No one really expected the Golden State Warriors to win all of the rest of their regular season games. But, by the same token, no one thought the Los Angeles Lakers would be the team to deal Steph Curry and Co. their next loss.
The biggest factor was Golden State’s touch from three-point range absolutely vanishing. The Warriors hit just 4 of 30 shots from outside the arc, with Steph Curry, so uncannily consistent from deep all season, was 1 for 10 on those shots and 6 for 20 overall.
Perhaps Curry was simply due for a clunker. Not only did he enter the game ranked third in the league in three-point percentage (.465), he had hit an incredible 15 of 30 shots from 30-plus feet. To put that in perspective, all other NBA players had combined to go 76 for 776, or 9.8 percent, from that far away.
In three previous meetings against the Lakers this season, the Warriors built up such comfortable leads that the all-star trio of Curry, Draymond Green and Klay Thompson played a combined three minutes in the fourth quarters of those contests. Golden State won those games by a combined 73 points, and with Los Angeles coming into Sunday’s game on a 1-10 skid, there was little reason to think anything different would happen.
However, while the Warriors were struggling on offense, seven Lakers scored in double digits, led by Jordan Clarkson (25 points) and D’Angelo Russell (21). Kobe Bryant, entering the final stretch of his decorated NBA career, contributed 21 points of 4 of 14 shooting, while Julius Randle had a double-double (12 points, 14 rebounds). Marcelo Huertas came off the bench and led Los Angeles with nine assists.
The Warriors are still one game ahead of the pace set by the 1995-96 Chicago Bulls, who set the NBA standard by finishing the regular season with a 72-10 record. In addition, Golden State can break the record it shares with those Bulls of 44 straight home wins by winning its next game against the Orlando Magic on Monday in Oakland.
61st game of season— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) March 6, 2016
1995-96 Bulls entered 54-6, lost at Knicks by 32
2015-16 Warriors entered 55-5, lost at Lakers by 17