Like the story of David and Goliath, the underdog takes down the powerhouse. In this case, the Los Angeles Lakers are Goliath and the Golden State Warriors are David. The Warriors found a way to beat the reigning NBA champions and in doing so might have unlocked a version of themselves that they have yet to see this season.
In this win over Los Angeles, struggling forward Kelly Oubre Jr. flourished in a new role, tremendously assisting the team in their comeback win over one of the Western Conference’s biggest threats.
Warriors Show Their Potential in Win Over Lakers
At the beginning of the game, it appeared that the Warriors were just going to be another team added to the Lakers’ winning streak. The Lakers were running up the score along with Dennis Schroeder’s phenomenal start to the game, no one would have thought that Golden State could come back from this early deficit. Then the Warriors’ ignited a fire.
The Lakers blew a 19 point lead and allowed the Warriors to gain their first lead of the night with three minutes left in the fourth quarter. The win was sealed when Curry floated up a deep three-pointer over the lengthy arms of Lakers’ Anthony Davis which gave them the 115-113 advantage to win the game.
Lakers’ star LeBron James had the opportunity to save the game with 1.7 seconds left with a deep three-pointer. The Lakers had no time outs left so James went for it and was slightly off the mark, ending the team’s five-game win streak.
Kelly Oubre Jr. Gave His Best Performance of the Season
In this matchup against the Lakers, Oubre Jr. was the primary defender of LeBron James. Oubre Jr. recorded a season-high 23 points along with four rebounds and two blocks and two steals, shooting 9-of-18 from the field.
“Kelly played arguably his best game on both ends of the floor,” said Stephen Curry in a postgame interview. “And this is a step in the right direction.”
Starting the season off with a somewhat notable slump, Oubre Jr. approached the game shooting 50-of-143 from the field and shooting at only 19 percent from the three. Being aware of Oubre’s slump and hoping to encourage the forward, Steve Kerr mentioned a potential change in the rotation in an interview on Sunday.
Oubre Jr. was acquired during the off-season in the hopes of making up for the absence of All-Star Klay Thompson who is out for the entirety of the season due to an Achilles injury.
Oubre Jr. replaced Andrew Wiggins in the slightly new lineup while Curry and Draymond Green were also on the bench. Without those three in the game, Oubre Jr. had the ability to make the plays that he wanted to without deferring to one of those three.
“I just decided to make the change, thinking about it over the last couple of days, just to flip-flop Andrew and Kelly in the rotation to give Kelly a chance to play with a different group,” Steve Kerr said. “In the early part of the season, he’s gotten kind of lost in that he’s just standing in the corner and not a whole lot is happening for him. I thought playing with the second unit would maybe activate him, get him more aggressive, get him more involved. I thought he did a great job.”
When the Lakers had their 19 point lead, Oubre hit his second three-pointer of the second quarter which cut the lead to only five. He managed to score 16 points in the first half alone.
Oubre Jr. was even slapped with a technical foul after blowing a kiss to the Lakers. The kiss seemed to entertain NBA fans however it did not entertain the refs at all.
In this match against the Lakers, Oubre Jr. appeared to be very comfortable with his new role on the team. During the beginning of the season, he struggled with his shooting and making sound decisions offensively. However, this win over the Lakers could be a sign of change for the new guard.
With this not being their first comeback of the season, the Warriors have shown that it’s never time to count them out. Even being down by double digits does not mean that they’re totally out of the game. This could mark a momentum shift for the Warriors and Oubre Jr.
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