his work ethic, leadership, training and preparedness. So when JaMychal was elevated to start for Looney (who got sick before game time and was recommended for minutes), the Warriors benefited from Thursday’s abundance of minutes for this second Green. Green said: “They always tell me to be ready. I was waiting for this moment. „
Not surprisingly, the Lakers didn’t value him offensively; They gave him plenty of room for short jumpers and corner 3s, in which he shot 6-of-9 (3-6 3PM) for 16 points. Now that he’s won the trust of coach Steve Kerr, who hasn’t played him much this season, expect Green to be a top-end rotation staple, at least this round, and if normal; The Warriors clearly lack height (Green is 6-foot-9, but plays bigger). This is a golden opportunity for Green; He’s looking for a ring after coming up short in his previous stops with the Grizzlies, Nuggets, Clippers and Spurs.
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Shawn Powell has covered the NBA for over 25 years. You can email him Here, his archive can be found here And follow him Twitter.
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