Instant Replay: Lakers 118, Warriors 115 (OT)

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Instant Replay: Lakers 118, Warriors 115 (OT)

BOX SCORE

ORACLE ARENA – So much has changed, yet so little has changed.

As the Warriors continue to chase that elusive “for real” tag, a win against the Los Angeles Lakers could have acted as a marker of sorts in the evolution of the team.

But Kobe Bryant can be too persistent.

Bryant scored 34 points on 41 shots as the visiting Lakers snatched a 118-115 overtime victory against the Warriors on Saturday night.

“We are very disappointed, but we can’t get too low,” said Stephen Curry, who finished with 20 points in the loss. “We’ve been playing some great basketball in the first part of the season.”

This time around, it was supposed to be different. The Los Angeles Lakers were drowning; the Golden State Warriors were surging.

It appeared that the power shift was moving north to Oakland, but despite holding a 14-point lead into the fourth quarter, the Lakers hit too many big shots down the stretch and the Warriors couldn’t hold on in the extra time.

It was the first time the Warriors lost after leading heading into the fourth quarter.

The stabilizing force was Jarrett Jack, whose 29 points off the bench included a number of clutch shots throughout the night. After the game, it was the veteran Jack who was talking to young players, such Festus Ezeli and Curry, sharing the need to not dwell on losses.

“The NBA is a bunch of ups and downs,” said Jack, who was 13-for-19 on the night. “It’s about peaks and valleys and you just try to stay as straight-and-narrow as you can, put it behind you and move forward.”

Obviously, Bryant has never been a timid shooter in his all-time great career. Bryant went into video game mode on Saturday night, connecting on 16-for-41 shots for his 34 points. He also added 10 rebounds and five assists.

“When a guy puts up 41 shots, he is going to make some of them,” Warriors rookie Harrison Barnes said. “You can play the best defense possible but he’s going to hit tough shots. You’ve just got to live with that.”

Running through the final minutes of the fourth quarter is like attempting to transcribe a boxing match. Each team did it’s best to deliver a knockout punch, only to watch the other continue to stand and punch back.

After trailing by as many as 14 points, Jodie Meeks hit a three-pointer to give the Lakers a 98-97 lead. The teams traded baskets and the Warriors held a one-point lead until Metta World Peace's three-pointer with 24 seconds remaining gave the Lakers a 108-106 advantage. Jack answered with a 19-footer to tie the game at 108-108 before Bryant missed to end regulation.

The Lakers took control in overtime as Bryant scored six OT points to put the game out of reach for Golden State. Steve Nash hit big buckets late in the game in his return, and had 12 points and nine assists in 40 minutes.

The Warriors held the lead early and went on a 14-0 run during a three-minute span late in the first half and led 61-49 with 1:13 remaining in the second quarter.

The Warriors led 61-53 at halftime, powered by Jack’s 18 points on 8-for-11 in the first half. The Warriors turned the ball over 10 times in the first quarter but just once in the second quarter. The Warriors finished with 20 turnovers.

For Warriors news and analysis, follow @jimmypspencer on Twitter.

Warriors as healthy as ever while playing waiting game for next opponent

Warriors as healthy as ever while playing waiting game for next opponent

OAKLAND -- Now that the Warriors have gone through a full-squad scrimmage for the first time in three weeks, there is only one issue to be resolved before they get back to the business of the playoffs.

Whom to play? And when?

As of Friday afternoon, the Warriors had no idea of either.

They will face the winner of the Clippers-Jazz first-round series, in which Utah took a 3-2 lead into Game 6 Friday night in Salt Lake City.

“Why are we talking about Utah like the Clippers are done?” Draymond Green wondered after fielding several Jazz-related questions after scrimmaging.

Well, because the Jazz won Games 4 and 5 and is favored to win Game 6 at home. If they win, they’ll come into Oracle Arena Sunday afternoon to meet the Warriors in Game 1 of the Western Conference semifinals.

If the Clippers win Game 6 to even the series, those teams will meet for Game 7 Sunday in Los Angeles, with the winner advancing to face the Warriors in Game 1 of the conference semifinals next Tuesday night in Oakland.

In any case, the Warriors appear about as healthy has they have been at any time since February.

Veteran guard Shaun Livingston, out with a finger/hand injury since Game 1 (April 16) of the first-round series against Portland, participated in the scrimmage, as did veteran forward Matt Barnes, who last played on April 8, when he sustained a bone bruise atop his right foot.

“They practiced today and they even went through the scrimmage,” acting head coach Mike Brown said. “But we’ll wait for our training staff to clear them, after they see how they feel today and (Saturday).”

In short, if swelling is minimal, both will be available for Game 1, regardless of when.

So, too, will Kevin Durant. After a strained left calf kept him out of Games 2 and 3 against the Trail Blazers, he started and played 20 minutes in decisive Game 4 without any ill effects.

Nothing changed during the scrimmage Friday.

“It felt great out there,” he said. “Nothing bothered me. It was definitely good. I’m just trying to hopefully put that injury stuff behind.”

Durant conceded that he continues to receive treatment and ice, but mostly to minimize potential swelling.

Durant makes plea to NBA officials: 'S--- talking is part of the game'

Durant makes plea to NBA officials: 'S--- talking is part of the game'

OAKLAND -- Kevin Durant wishes more NBA officials had a better grasp of the language of the game.

They don’t seem to understand that “trash talk” almost always is little more than an act in which healthy emotions are released. It’s as much of the game on the court as pointing out a bad haircut or a fashion error in the locker room.

“I was raised that if you weren’t talking on the court, then something (bad) is going on,” Durant said after Warriors practice on Friday.

Durant caught a glimpse of the chatter earlier this week between former Oklahoma City teammate Russell Westbrook and Houston guard Patrick Beverley in decisive Game 5 of the Thunder-Rockets series and was disappointed when the officials slapped each with a technical foul.

“I was like, ‘Man, just play on. It’s a part of the game,’” Durant said.

Though Durant himself is not a premier trash-talker, he plays alongside one in fellow forward Draymond Green.

“That’s why we started playing, to talk a little s--- here and there,” said Durant, who grew up in the Washington D.C. area. “Draymond is really good at it. There are a lot of guys in the league that are good. More guys are quiet now than before.

“But s--- talking is a part of the game. I love it. It’s fun when you’re on the same team as a guy that does it. And then, when you’re playing against it, it’s even better because it brings the best out of you.”

For Durant, there always will be a place for trash talk on the court. Not only did he experience it while growing up but he also was indoctrinated in the practice from the moment he arrived in the NBA in 2007.

He recalls, with fondness, being targeted as a rookie by Kevin Garnett and a few other Celtics.

“When I came into the league, that’s when the Celtics had just got together,” Durant said. “Paul Pierce and KG and those guys talked bad to me as a rookie. I was 19. And they talked so bad to me. And I was talking right back. It was just a fun exchange. That’s what basketball is about.”

Now if only he could get officials to realize this.