Los Angeles Lakers vs. Golden State Warriors: Postgame Grades and Analysis

Matthew SchmidtFeatured ColumnistDecember 22, 2013

OAKLAND, CA - DECEMBER 21: Klay Thompson #11 of the Golden State Warriors celebrates after making a three pointer against the Los Angeles Lakers on December 21, 2013 at Oracle Arena in Oakland, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2013 NBAE (Photo by Rocky Widner/NBAE via Getty Images)
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For the Los Angels Lakers, playing without Kobe Bryant or a point guard is one thing. Throw an ill Pau Gasol into the mix, and then it just becomes too much to bear.

The Golden State Warriors thumped the shorthanded Lakers, 102-83, at Oracle Arena on Saturday night, exacting a bit of revenge after falling to Los Angeles at the Staples Center last month.

This wasn't a pretty win for the Warriors by any means, as they shot only 39 percent from the floor and committed 18 turnovers. However, they held the Lakers to 33 percent shooting, their best defensive effort of the year. They also forced L.A. into 24 turnovers.

David Lee was the high-point man for Golden State with 19, as he and Andrew Bogut both posted double-doubles.

The Dubs improved to 15-13 with the win, while the Lakers dropped to below .500.


Key Player Grades

Los Angeles Lakers

December 21, 2013; Oakland, CA, USA; Los Angeles Lakers small forward Xavier Henry (7) shoots the ball against Golden State Warriors small forward Andre Iguodala (9, center) and power forward David Lee (10) during the second quarter at Oracle Arena. Manda
Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

Xavier Henry, Point Guard

You have to give props to Xavier Henry for taking on the role of point guard in the absence of Steve Nash, Steve Blake, Jordan Farmar and Kobe Bryant.

In 36 minutes, Henry only registered three turnovers despite handling the basketball an awful lot. He only handed out two assists, but he deserves a bit of a pass due to the fact that he was thrown into a baptism by fire.

Henry didn't shoot the rock particularly well either, going 2-of-9, but he did get to the free-throw line an awful lot, going 9-of-10 from the charity stripe.

The kid knows how to draw contact. That's for sure.

Henry finished with 13 points and three rebounds.

Grade: C


Jordan Hill, Power Forward

Jordan Hill had a great first half, going 6-of-8 and even showing some range by stepping out and knocking down some jumpers.

However, Hill was all but invisible offensively over the final 24 minutes, not registering a single point. To be fair, he didn't see the floor much, but when he did, his impact was limited in the second half.

Still, the power forward helped keep the Lakers in the game early, and he ended up posting a double-double with 14 points and 10 rebounds. He went 6-of-11 from the floor overall.

Grade: A-


Chris Kaman, Center

With Gasol sidelined, Chris Kaman got the start, and it wasn't a pretty one.

Good luck with that, Chris.

Kaman, who recently bemoaned his lack of playing time, shot only 5-of-17 from the floor, missing jumpers from all over the floor and taking some awkward hook shots down low.

Kaman did grab 17 rebounds in just 28 minutes while playing some solid defense in the paint, but all of the missed shots cost the Lakers.

Grade: C


Jodie Meeks, Shooting Guard

December 21, 2013; Oakland, CA, USA; Los Angeles Lakers shooting guard Jodie Meeks (20) drives to the basket against Golden State Warriors small forward Draymond Green (23) and power forward Marreese Speights (5) during the second quarter at Oracle Arena.
Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

I really like how aggressive Jodie Meeks has been this season. He has gone from a three-point specialist to a legitimate offensive player, and that's just great to see.

However, Meeks wasn't exactly at his very best on Saturday night, missing seven of his 11 shot attempts and actually trying to do too much at times. There was one instance, for example, when he took off baseline to try to throw down a dunk, but he clearly jumped too soon and was then swatted by Andrew Bogut.

Still, Meeks did a fine job defensively, effectively playing in the passing lanes and coming away with three steals.

He added 13 points, four rebounds and four assists to his final stat line.

