Series Recap: Warriors vs Lakers Round 2


With the Laker's dominant Game 6 victory, the Golden State Warriors' tumultuous season comes to an end. With two of the greatest players ever clashing once again in the playoffs, this second-round series drew some historical ratings, averaging almost 8 million viewers a game, the most since 1996. Stay tuned for a comprehensive offseason guide for the Warriors, but now, let's recap this fascinating, memorable series between two of the most prestigious franchises that ended in 6.  

Game 1

The Lakers' defensive game plan was clear and simple in Game 1: dare any Warriors player not named Steph Curry and Klay Thompson to shoot the ball. As a result, all the Lakers' bigs were clogged in the paint, allowing Anthony Davis and others to essentially nullify the Warriors' penetration. To put the Warriors' lack of paint penetration into perspective, the Lakers took 29 free throws, while the Warriors only took 6. Anthony Davis had a monster game, both defensively and offensively, with 30 points, 23 rebounds, and 4 blocks. He was clearly the biggest contributor to the Lakers' win since the rest of the team shot very inefficiently. However, off the bench, Dennis Schroder also provided a boost with 19 points on just 10 shots. The Lakers' defensive strategies in terms of guarding the perimeter and limiting the Warriors' threes didn't necessarily work, as the Splash Trio of Curry, Thompson, and Poole both scored 20+ points and had 6+ threes. Ultimately, the game came down to the last shot, where Poole took a very deep, yet open, three to potentially tie the game. That infamous shot didn't go in, resulting in a Lakers 117-112 win, and some may argue that shot messed with Jordan Poole mentally for the rest of the series. 

Game 2

Game 2 can simply be called the "Klay Thompson" game. With the Lakers' bigs all clogged up in the paint, the pick-and-roll actions from the Warriors oftentimes led to open threes for both Curry and Thompson, since the big men weren't quick enough to run from the paint out to the three-point line. As a result, Klay erupted for 30 points, going 8 for 11 from three. Also, Kerr inserted JaMyhcal Green into the starting lineup to provide more spacing and combat the Lakers' "clog-the-paint" defensive game plan, which proved to be successful. J Green scored 15 points, the second-highest he's scored this season, and shot 50% from three. With everyone on the Warriors seemingly hitting their threes, the Lakers had no choice but to pull their bigs out to guard the perimeter, allowing for more dribble penetration, and subsequently, more free-throw opportunities. It's starting to become a theme, where if the Warriors aren't blown out the waters in the free-throw department, they win the game. However, though this game was a blowout in favor of the Warriors, the "garbage time" minutes still proved to be significant, as Darvin Ham of the Lakers realized that he should be utilizing Lonnie Walker IV more, as he could provide instant offense for the Lakers that was clearly needed this game. Also, the conundrum of "odd-even games" continued for the Lakers, where Davis would go off for an odd game (like Game 1) but be lackluster in even games (like Game 2, where he just scored 11 points on 11 shots). All in all, the Warriors win, 127-100, and the series is tied 1-1. 

Game 3

Game 3 could be broken down into two departments: poor three-point shooting and terrible defense. For a team that's known for perimeter shooting, going 13 of 44 (29.5%) simply is not going to cut it. This game was also where Jordan Poole's struggles were magnified, as he went 2-9, and 0-4 from three, with just 5 points in the game. With everyone struggling from the perimeter for the Warriors, the Lakers could once again clog the paint up and prevent any penetration opportunities for the Warriors. On the other side of the ball, the Warriors' defense was simply horrible. They fouled excessively, as demonstrated by the 37 free throws the Lakers took compared to the Warriors' 17, and couldn't guard the perimeter to save their life. The Lakers, certainly not known as a jump-shooting team, shot a staggering 49% from the three-point line. When a team is outshooting you from three by almost 20% and shooting 20 more free throws, it's pretty impossible to win. Davis was dominating the paint yet again, Russell was hitting crazy-smooth pull-ups, and Lebron effortlessly controlled the pace of the game while still getting his own. The trio of James, Davis, and Russell combined for 67 points, and the Lakers blow out the Warriors, 127-97. 

