The Golden State Warriors were 55-5. The Los Angeles Lakers were 12-51. But something funny happened in Los Angeles on Sunday: the Lakers ran the Warriors out of the gym. They won 112-95 in a game that was never close.
The Lakers outplayed the Warriors in the first half -- forcing 11 turnovers to take a 60-49 lead into the break -- and kept charging in the third. They built up a 14-point lead in the third and it grew to 23 in the fourth. Everyone seemed to be waiting for the patented Warriors' run, but it never came. The Lakers held on and pulled off one of the most improbable regular season upsets in NBA history.
Sunday's game was the first in NBA history between a team with a win percentage better than .900 and a team with a win percentage below .200 at least 50 games into a season, per Baxter Holmes of ESPN -- and the Lakers pulled it off.
They were a step ahead of Golden State all day, taking advantage of lazy passes and shaky defense. Jordan Clarkson was the driving force, scoring 25 points to lead the way while D'Angelo Russell added 21 points and five assists. The youngsters outplayed Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson, who were a combined 1-of-18 from behind the three-point line. The Lakers double-teamed Curry every chance they got, and the Warriors couldn't find an answer.
The Warriors played their sloppiest game of the year, making careless passes and missing the shots they usually make -- they shot 13.3 percent from deep as a team and had 20 turnovers. Instead, the Lakers looked like the team chasing the NBA record for wins.
Kobe Bryant, in his final game against the Warriors, had 12 points in 24 minutes.
There are a few theories out there as to why the Warriors are struggling so much, and they don't have much to do with the play of the Lakers:
Trying to assess which Warriors stayed out too late last night and turns out the answer is ALL OF THEM.— Tom Ziller (@teamziller) March 6, 2016
Even if true, that's not the type of effort you're looking for from a team chasing the 1996 Chicago Bulls -- although, to be fair, the 60-7 Bulls lost to an 17-49 Toronto Raptors team in March of 1996, per Basketball-Reference.
Now, the Warriors have to regroup. They've said they will rest players rather than chase the record. A loss to the Lakers to drop to 55-6 is a tough hit.
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