Stephen Curry, Warriors Beat Lakers in Preseason as LeBron, Anthony Davis Rest

Paul KasabianSenior ContributorOctober 19, 2019

SAN FRANCISCO, CALIFORNIA - OCTOBER 18:  Stephen Curry #30 of the Golden State Warriors drives on Zach Norvell Jr. #21of the Los Angeles Lakers at Chase Center on October 18, 2019 in San Francisco, 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 the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

The Golden State Warriors broke through against the Los Angeles Lakers with a 124-103 victory on Friday at Chase Center in San Francisco.

The Warriors had lost three straight preseason games to the Lakers, including a 123-96 defeat on Wednesday.

Golden State point guard Stephen Curry scored 22 of his game-leading 32 points in the first half, and backcourt mate D'Angelo Russell added 29 points.

Zach Norvell Jr. led L.A. with 29 points, and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope added 25 more. LeBron James, Anthony Davis, Avery Bradley, Danny Green, Rajon Rondo, JaVale McGee, Dwight Howard and Kyle Kuzma did not play for the Lakers.

Golden State finished the preseason with a 2-3 mark. The Lakers ended 3-3.

                       

Notable Performances

Lakers G Kentavious Caldwell-Pope: 25 points (8-of-16 shooting)

Lakers G Zach Norvell Jr.: 29 points (8-of-17 shooting)

Lakers F Devontae Cacok: 16 points (6-of-9 shooting), 10 rebounds, 4 assists

Warriors G Stephen Curry: 32 points (9-of-20 shooting), 6 assists

Warriors G D'Angelo Russell: 29 points (9-of-19 shooting)

Warriors F Draymond Green: 9 points (4-of-12 shooting), 12 rebounds, 3 steals

    

Caldwell-Pope Shows Why He'll Be Strong Asset Off Lakers Bench

With four-time NBA MVP LeBron James and six-time All-Star Anthony Davis running the show on offense and defense, all the other Lakers need to do is fill specific roles to try to earn the team's first championship since 2009-10.

Danny Green is the three-and-D specialist. JaVale McGee is the energy guy down low. Dwight Howard needs to clean the glass and finish when his number is called.

As far as Kentavious Caldwell-Pope is concerned, he just needs to knock down open threes when the defense collapses on James, Davis or whoever else is around the paint.

Caldwell-Pope showed significant scoring promise at the end of last season. From March 19 through April 9, he averaged 21.4 points on 43.3 percent shooting, including 37.6 percent from three-point range.

He was the Lakers' leading scorer during that 12-game span, one in which they went a respectable 6-6 considering how short-handed the team was because of injuries.

Los Angeles won't rely on him like it did in the final stretch of last season. He may not even end up as one of the team's top five scorers.

However, Caldwell-Pope has proved more than capable of scoring 20-plus points per game routinely, and with less attention on him, he should have the green light to have the most efficient scoring season of his career.

Plus, he's entering this season with some extra motivation, per Lakers reporter Mike Trudell:

Marc Stein of the New York Times reported that Caldwell-Pope took part in a few intense training sessions with other NBA players at Kobe Bryant's Mamba Sports Academy this summer. 

Caldwell-Pope has shot just 41.2 percent from the field for his career, but there's little reason to believe that number won't significantly improve this season en route to a banner year.

          

Curry Carries Warriors Offense, and Then Russell Takes Over

Over the past few years, NBA fans have witnessed a few players carry their teams' offenses and put up otherworldly numbers on a nightly basis.

James Harden did so for the Houston Rockets last year with Chris Paul sidelined. Russell Westbrook did the same for the Oklahoma City Thunder in 2016-17, when triple-doubles became the norm. And LeBron James did it time and again for the Cleveland Cavaliers whenever the team was short-handed during its recent run of success.

Based on early preseason returns, Curry might be the next man up to carry that mantle.

The two-time NBA MVP entered Friday having scored 75 points in 65 preseason minutes over three games. He shot 53.2 percent from the field, 45.5 percent from deep and 15-of-16 from the free-throw line. Simply put, he was the Warriors offense, a trend that may carry over into regular-season play.

However, D'Angelo Russell showed why he and Curry could form a deadly one-two punch.

Last year, the ex-Brooklyn Net broke out in an All-Star campaign in which he scored 21.1 points per game and logged career-high shooting marks (43.3 percent from the field and 36.9 percent from deep).

On Friday, Russell scored 17 of his 29 points in the second half, thanks in part to great chemistry with Curry:

Russell also brings an added dimension to the offense given his ball-handling and passing abilities:

Ultimately, the offense will rely on those two every night. Draymond Green can do a little of everything, and Willie Cauley-Stein should get some cheap buckets down low. But this is Curry's show with Russell as his sidekick.

In sum, Curry could improve on these already lofty numbers, provided here by Andy Bailey of Bleacher Report:

We'll soon find out with the regular season looming next week. 

                                               

What's Next?

The Lakers will take on the L.A. Clippers on Tuesday at Staple Center in Los Angeles. The Clips will then visit the Warriors for their regular-season debut at Chase Center on Thursday.

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