The Golden State Warriors proved they are going to be a handful this season with a 121-114 win over the Los Angeles Lakers at STAPLES Center on opening night. Golden State’s stars were out of form but the team’s role players stepped up in a big way.
Jordan Poole, who is a trendy pick to win either Sixth Man or Most Improved Player, finished with 20 points and hit four three-pointers. He appeared to suffer an ankle injury at one point in the fourth quarter but continued to play. Nemanja Bjelica, a free agent signing, looks like one of the best additions of the summer. The big man finished with 15 points, 11 rebounds and four assists in the win.
LeBron James and Anthony Davis combined for 67 points to lead the Lakers. The team did not get a great night from Russell Westbrook, who finished the game with eight points on 4-13 shooting. It’ll take a few games for Frank Vogel to find the right setup with the three superstars.
The Lakers led 34-32 after the first quarter, due to James and Davis putting up 24 combined points. James hit a big triple in the third quarter to give LA a 77-69 lead but that’s when things started to unravel for the home team.
The Warriors went on a 12-6 run to close the quarter, cutting the deficit to 85-83. Stephen Curry, who struggled from the field all night, hit a clutch triple to give Golden State a 103-98 lead in the fourth quarter. Bjelica put the finishing touches on a solid performance, hitting Andrew Wiggins for an open three to give Golden State a commanding 115-103 edge. The Warriors outscored the Lakers 38-29 in the final frame.
Curry eventually finished with a triple-double (21 points, 10 rebounds, 10 assists) but shot 5-21 from the floor and had four turnovers. Draymond Green added six points, six assists and eight rebounds in 30 minutes. Wiggins, who Steve Kerr said would be on a minutes restriction, played 26 minutes and contributed 12 points.
The Lakers were 3.5-point favorites at tip, meaning the Warriors covered the spread. The over/under closed at 226.5, meaning the over hit. Golden State was +135 on the moneyline at tip, meaning the Warriors paid off for bettors who went against the grain on the game result.