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LeBron-less Lakers can’t keep up with Steph Curry, Warriors

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SAN FRANCISCO — Especially in the modern NBA, sometimes 3-point shooting ultimately decides the result of a game.

That was the case in the Lakers’ 128-110 road loss to the Golden State Warriors on Thursday night at Chase Center.

“They put a lot of pressure on your defense because they’re moving it,” coach Darvin Ham said. “Their ability to shoot the ball. We had a couple of breakdowns off the ball. I just felt like their energy, they made some energy plays and this is a team that puts pressure on you to give multiple efforts constantly.”

Despite playing without LeBron James, the Lakers (30-27) matched or had a couple of advantages over the Warriors (28-26) in multiple areas. They were more opportunistic in taking advantage of Golden State’s mistakes, scoring 16 points off the Warriors’ nine turnovers, compared to the Warriors scoring nine points off the Lakers’ 11 giveaways.

They shot a similar percentage from the floor, with the Lakers going 43 for 88 (48.9%) from the field compared to the Warriors’ 50 for 107 (46.7%). Both teams scored 58 points inside the paint.

But it was the Warriors’ advantage from behind the arc that gave them the edge.

Led by Steph Curry (32 points, six 3-pointers, eight assists), the hosts knocked down 16 of their 41 shots from 3-point range (39%) compared to the Lakers’ 10-of-35 showing (28.6%).

“He had a couple of flip shots,” Ham said of Curry. “We fell asleep in transition in terms of slow-developing pick-and-rolls. Those flip shots where he’s off the ball and a pick-and-roll happens and they kick it ahead to Draymond [Green] or [Kevon] Looney and they’re right there pitching the ball to him, knocking off our defenders and he got some looks that way.

“We lost him a couple of times. We have to go back and look at the film but it just felt like a huge variety of a lot of different types of shots that he was making today.”

The Lakers were led by Anthony Davis, who had 27 points, 15 rebounds and three blocked shots. But Davis was among the Lakers who struggled with their shots, going just 1 for 6 outside the paint.

As a team, the Lakers shot 14 for 50 (28%) outside of the paint.

Davis didn’t speak postgame because he lost his voice, according to a team staffer. Ham mentioned Davis’ lack of voice as something that impacted the game.

“You’re not going to get through a game like this with that type of firepower with that type of head of the snake, in terms of Steph, without everyone talking and being alert and ready and doing our work early and being in position early,” Ham said. “It’s not going to be a cookie cutter gameplan. It’s going to be times [when] you’re going to play perfect defense and they’re going to score. It’s times when you have to give multiple efforts and you have to yell and communicate with your teammates.

“Him having a little trouble with his voice tonight definitely impacted the game. My hat’s off to him. He still came out and did the best job he could under the circumstances…It’s not just him. Everyone has to talk and cover for their teammates.”

D’Angelo Russell had 18 points (6-for-15 shooting), nine assists, five rebounds and two steals while Austin Reaves recorded 16 points and four assists. Taurean Prince, who once again started in place of James, scored 12 points. Rui Hachimura, who scored a career-high 36 points in the final game before the All-Star break (also without James) was held to eight points in 32 minutes.

James was sidelined for the second consecutive regular-season game and the third in the last eight because of the left ankle peroneal tendinopathy that he received treatment for during the All-Star break.

Ham said postgame that James will “in all likelihood” be available against the San Antonio Spurs on Friday at Crypto.com Arena.

The Lakers stuck with the Warriors for most of the first half, leading 51-50 going into the final few minutes of the second quarter.

But Curry led a 15-3 run to close the second and give the Warriors a 67-56 lead going into halftime.

The Warriors maintained their momentum in the third.

“Started getting lost a little bit in their actions and started trying to pre-meditate what they were going to do and that really opened up their slips and stuff in the second half,” Prince said. “If we stay solid with a lot of those things that puts us in a better position to win the game.”

With the Lakers playing on the first night of a back-to-back set, with a home game against the Spurs awaiting them on Friday, Coach Darvin Ham pulled his core rotation players with his team trailing 113-96 with 5:52 left in the game.

Andrew Wiggins scored 20 points for the Warriors, with Jonathan Kuminga also adding 12 points.

Rookie big man Trayce Jackson-Davis had 17 points and five rebounds off of the bench.

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