Golden State Warriors vs. L.A. Lakers: Postgame Grades and Analysis for L.A.

Maxwell OgdenCorrespondent IIIApril 13, 2013

Golden State Warriors vs. L.A. Lakers: Postgame Grades and Analysis for L.A.

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    In one of the most thrilling games of the 2012-13 NBA regular season, the Los Angeles Lakers outlasted the Golden State Warriors by a score of 118-116. The game was filled with elite scoring outbursts and an untimely injury to a legend.

    So how did it all go down?

    On the positive end of things, Pau Gasol registered a triple-double with 26 points, 11 rebounds and 10 assists. This was complemented by 28 points from Dwight Howard and 34 from Kobe Bryant.

    Unfortunately, there was a bigger story about Kobe than his scoring.

     

    Lakers PR team saying Kobe Bryant suffered a probable torn Achilles in tonight’s game. He’ll have a MRI tomorrow to confirm.

    — Los Angeles Lakers (@Lakers) April 13, 2013

     

    As a testament to Kobe's resiliency, he made two free throws after the Achilles injury.

    For the Warriors, Stephen Curry scored 47 points on 9-of-15 shooting from beyond the arc. This was yet another brilliant performance by Curry, who has rapidly climbed the ranks of the NBA's stars.

    From the statistical greatness to the devastating injury news, here's how it happened.

Steve Blake, Point Guard

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    Overall Grade: B

    Minutes Played: 37

    Stat Line

    14 points, 5 assists, 3 rebounds, 4/8 3PT

     

    With Stephen Curry performing at an obscene level, Steve Blake stepped up with a huge shooting performance to keep L.A. in it. That includes the game-tying three with less than two minutes remaining in the first half.

    Unfortunately, Blake was in on a night in which Stephen Curry dropped 47 points.

    Blake made key shots throughout this game, including two free throws with less than one minute remaining in the fourth quarter. Those two freebies tied the game and then gave the Lakers the lead.

    Blake finished with 14 points and five assists, thus paling in comparison to Curry's output. With that being said, Blake's free throws won the game, not Curry's shooting.

Kobe Bryant, Shooting Guard

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    Overall Grade: A+

    Minutes Played: 45

    Stat Line

    34 points, 5 rebounds, 4 assists, 5 turnovers, 4/8 3PT, 12/16 FT

     

    With Stephen Curry making everything in sight, Kobe Bryant took it upon himself to pile on the points and facilitate L.A.'s offense during the first half. He shot the three-ball, got to the line well and made quality looks to his big men.

    Unfortunately, Kobe also suffered injuries to both legs during the game. But as one might expect, he powered through. Still, the quality of his play was at an uncharacteristic low. He struggled from the field, even failing to get adequate rise on lay-up attempts.

    Fortunately, Kobe hit a huge three-pointer with less than five minutes remaining to make it a three-point game.

    In a span of 1:57, Bryant scored eight consecutive points for L.A. This tied the game at 109-109 and gave the Lakers full momentum.

    Unfortunately, Bryant also suffered a third injury and was forced to leave the game, but not before he led L.A. to a comeback.

Earl Clark, Small Forward

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    Overall Grade: C+

    Minutes Played: 26

    Stat Line

    6 points, 1 block, 1 steal, 2/3 3PT

     

    In 26 minutes of play, Earl Clark didn't put on too much of a statistical showcase. He picked up six points on 2-of-3 shooting, blocked one shot and came up with a steal.

    With that being said, every piece of his production was needed.

    Both of Clark's field goals were from three-point range. On a night in which the Warriors made 12 shots from distance, those two shots were key to L.A.'s ability to come back and win.

    Clark's defense on rookie Harrison Barnes was worth marveling as well.

Pau Gasol, Power Forward

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    Overall Grade: A+

    Minutes Played: 37

    Stat Line

    26 points, 11 rebounds, 10 assists, 9/13 FG, 8/8 FT

     

    The only way you could've started any hotter than Pau Gasol was if you achieved what Stephen Curry managed to do. That's an unfair comparison, however, as Curry had 32 points at the half.

    Gasol made his first five shots and was more than halfway to a triple-double entering the third quarter. He has been dominant since returning from injury, and tonight was an example of that. He made beautiful passes, including a jaw-dropping alley-oop from the high post to Dwight Howard.

    Pau executed a part two by setting a screen for Kobe Bryant, making a touch pass up high and allowing D-12 to throw down a second alley-oop. A beautiful read and feed by Gasol.

    Moments later, he knocked down a jump shot to give L.A. the lead.

    This was the story of Gasol's evening, as he continuously made pinpoint passes to feed his teammates. When he wasn't passing, Gasol was crashing the boards and scoring at a high clip.

    Gasol has reaffirmed his superstar status in recent games—tonight's triple-double offered further evidence.

Dwight Howard, Center

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    Overall Grade: A+

    Minutes Played: 38

    Stat Line

    28 points, 7 rebounds, 1 assist, 1 block, 7/8 FG, 14/22 FT

     

    Dwight Howard was very good early on, scoring at a high rate and making five of his first six free throws. He had a team-high 18 points at the half and played well off of the ball, as he threw down countless alley-oop dunks.

    Perhaps most encouraging of all, Howard made a much higher percentage of his 22 free-throw attempts than one might have expected.

    Howard scored both late and early, providing a balanced offensive attack throughout. He was Pau Gasol's favorite target for the evening, which opened up L.A.'s offense and allowed it to work the perimeter.

    As for his rebounding totals, it was hard to grab any boards with the Warriors shooting so hot.

Metta World Peace, Sixth Man

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    Overall Grade: C+

    Minutes Played: 24

    Stat Line

    7 points, 6 rebounds, 2/5 FG, 1/3 3PT

     

    Words cannot express how impressive it is that Metta World Peace has already returned from his recent injury. World Peace received surgery on a torn meniscus and was expected to miss roughly six weeks (via NBA.com). However, he came back in just over two weeks.

    World Peace was limited in 24 minutes, but he managed to hit a huge three-point field goal to create an instant momentum swing. He also grabbed six rebounds off of the bench and played quality defense on Klay Thompson.

    If this is a hurt MWP, a healthy one sounds lethal.

Reserves

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    Overall Grade: C

    Average +/-: plus-3.3

    Collective Stat Line

    10 points, 10 rebounds, 2 assists, 2/6 3PT

     

    The Los Angeles Lakers received a brilliant performance from their starting five. Unfortunately, the bench was thin and their statistical contributions limited.

    With 10 points and 10 rebounds collectively, that's evidence enough.

    With that being said, Jodie Meeks played excellent effort basketball and committed everything to coming up with the loose balls. Antawn Jamison was limited in playing time, but contributed energy on both ends.

    It wasn't a great outing, but it helped earn a win.