LOS ANGELES — The Warriors got another standout performance from Stephen Curry.
With Warriors guard Monta Ellis sidelined with a sprained left knee, and Lakers guard Kobe Bryant out with a sprained left ankle, Curry had the lion's share of the spotlight Tuesday against the Los Angeles Lakers. Under the bright lights of the famed Staples Center, the Warriors' rookie guard put together one of the most memorable performances of his young career.
Unfortunately for Golden State, it wasn't the good kind of memorable, as the Warriors lost 104-94. In a game where the Warriors needed his offense, Curry couldn't flip a quarter off the Golden Gate Bridge into San Francisco Bay.
Curry took 21 shots and missed 16. He made just 1 of 10 3-pointers, bricking five of his nine misses in the fourth quarter, spoiling the Warriors' chance at an upset bid.
"A couple of those go down and it's a different ballgame," said Curry, who had 36 points, 13 assists and 10 rebounds his last game. "I don't plan on shooting that badly. Ever again."
Not only were the Lakers without arguably the league's best player, their other "stars" had off nights. Power forward Pau Gasol had 14 points on 5-for-14 shooting and turned the ball over four times. Forward Lamar Odom had 18 rebounds, leading the Lakers dominance on the glass (53-36), but missed nine of his 12 shots. Even forward Ron Artest managed just 15 points on 13 shots.
But the Lakers got the game
The Warriors got 23 points from guard Anthony Morrow, and 20 from guard C.J. Watson. Forward Corey Maggette pitched in with 17 points and five assists despite a dislocated left ring finger.
All the Warriors needed, it seemed, was some of Curry's scoring punch. But he just didn't have it.
"We still have confidence that the shots he missed he can make," Watson said. "Even though he wasn't shooting the ball well, he still did other things. He was playing defense. Still getting to the paint and finding other people. That's all we can ask for. They just didn't fall for him tonight. If he did, we probably would've won the game."
A week ago today, Curry was all the rage after he became one of six rookies to post a 35-point, 10-assist, 10-rebound triple-double, joining Jason Kidd, Michael Jordan, Jerry West, Oscar Robertson and Elgin Baylor. Talk swirled about how the Warriors function better with Curry running the offense instead of Ellis, and that Curry is ready to be the Warriors' floor general.
On Tuesday, Curry took solace in the fact that, down the stretch, the Warriors got the open looks they wanted. But Golden State was ice cold.
After a free throw by Artest put the Lakers up 90-89, the Warriors — who were once down 14 — came up empty on their next five possessions.
Notes: Ellis was evaluated Tuesday by Dr. James Andrews in Birmingham, Ala. Andrews is the same doctor who repaired Ellis' torn left ACL when Ellis was a high school senior. Andrews discussed the evaluation with the Warriors' doctors, including a time frame for Ellis' return. The Warriors held off on announcing the results of the evaluation and the timeline for Ellis' return until today. ... Maggette on the talk of him possibly being traded to Cleveland: "What can you say? I'm just going to wait and see what happens. Until then, I'm a Warrior."