Grade: C


Wesley Johnson, Small Forward

Wesley Johnson was simply miserable offensively, scoring only two points in 38.5 minutes and going 0-of-7 from the floor. He also misfired on all five of his three-point tries.

However, Johnson deserves to be commended for the solid job he did on Stephen Curry, particularly early in the contest.

To be exact, Curry went only 2-of-9 in the first quarter, and much of that was due to Johnson's length defensively. He did an excellent job on hanging with Curry on the perimeter and forcing him into difficult looks.

All of that said, it's hard to ignore just how atrocious Johnson was on the offensive end of the floor.

Grade: D+


Nick Young, Sixth Man

December 21, 2013; Oakland, CA, USA; Los Angeles Lakers small forward Nick Young (0) dribbles against Golden State Warriors small forward Harrison Barnes (40) during the second quarter at Oracle Arena. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports
Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

On Saturday night, we saw the side of Nick Young that makes coaches all over the world want to pull their hair out.

Young went 5-of-18 from the floor, jacking up (and bricking) some awful shots and clearly forcing the issue. He went only 1-of-6 from three-point range, and while the one make resulted in a four-point play, all of the misses piled up and ended up hurting the Lakers big time as the game progressed.

Young did manage to spend a lot of time at the free-throw line, where he went 9-of-12, but his poor shot selection played a big part in L.A.'s miserable offensive output.

The man known as Swaggy P finished with 20 points, but it took a lot of chucking for him to get there.

That about sums it up.

Grade: C-



Well, Kendall Marshall finally got some action Saturday night, and let's just say it didn't go all that well.

Marshall was extremely skittish in his six minutes of burn, turning the ball over four times and not registering a single assist.

The rest of L.A.'s pine wasn't much better, as Robert Sacre and Shawne Williams combined for eight points.

The Lakers were very shorthanded, though, so it's not like we were expecting much from their reserves.

Grade: D+


Golden State Warriors

OAKLAND, CA - DECEMBER 21: Stephen Curry #30 of the Golden State Warriors shoots a three pointer against Shawne Williams #3 of the Los Angeles Lakers on December 21, 2013 at Oracle Arena in Oakland, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges an
Rocky Widner/Getty Images

Stephen Curry, Point Guard

Stephen Curry's shot wasn't falling in this one, but that was all right. Fortunately for the Warriors, their defense was so stout that they didn't need an outburst from the sharpshooting floor general.

Plus, Curry, who shot 5-of-15 (4-of-9 from distance), made numerous outstanding passes, really demonstrating how far he has come as a point guard. It's funny how people questioned whether or not he could run point when he came into the league. He has undoubtedly proven those doubters wrong.

Curry tallied 19 points, nine assists, six boards and three steals, a fine all-around effort from the potential All-Star even if we are used to seeing much more.

Curry's performance is just concrete evidence that your star player doesn't have to score 30 points to be effective.

Grade: B


Klay Thompson, Shooting Guard

Like Curry, Klay Thompson had some difficulty finding the bottom of the net against L.A., going 5-of-15 from the floor and missing several wide-open looks. He did, however, go 4-of-8 from three-point range, so at least that effective field-goal percentage will look all right.

Thompson didn't have much of an impact elsewhere on the stat sheet, but his ability to space the floor even when his shot isn't going down is extremely valuable and is something that doesn't show up in the box score.

The other half of the Splash Brothers ended up with 17 points and three rebounds in 33 minutes.

Grade: C+


Andre Iguodala, Small Forward

OAKLAND, CA - DECEMBER 21: Andre Iguodala #9 of the Golden State Warriors shoots a layup against the Los Angeles Lakers on December 21, 2013 at Oracle Arena in Oakland, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading
Rocky Widner/Getty Images

It was a really rough night for Andre Iguodala in his third game back since injuring his hamstring several weeks ago.

The small forward went 1-of-6 from the floor, missing badly on several shots (including completely bricking his three long-distance tries) and compiling only three points and one assist in 24 minutes. He was also uncharacteristically sloppy with the basketball, as his three turnovers demonstrate.