Game 4

After a series of absolute blow-outs, fans cried for a close, contested, and clutch game. The Lakers and Warriors certainly delivered. Kerr made yet another lineup change, putting GPII into the starting lineup over JaMychal Green after he struggled in Game 3. For some reason, Anthony Davis ended up guarding GP2, and as a result, the two-man pick-and-roll duo of Steph and Gary was seemingly unstoppable. Either Davis doesn't recover fast enough so Curry gets an open three, or Davis overcommits, leaving the roller, Gary Payton II, and the paint wide open. Though Gary was inserted for obvious defensive purposes after the terrible show in Game 3, the added 15 points from him was certainly a bonus, and the Warriors were just abusing the pick-and-roll offense. However, in the non-Curry minutes, the Warriors' offense constantly collapsed. Every time Curry was in the game, the Warriors would go on a run or extend the lead, but once Curry left the game, the Lakers would always come back. Poole was supposed to carry the offensive burden once Curry left the game, but he kept committing careless turnovers, taking and missing horrible shots, and was abused on the defensive end. He felt almost unplayable in this game, which was why Poole only played 10 minutes, scoring 0 points. Despite Poole's incapabilities, the game was tight, until Lonnie Walker showed up. Walker scored all 15 points in the fourth quarter and scored on everyone, from Curry to Moody to Draymond. Fans were questioning why GP2 wasn't in the lineup during crunch time, but perhaps it was because he threw up in the first half, forcing him to go into the locker room. Either way, Moody still provided good minutes during crunch time, and the Warriors had a valiant, yet unsuccessful response to Lonnie Walker's Game 4 outburst. Poor shot selection, particularly from Klay Thompson, was what made the Warriors' late-game comeback unsuccessful, along with a boneheaded decision from Steph to throw the ball out of bounds rather than calling a timeout after winning the jump ball. Along with Walker's late-game heroics, Austin Reaves finally stepped up for the Lakers, finishing with 21 points, and Daivs, like always, was a dominant force in the paint on both sides. Both teams were pretty terrible from distance for the majority of the game, but at the end of the day, the Lakers win 104-101, taking a commanding 3-1 lead. 

Game 5

With the defending champs' backs to the wall, you had to expect the Warriors to come out with a bang. They did just that, and right from the jump, they dominated. Though Klay and Poole still shot mediocrely, Andrew Wiggins finally stepped up, scoring 25 points with 7 rebounds and 5 assists. Curry's passing off the pick-and-roll was masterful yet again, as he finished with 27 points and 8 points following a triple-double in Game 4. The Warriors, for the most part, finally began to hit their shots (37% from three), which created more dribble penetration opportunities. Yet again, we see that when the Warriors aren't destroyed in the free throw department, they can win the game. However, the player of the game undoubtedly goes to Draymond Green. His energy from the jump was infectious, spreading across all Warriors players, and his aggression was certainly appreciated. He finished with 8 points in the first quarter alone, while obviously still providing great defense. Once the game ended, he had 20 points and 10 rebounds, the first time he's done that since 2019. The Lakers made some short runs here and there, but ultimately, the Warriors were dominant for the majority of the game. Warriors win a must-win, 121-106, and they're down 3-2, heading into Game 6. 

Game 6

The idea that role players play better at home was certainly proven in Game 6, as from the get-go, everyone from the Lakers was dropping threes, and they quickly took a 17-point lead in the first quarter. Thanks to some Curry magic and the energy and threes from Donte DiVincenzo, the Warriors were able to climb back into the game, down just 5 after the first. Despite the Warriors' slight comeback, it was clear Lebron James was determined to not let the series go into Game 7. His ability to control the game was on full notice in Game 6, with 30 points, 9 rebounds, 9 assists, 2 steals, and 1 block. Reaves reappeared again, scoring 23 points on 80% from three, including a half-court buzzer beater to end the half. From that point on, the Lakers were up 10, and every time the Warriors had a response, the Lakers continued to push through and extend the lead. Game 6 Klay unfortunately did not show up, as he shot a disgusting 3-19 from the field, and 2-12 from three. His struggles from beyond the arc seemed to have permeated to everyone, as the Warriors, yet again, show below 28% from the three-point line. Excessive fouling continued to take place from the Warriors, along with turnovers which are to be expected in the Warriors' offense. Poole didn't show up yet again, except for that series of plays where he scored a layup to end the 3rd and an And-1 to start the fourth. From the get-go, the Lakers were determined to end this series off on their home floor, which they certainly did, winning in dramatic fashion, 122-101. 

The poor play from Klay and Poole has forced Warriors fans to look into potentially trading one or the other, or both. What will we get if we do trade them? Will Bob Myers stay as president? Will Draymond and the Warriors reach a new deal? Are the young guys going to get traded? Stay tuned for a series of articles covering offseason breakdowns, the draft, free agent decisions, and potential contract extensions, as the Warriors' 2022-2023 season comes to an end. 

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