Los Angeles, CA — The Los Angeles Lakers and reigning two time champion Golden State Warriors squared of in front of a sold out Las Vegas crowd at the T-Mobile arena on Wednesday night. The Lakers defeated the Warriors 123-113 in a fast pace, intense shootout.
These are two of the favorites to represent the Western Conference in this year's Finals. The Warriors for obvious reasons, winning three of the past four championships and the Lakers because they were able to land the best in the game in LeBron James to go along with the young talent they already have.
James who only played in the first half (18 minutes) had a double-double finished with 15 points, 10 rebounds and 5 assists. He also had several highlight plays that had the crowd on it's feet with a one hand opposite hand layup with the defender holding his right arm, a three pointer to end the first half from about 35 feet, and a lob to Lonzo Ball that he finished above the run in his first game back from injury.
Brandon Ingram who led all scorers with 26 points and Kyle Kuzma (22 points) showed why President of Basketball Operations Magic Johnson and Rob Pelinka why they made a good decision not to trade either of them. They are two young versatile wings that should only ascend from here.
Second year point guard Lonzo Ball made his preseason debut coming off the bench. He played 23 minutes and scored 7 points and grabbed 4 rebounds. He said in a post game interview regarding his first live game action with James:
"When you play with LeBron, you got to keep playing, because he's easy to watch, as much stuff as he does," Ball said. "He had a monster first half. Best player in the world, that is what he does."
The Warriors led by Klay Thompson, Steph Curry, and Kevin Durant combined for 61 of the teams 113. Curry had 18 of his 23 points in the first half.
Durant who ended up fouling out midway through the third finished with a double-double with 18 points and 12 rebounds.
Yes, it's just preseason and the defending champs are not full strength (Draymond Green & DeMarcus Cousin both didn't play) and they weren't locked in to win a preseason game, but the Lakers looked like they belonged on the same floor last night. Which is a good sign for a team trying to measure themselves against the best.