Iguodala's biggest contribution on the stat sheet came under personal fouls with four. Ouch.

Still, Iggy needs to find his groove again, so his struggles are very understandable.

Grade: D-


David Lee, Power Forward

Solid outing for David Lee.

The Golden State forward registered a double-double with 19 points and 10 rebounds, and while he missed several shots around the basket, he went a not-so-awful 8-of-18 from the floor.

What I liked most about Lee's performance was his ability to push the ball in transition. It's very rare that you see someone his size handling the ball that well on the break, and Lee seriously looks like a guard in the open floor sometimes.

You also have to love his aggressiveness, particularly early on when he constantly tried to force his way into the paint to draw contact.

Grade: B+


Andrew Bogut, Center

Andrew Bogut was an animal on the glass in this one.

The Warriors big man pulled down 20 rebounds, nine of them on the offensive end, and played a pivotal role in creating second-chance opportunities for his teammates while they were struggling to put the ball in the hoop. But get this: He did that in just 28 minutes. Wow.

Bogut also scored 12 points off a solid 6-of-12 clip and represented a good intimidator inside, blocking two shots.

Hopefully, people are starting to take notice just how good Bogut is when he is healthy.

Grade: A


Harrison Barnes, Sixth Man 

Harrison Barnes was nothing more than mediocre in his 20 minutes off the bench, leading some to pontificate whether or not the move back to the pine since Iguodala's return is having an effect on the second-year player:

Barnes scored eight points off 3-of-7 shooting and never looked engaged offensively. Plus, he only hauled in two rebounds while not dishing out any assists.

In Barnes' defense, he has not been placed in a very helpful position to take that next step as a basketball player. Going from the bench, to starting and then back to the bench is tough.

Grade: C



December 21, 2013; Oakland, CA, USA; Golden State Warriors power forward Marreese Speights (5) reacts after being called with a flagrant foul 2 on a foul on Los Angeles Lakers small forward Nick Young (0, not pictured) during the fourth quarter at Oracle
Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

Marreese Speights had a pretty eventful night.

The backup big man played very well, going 5-of-9 for 10 points in 13.5 minutes, but his most memorable moment of the game was being ejected in the fourth quarter for delivering a hard foul to Young. Although Young took exception, it appeared that Speights did not mean it maliciously. Regardless, he was tossed after a fine evening.

As for the rest of the Dubs' pine, Draymond Green displayed his versatility, racking up seven points, five rebounds, four assists and two steals in 21 minutes.

Kent Bazemore and Toney Douglas chipped in with five and three points, respectively.

Thanks to Speights' effort offensively and Green's ability to contribute in many different ways, Golden State's reserves earn high marks.

Grade: A-


What's Next for the Lakers?

Dec 20, 2013; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Los Angeles Lakers head coach Mike D'Antoni in the second half of the game against the Minnesota Timberwolves at Staples Center. The Lakers won 104-91. Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports
Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Spor

The Lakers have a couple of tough games coming up, as they travel to Phoenix to take on the Suns this Monday and then return home to battle the Miami Heat on Christmas Day.

After that, though, L.A. gets four games against probably the three worst teams in the league: the Utah Jazz (twice), Philadelphia 76ers and Milwaukee Bucks.

If the Lakers can just go 1-1 over their next two, they might be able to go 5-1 over their next six.


What's Next for the Warriors?

PHOENIX, AZ - DECEMBER 15:  Head coach Mark Jackson of the Golden State Warriors reacts during the NBA game against the Phoenix Suns at US Airways Center on December 15, 2013 in Phoenix, Arizona.  NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that,
Christian Petersen/Getty Images

The Warriors are at Denver to play the Nuggets on Monday, and after playing the Los Angeles Clippers and Phoenix Suns at home, they embark on a seven-game road trip that includes games at Miami, Atlanta, Washington and Brooklyn.

We might find out what Golden State is truly made of over these next couple of weeks.

If the Dubs really want to assert themselves as a playoff team, they need to keep their heads above water over these next nine games.