SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) — The Golden State Warriors fell to the Los Angeles Lakers in their preseason matchup in Las Vegas on Wednesday night, with the final score reading 123-113. LeBron James and the young Lakers held their own against the defending champions.
The Warriors played without Draymond Green, who sat out because of a knee injury but still traveled with the team.
This game was perhaps the most anticipated preseason matchup because it was a glimpse into how the Warriors would play against their longtime rival LeBron James in his new West Coast environment.
Though he’s been busy with film and TV endeavors since joining the Lakers, James started off right where he left off after his amazing individual performance last season. He nearly had a triple double in the first half, and he capped off an electrifying half by draining a half-court shot at the buzzer with ease.
James finished with 15 points, 10 rebounds, and 5 assists in 18 minutes. The Lakers young core scored in bunches as well. Kyle Kuzma had 22 points and Brandon Ingram scored a team-high 26, with 15 of them coming from the free throw line.
The three All-Stars that the Warriors did have played well in the first half, mostly. Durant had 18 after two quarters but fouled out midway through the third. Stephen Curry finished with 23 points and Klay Thompson finished with 20 points, but there was no real source of offensive firepower elsewhere.
Damian Jones had a notable performance, especially playing against former teammate Javale McGee down low. Jones was the only Warrior to finish with a positive plus/minus. He had 7 points (3-3 FG) and had 5 steals.
The Warriors shot only 55% from the free throw line, while the Lakers shot 82.6% and were more aggressive in getting to the line all game. Much like usual, turnovers also plagued the Warriors; they committed 25.
The two teams will play again on Friday in San Jose, but James is not expected to play.