Curry on rout by Lakers: ‘We just laid an egg’

By Art Spander

OAKLAND, Calif. — The head coach said this is the normal NBA, good teams playing bad games, coming out on the home floor when the opponent is a huge rival — in a contest that had been advertised every 10 minutes by ESPN — and for the most part performing so poorly it bordered on embarrassment.

In fact, embarrassing is the term Steph Curry used after the Warriors, his team, coach Steve Kerr’s team, had been crushed 127-101 on Christmas night by the Lakers, who for most of the second half were without an injured LeBron James, supposedly their only star. Ha!

“It was just one of those nights we just got outplayed from the jump,” said Curry. “Pretty embarrassing. Tough night obviously in front of a national stage. Christmas Day. A lot of hype, playing the Lakers. We were looking forward to the opportunity to get out there and play a lot better.

“And we just laid an egg.”

Not for the first time this season at Oracle Arena, where in the three months the NBA has been going this 2018-19 season, the one Golden State again was going to dominate, the Warriors have been overwhelmed by Oklahoma City, Milwaukee, Toronto and now the Lakers.

It can be shrugged off as just another game, one of 80 on the schedule, a game that in the great scheme of NBA things means little. Hey, the playoffs don’t begin until April. And in effect, that’s how Kerr judged it.

“We got off to a great start,” said Kerr, alluding to the year — the Dubs started out 6-0 — and not specifically to this game.

“But it’s a long year and a long haul. There are going to be a lot of ups and downs. What we did a few years was the exception. This is the rule. We are second place in the Western Conference. You lose some games. You lose some home games. The bar has been set exceptionally high by our players ... as a team, we have to fight through the adversity that hits, like a game like tonight, and keep moving forward.”

The Warriors played a few minutes of what has been known as Warriors basketball, rallying in the third quarter — yes, after James left with a groin injury — trimming a 12-point deficit to two points. But, wham, moments later they were behind by 18.

They shot terribly. There had to be at least five air balls, maybe six. On three-pointers they were 25 percent. The defense was worse than the offense. The Lakers shot 55 percent. Disgraceful.

James had 17 points in the 21 minutes he played, Kyle Kuzma 19, Ivica Zubec 18. The Lakers played the game the Warriors usually play, shooting and making threes, 13 of 33.

“We’ve definitely been inconsistent in our play,” said Kevin Durant. He scored 21 — two fewer than Andre Iguodala, who had his biggest point total since March 2017. You’d think any night Iguodala gets 23 points, the Warriors would be easy winners. Sure. And you’d think any time LeBron gets hurt, the Lakers would be finished.

Curry, who never does well in these Christmas games, made 5 of 17 and had 15 points. Klay Thompson, who hasn’t been scoring well since getting 52 against Chicago on Oct. 29, scored 5 points, taking only seven shots, making two.

“We can all play better,” said Curry. “Be more decisive.”

Luke Walton, the Lakers' coach, was once Kerr’s assistant. He knows what the Warriors can do. And can’t do. “I thought (the Lakers) had a great game plan tonight,” said Durant. “They used two players to guard Steph and Klay the majority of the night. I thought we made the right play and had some great shots. We just didn’t knock them down, and things snowballed from there.”

An apt description of a winter holiday game.

“We’ve definitely been inconsistent with our play,” agreed Durant, “and our record is 23-12. But that doesn’t really tell the whole story. We can definitely be better communicating on defense, moving without the basketball, just being aggressive to score a little more than we are.”

Curry sounded unworried but at the same time concerned.

“You can feel terrible about it leaving the arena,” Curry commented about the loss, “but you got to understand it’s December. And we are in a decent spot. We got to get better though, and we know that. We are not going to win a championship playing like we did tonight.”

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