Lakers vs. Warriors score: Takeaways as Lakers overcome LeBron James' injury to beat the Warriors
The Lakers looked impressive in their 26-point win over the Warriors
The fourth, and perhaps most anticipated NBA Christmas Day game did not go the way that many expected. Led by LeBron James, the Los Angeles Lakers got out to a tremendous start, and led by 15 points at halftime.
But a few minutes into the third quarter, "The King" left the game with a groin injury after falling awkwardly while trying to get a loose ball, and didn't return. Almost immediately, the Warriors went on a big run to get right back in the game.
At that point, pretty much everyone assumed the Warriors would eventually pull away with the game. Instead, Rajon Rondo took control of the game and propelled the Lakers to a 127-101 win.
Here are five takeaways from the Lakers' impressive performance.
LeBron James stars, then gets hurt
To the surprise of almost no one, LeBron was ready to go for this prime-time game. In the first half alone he had 17 points, 10 rebounds and five assists, pushing the Lakers out to a 15-point advantage at the break. Just a few minutes into the third quarter though, he fell awkwardly while chasing a loose ball, and immediately grabbed his groin. After conversing with the trainers, he went to the locker room and did not return., but the true seriousness of his injury will be determined once he gets an MRI.
Statement win for Lakers
There were all sorts of questions about what this Lakers team would look like prior to the season. Through the first two months, they've perhaps exceeded expectations, and this blowout win over the Warriors was their biggest statement so far. It doesn't get much bigger than going into the two-time defending champions house and running them off the floor on Christmas. And to do so despite losing LeBron in the third quarter was especially impressive. At 20-14, they're now just two and a half games out of the top spot in the West.
Early foul trouble hurts Curry
Steph Curry got into early foul trouble, picking up two quick ones in the first quarter, with one call, in particular, looking quite shaky. There's no doubt that affected both him and the Warriors and contributed to their poor start to the game. The offense was choppy, and they struggled to make shots, two problems that Curry himself can solve. Later in the game, as the Warriors tried to put together a run, Curry was once again called for a questionable foul. You never want to blame a team's entire loss on the referees, but the Warriors were definitely impacted by Curry's early foul trouble.
3-point shooting flipped
The Warriors don't shoot as many 3s as they have in seasons past, but they're still one of the most accurate teams from deep. Heading into this Christmas matchup, they were fourth in the league, knocking down 38.4 percent of their attempts. Meanwhile, the Lakers were in the bottom half of the league, shooting 34.5 percent from deep. But those trends were reversed in this contest. Led by a 3-of-4 performance by Lance Stephenson, the Lakers shot an excellent 13-of-33 from deep. As for the Warriors, they were ice cold, going just 9-of-36 on 3-point attempts.
Playoff Rondo shows up
Rajon Rondo showed exactly why the Lakers were eager to sign him this offseason. His veteran experience was crucial once LeBron James left with an injured groin. But it wasn't just his presence; he played some fantastic basketball down the stretch, and was crucial in the Lakers' response to the Warriors' big run late in the third quarter. Rondo finished with 15 points, five rebounds and 10 assists in just 23 minutes.
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