LOS ANGELES -- Golden State didn't know which Los Angeles Lakers team it was getting. And it wasn't supposed to matter, as the Warriors' goal was simply to be prepared for whatever.
They weren't. As a result, they were run out of Staples Center on Friday, 101-77.
"We knew this was a big game," said point guard Stephen Curry, who had 18 points on 6-of-16 shooting with five assists. "We needed this game. We haven't won down here in a while. Especially with what has happened with them, we thought we could get this one."
After the Lakers fired coach Mike Brown early Friday, the Lakers hardly looked to be a resurgent bunch ready to be the dominant power in the West everyone expected when they acquired point guard Steve Nash and center Dwight Howard. Los Angeles started the game resembling the same struggling squad that lost four of its first five to get Brown fired. But eventually they picked it up.
The Warriors (3-3), who said they were focused on doing what they needed to do, didn't seem to have another gear to shift. Their plan was to play with energy, push the tempo, defend and rebound.
Instead -- in their first game since starting center Andrew Bogut was shut down seven to 10 days to rehab his left ankle -- the Warriors showed little fight in the second half. Instead, they totaled just nine fast-break points while making just 7 of 25 3-pointers. Instead, they were out-rebounded by 11 while giving up 101 points, above their
They were coming in hoping to steal one on the road. Instead, the Warriors stole whatever momentum they'd gained from their 3-2 start.
"We were just out of sync," Warriors coach Mark Jackson said. "No excuse."
It was the Lakers' offense that was the subject of much controversy. Brown had installed the Princeton offense, which seemed to cripple the star-studded offense. But Lakers assistant coach Bernie Bickerstaff, who was named interim head coach, went back to a more traditional offense.
Los Angeles (2-4) managed to shoot just 40 percent. Their 54 second-half points were powered by making 13 of 16 free throws. Big men Pau Gasol and Howard combined to score just 20 points on 8-of-24 shooting.
However, Kobe Bryant looked like Kobe Bryant.
He had 27 points on 10-of-18 shooting with nine rebounds and seven assists.
"I think just by the look of it, the one difference you saw is they definitely were playing more simple basketball," forward David Lee said after needing 10 shots to get 10 points. "I think they were running a lot of pick and rolls, getting Kobe in the post a lot. (Pau) Gasol didn't shoot a great percentage, but he got up 18 shots tonight. So they did some different things. But overall, I felt they were a pretty good team to begin with, they just had a tough stretch to start the season."
The Warriors offense, however, made the Lakers look like a juggernaut. The Warriors shot 33.7 percent. They took more 3-pointers (25) than free throws (20) and had more turnovers (18) than assists (12). Even forward Carl Landry, the Warriors' most efficient scorer this season, was just 3 of 12 from the field with six points.
And the good defense they did play at times was negated on the boards. The Lakers grabbed 16 offensive rebounds, leading to 23 second-chance points.
"If you're going to beat a good team on the road," Jackson said, "you've got to take care of the basketball, you've got to rebound. You're going to miss shots. I'm fine with that. But we've got to do a better job closing out possessions. We came in with the mindset to run, and they outscored us even in fast-break points. Just disappointing overall."
"This is a business," Jackson said. "It's sad to see a very good coach get fired, but this is a business and that's the way it goes. It's disappointing, but at the same time, Mike Brown will land on his feet and be just fine."