With the Western Conference Semifinals series now tied at 1-1 and heading back to LA, Magic Johnson wants to see the Lakers make some impactful changes of their own.
“In Game 3 the Lakers have to make some major changes and adjust to how the Warriors are now playing them,” Johnson tweeted after the loss on Thursday. “Coach Steve Kerr made excellent adjustments on offense putting JaMychal Green in the lineup to spread the court as well as adjusting their offensive plays. Defensively they kept the Lakers out of the paint.”
The most significant shift the Warriors made was inserting Green into the starting lineup in place of Kevon Looney, allowing Golden State to push the pace.
“It’s using our strengths to our advantage,” Warriors star Stephen Curry said. “You have to give up something. So as long as we’re decisive and our floor is spaced properly, usually can find a good shot, and then you’ve just got to knock them down.”
LeBron James Credits JaMychal Green for Making Impact
Lakers star LeBron James acknowledged that Green’s presence — although it was only a dozen or so minutes — made an impact on the outcome.
“JaMychal gave him them big time minutes — just 13 minutes felt like 24 or 30 minutes. He was big-time for their team in a starting role tonight,” James said. “You have to give credit where credit is due and we move on to the next game. But our defense is where we hang our hat and that doesn’t stop, no matter what you are playing against.”
Green played just 14 minutes per game for the Warriors the season, averaging 6.4 points and 3.6 rebounds. But he was ready when his number was called, scoring 15 points on 66% shooting.
“It feels good to be able to do this after the year I had,” Green said. “It’s been a rough one. I haven’t been through anything like this before. I feel like this is a year of growth for me. I feel like if I can get through this, I can get through anything.”
Lakers Star Anthony Davis Struggles Mightily in Game 2
On the defensive end, Draymond Green took on the duty of guarding Anthony Davis for the majority of the matchup. Davis — who had 30 points and 23 rebounds in Game 1 — managed just 11 points and 7 rebounds. And overall, it led to the Lakers being much less dominant in the paint and cut down the disparity in free throws. LA shot 23 more than Golden State in Game 1 but it was just about even for the second matchup.
“We met force with force,” Draymond Green said. “We fouled so much the last game, and we were on the free throw line and it seemed like every play. That’s tough. That’s a great defensive team. You’re playing against that defense every time down the floor just set waiting on you to come down, it’s a lot tougher to score. I think our defense led to some better offense for us.”
Davis went 5-of-11 from the field and didn’t show the same aggressiveness he did in Game 1. He attributed the rough night to bad shooting luck.
“I took all the same shots I took in Game 1, I just missed them,” Davis said. “Elbow jumpers, pocket passes to the floater, same exact looks, didn’t shoot no shot that I didn’t shoot in Game 1, just missed them. Like Bron said, they made adjustments, shot the ball extremely well from 3. We’ll be better, I’ll be better making those shots. Get back home on our home court and take care of business.”
Game 3 is scheduled for Saturday at Crypto.com Arena. The Lakers are a 3-point favorite for the matchup.