5 takeaways from Lakers’ Game 1 victory over Warriors

The Los Angeles Lakers defeated the Golden State Warriors 117-112 in Game 1 of the Western Conference semifinals. Lakers star Anthony Davis had a dominant performance, scoring 30 points, grabbing 23 rebounds, dishing out five assists, and blocking four shots. The Warriors struggled to contain Davis on both ends of the court, with center Kevon Looney finding it difficult to venture beyond the paint and deal with Davis’ versatility and range. LeBron James also contributed with a solid all-around game, while the Lakers’ defense held the Warriors to under 41% shooting and forced them into tough shots.

The Warriors rallied from 14 points down in the final six minutes to generate some noise in Chase Center, but they couldn’t seize the outcome. Steph Curry, who had scored 50 points in Game 7 of the first round against the Sacramento Kings, struggled to find his rhythm and put up only 27 points on 10-for-24 shooting. The Lakers’ defense made him work hard for his shots and forced him into a tough three-point attempt in the final seconds that missed the mark. Warriors coach Steve Kerr acknowledged that the free throw disparity (29 attempts for the Lakers and six for the Warriors) was significant and that his team needed to attack more.

The Lakers’ defense, previously a concern for the team earlier in the season, has become a strength in the playoffs. The addition of defensive specialist Jarred Vanderbilt, along with a renewed focus on the concept, has helped the Lakers get more stops and hold opponents to low scores. This was evident in their first-round series against the Memphis Grizzlies, whom they held to 112 points or less all but once in six games. Davis was particularly effective on defense, providing rim protection that forced the Warriors to rethink their approach. The Lakers’ defense also removed Curry from the equation in the final possession of Game 1, forcing him to surrender the ball and allowing them to seal the victory.

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