Lakers vs Warriors: LeBron James and company dominate the Golden State led by Stephen Curry

On paper, Sunday night’s primetime showdown between old rivals LeBron James and Steph Curry looked fantastic. It was actually a huge disappointment. The Los Angeles Lakers led by 20 points after the first quarter and posted a boring 117-91 victory over the Golden State Warriors.

LeBron James finished with 19 points, six rebounds and four assists in just 24 minutes as he took most of the second half. Markieff Morris, Dennis Schroder, Alex Caruso, Kyle Kuzma and Talen Horton-Tucker contributed double digits in what was a true team effort.

As for the Warriors, their top scorer was Eric Paschall with 18 points, which is really all you need to know from their perspective. With Draymond Green out of the game due to a sprained ankle, head coach Steve Kerr gave up the white flag early on.

Here are some key takeaways from the Lakers’ big win:

The Lakers return to the track

The last few weeks hadn’t been kind to the Lakers. Anthony Davis suffered a calf injury that will keep him out until sometime after the All-Star break, and shortly after he slipped through a four-game losing streak, the longest of the season. But now things are starting to get better.

This was the kind of dominant performance they needed to rejuvenate the team. They jumped to a 20-point lead after the first quarter and were able to slide the rest of the way. After racking up many minutes this month, LeBron James only had to play 24 in this, a season low.

Winners of two in a row, the Lakers have returned to second place in the Western Conference. If they can put together a few more wins this week, they could go into the break on a high note.

Green goes down

At the end of the first half, Draymond Green rushed back to the transition defense and made a good play to force Kentavious Caldwell-Pope to a failed layup. Unfortunately, the two of them got a little tangled up on the landing and Green buckled his ankle when he stepped on Caldwell-Pope’s foot.

At first he tried to walk away and told the bank that he did not want to quit the game, but that soon became impossible. He returned to the locker room and did not leave for the second half, at which point the team announced that he would be out for the remainder of the game.

It’s still too early to tell how long he’ll be out of the game, but it wouldn’t be surprising to see the Warriors be cautious and just drop him off at the All-Star break. That way, he will have nearly two weeks off and hopefully he could come back recharged for the second half of the season.

Schroder shows his influence

Much of the coverage in recent weeks has focused on the absence of Anthony Davis, and for good reason. But he wasn’t the only key Lakers member on the sidelines. Dennis Schroder was also out due to a period in the league’s health and safety protocols and missed four games, all losses to LA.

He didn’t exactly do crazy numbers against the Warriors (12 points, three rebounds and six assists in 25 minutes), but he once again showed the impact he has on this team. Not surprisingly, the Lakers’ offense was more dynamic Sunday considering their offensive rating for the season is plus 9.1 points per 100 possessions higher with Schroder on the court.

For all their talent, the Lakers don’t have many players they can create outside of James and Davis. And when Schroder was out, too, his offense really stopped. His quickness allows him to enter the lane, where he can push defensively in ways that many of his teammates cannot. From there, he can score himself, get to the line, or kick the ball to open up his teammates.

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