A “we want Thompson” chant broke out in the middle of the first half Saturday evening. But it wasn’t from a drowsy Oracle crowd, it was a very vocal Lakers contingent of fans.
Some boos from the home fans tried to drown out the chants but to no avail.
That same energy was on display on the court with the lethargic Warriors (37-15) appearing to jog their way to another disappointing loss to the Lebron James-less Lakers (27-26). Until a thunderous DeMarcus Cousins jam shook both the crowd and team out of their stupor.
Angles ???????? pic.twitter.com/04MYudkIY2
— Def Pen Hoops (@DefPenHoops) February 3, 2019
From that point, Golden State outscored the Lakers by 22 over the final 17:28 to cruise to a 115-101 victory.
Steve Kerr credited that moment with shifting the entire complexion of the game:
“It brought the arena to life and it brought the team to life. We were searching for energy and emotion up until that point. I think this was a typical game where you let your guard down a little because the other team’s best player is not playing. So there was no life in the building and our guys weren’t generating any energy, and that play sort of changed all of that.”
Cousins tallied his first double-double in a Golden State uniform with 18 points, 10 rebounds, four assists and two blocks.
He also got a tech for standing over Kyle Kuzma afterwards, which he said was his way of venting:
“I wish it never happened, I need that tech back. ‘Dre tried to pull me away at the last minute but that’s part of the new NBA, no staredowns. … Honestly, at that point I think we were playing with a lot of frustration in the game. And I feel like that kind of helped and was a turning point.”
That wasn’t the only hammer to be thrown down though as Andre Iguodala put JaVale McGee in the basket just 30 minutes after presenting him with his championship ring.
Iguodala put up a monster 17 points off the bench on 3-of-4 from deep. And when the Warriors elder statesman is draining heat check 3’s, it’s usually a bad night for their opponents.
Golden State definitely needed Iguodala’s numbers though in what was the ultimate team effort. Five Warriors scored at least 14 points — a performance the complete opposite of what happened Thursday night.
Two days ago, it took 40-plus minutes for any other Warrior besides Stephen Curry to knock down a single 3-pointer — Saturday it was Curry who needed 40-plus minutes to hit a single shot.
He would finish with 14 on a rough 5-of-15 shooting, which he only salvaged by scoring 10 straight points in the fourth quarter.
Kerr said the beauty of this team is that they should be able to easily endure any bad night from their stars:
“We’re healthy now, we’ve got lots of talent, we should always be able to withstand a tough night from one of our big scorers. That’s kind of been the formula here for the last few years. Usually between Kevin, Klay and Steph, usually at least two of them are going. And on nights when one guy’s struggling the other guys step up.”
Klay Thompson did just that as he returned from his one-game illness absence showing no ill-effects. He poured in 23 of his team leading 28 points in the first half and was the team’s main source of offense for the first 24 minutes of the game.
Even with Thompson clicking in the first half, the Warriors found themselves in danger of being wiped by a Lakers team missing not just James but also Lonzo Ball.
James was a late scratch with what the team deemed “load management” after making his return to the court Thursday after a 17-game absence.
The rest of the team has been struggling lately in his absence losing five of their last seven games and enduring endless rumors about being traded for Anthony Davis.
Despite all that, the Lakers came out fighting.
They were within five at the half and made their move in the third quarter and pushed their lead to 10 and looked to be in total control—only for Cousins throw them back down.
Thompson said it’s exactly what the team needed:
“It sparked our crowd, we didn’t give them anything really to cheer for in the start of that third quarter. Once we get the crowd into it, we can feel the energy and we can swing the momentum, and that’s what happened. So thank god ‘Cus made a huge play.”
The Warriors get three days off before their next contest, when the San Antonio Spurs travel to Oakland Wednesday. The Spurs currently sit at fifth in the West and are in the midst of a five-game win streak.
For the fourth time this season, Kevin Durant notched a point-assist double-double, totaling 19 points and 10 assists. … After making 46 free throws in a row, Stephen Curry missed a free throw for the second straight game. He broke his streak in the first quarter against the Sixers and then missed a technical free throw in the third quarter Saturday.