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Lakers beat Warriors in Nash’s return, extend win streak to four

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The Los Angeles Lakers (13-14) were looking for a season high four consecutive wins, and the Golden State Warriors (18-10) have taken the league by storm, but those were not the headlines for tonight’s game. No, the headline was the return of Lakers’ point guard Steve Nash (missed 24 games due to broken fibula). 

Not only was Nash added to the starting line-up, but Mike D’Antoni also started Darius Morris at shooting guard, moving Kobe Bryant to the small forward position. D’Antoni recently expressed his interest in starting Jodie Meeks, but today said he didn’t want to mess up his rhythm off the bench, and he liked Morris’s perimeter defense on players like Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson.

Now let’s see if Nash’s return could surge the Lakers to victory.

1st Quarter
Nash first made his presence known at the 7:28 mark with a pull-up three pointer to tie the game at seven. Dwight Howard put himself in early foul trouble by getting his second foul five minutes into the game, and got a technical for arguing with the referee while walking to the bench. Two possessions after a very vintage Nash floater, Nash got his first assist on a beautiful oop to Pau at the 4:20 mark. After a very slow start to the game Lakers (3-13) Warriors (6-17), both teams got into a rhythm to make it a back-and-fourth game. The Lakers finished the quarter shooting 48%, and were led by Metta World Peace from the bench (3-3, seven points). David Lee was the Warriors’ most important player in the first quarter by contributing six points and six rebounds. Lakers lead 31-27.

2nd Quarter
Lakers are forced to take a timeout three minutes into the second quarter due to the Warriors going on a run making the game 38 a piece, led by Jarrett Jack who is now the games leading scorer (12 points). After shooting 39 FT’s last year at Golden State, Dwight Howard goes to the line for the first time five minutes into the second quarter. He split the pair to cut the Warriors’ lead to two (41-39). However, the very next Warriors’ possession, Howard picks up his third foul and goes back to the bench for what would be the rest of the first half. Warriors are up by five with just a little over five minutes to go in the quarter. Kobe Bryant has forced shots and is now looking very frustrated. He is 3-11 for the game. Jarrett Jack is on fire (7-10) and has 16 points for the game. After the timeout, Kobe hit back-to-back shots (fade away from the free throw line and a wing three) to tie the game at 47. Klay Thompson made his second three of the night to put Golden State up by three (52-49). Oracle is now rocking with energy; D’Antoni calls as timeout. The game has a very fast- paced feel to it, and that definitely benefits this young Warriors team. Lakers’ defense is really lacking without Howard in the middle. Warriors’ lead goes up to 12 (61-49) with a little over a minute left in the half. Nash and Hill hit a couple of jumpers making it a 61-53 Warriors’ lead at the half.

3rd Quarter
Kobe doesn’t stop shooting; starts the half with a baseline jumper to cut the lead to six (61-55). Dwight Howard also picks up where he left off by getting his fourth foul three minutes into the quarter. It just doesn’t look like Howard’s night. Kobe hits a circus shot for his 17th point with six minutes to go in the quarter, but David Lee answers right back on the other end to keep the lead at ten (73-63). Warriors have been able to answer the Lakers all night. Kobe hits Pau in the post for a nice and-one play with five minutes left in the half, and then Pau hits a 15 foot jumper. Warriors’ lead now 75-68. Kobe gets called for his fourth foul of the game with four minutes left in the quarter. Bryant, Gasol, and Howard now all have four fouls for the game. Stephen Curry hits a high floater off the glass, and then Bryant turns the ball over to end the half. Warriors lead LA by 13 (87-74). The lead got this big by Howard playing very little in the quarter, and Kobe shooting 29 times through three quarters (12 in the third).

4th Quarter
Howard gets his fifth foul of the game 12 seconds into the quarter. Unreal. LA goes on a 9-2 run cutting the lead to eight (90-82). Kobe Bryant was out during the Lakers’ run, but comes back into the game to finish a pretty pass from Nash. Lead now only two (90-88), 15-2 Lakers run. The Warriors finally answer the Lakers’ run with a run of their own to push the lead to seven (95-88). Mike D’Antoni calls a timeout after all their momentum is taken away after a Klay Thomspon three. Pau hits Dwight with an oop, and then Kobe hits a three to tie the game at 95 with four minutes to go. Lakers get a lead (98-97) off a Meeks three, but then Jarrett Jack drains a three followed by a Harrison Barnes dunk to push the lead back to five (102-98). Both teams are knocking down shots and going back-and-fourth. Warriors now lead 106-105 with 33 seconds to play. Metta World Peace (20 points) knocks down his third three with 24 seconds left to give the Lakers a two point play (108-106). Lakers had a foul to give, but fail to use it which leads to Jarrett Jack (27 points 11 assists) knocking down a jumper to tie the game with 14 seconds left. Kobe’s jumper rims out as time expires; game is headed to overtime (108-108). Lakers are very fortunate to be in this position. Bryant and Howard must be cautious with their five fouls.

Overtime
Dwight Howard starts the extra play with a dunk, and then Kobe comes down the court with a bucket of his own to push the lead to four (112-108). The Kobe face comes out after he hits another jumper with a little over minute to play, but then Stephen Curry hits a transition three to cut the lead to one (116-115). After Steve Nash’s jumper (118-115 LA), Dwight Howard fouls out with nine seconds left in overtime. After a Golden State timeout, Curry misses a three that would have tied the game. Lakers win 118-115.

Lakers’ Leaders
Points: Bryant (34 points on 16-41 shooting)
Assists: Nash (9)
Rebounds: Bryant and Gasol (10 each)
Steals: Nash and Gasol (2 each)
Blocks: Howard (2)

About Andrew Ross

Andrew Ross is an 19-year-old student at Delaware State University (DSU), where he is pursuing a mass communications degree, concentration convergence journalism. At DSU, Ross is a sports writer for the paper, and also has his own sports radio show on campus. Ross aspires to one day be a successful sports writer, and to possibly even have his own radio show. Make sure to follow him on Twitter @AJRoss94

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