Golden State Warriors

Warriors set all-time record against Lakers, and Kobe Bryant helped make it look amazingly easy

stephkobe

When the score was 30-11 at the end of the first quarter, everyone knew. The Warriors would have an easy time moving to 16-0, in the process setting an NBA record for the most consecutive wins to start a season.

The way Golden State won shows how historically great this team is. Yes, the Lakers are beyond putrid. Kobe Bryant is no longer KOBE. He’s just a tired, mediocre very below average 2-guard with a long leash due to his $25 million salary and living legend status. But he’s been incredible at Oracle throughout his entire career, and with Tuesday night’s game meaning so much more than a standard game in late-November, you wondered if he’d pull out one last great performance in Oakland.

Nope. He made 1-of-14 shots, tying his worst performance from the field in a game where he shot at least five times. He wasn’t just a little bit off, either. One of his airballs was on a three he shot long, and one of his midrange jumpers got lodged between the rim and glass.

The Warriors won by 34. At one point in the fourth quarter they led by 41. It was another fantastic performance by a team that is playing against history and themselves more than other NBA teams. But this goes beyond the best team in the league waxing one of the league’s worst squads. For those who remember where the Warriors came from, and where the Lakers came from, this is unlike anything we’ve ever seen.

How many times have the Lakers been the best team in the NBA when they faced the Warriors? 20? 40? It’s happened several times in the past 15 years, that’s for sure. But the Warriors, even at their Cohan-Rowell worst, never put forth a performance this pathetic when facing their pseudo-rivals from Southern California.

Remember when Bryant and Antawn Jamison both scored 51 points in that overtime game, when Bryant played 51 minutes and Jamison played all 53? History wasn’t at stake; this was nothing more than a 125-122 win in Oakland for the Warriors on Dec. 6, 2000. Those Lakers would go on to win the title against the Sixers, and those Warriors finished that season with 17 wins. Those Lakers were good, but they weren’t good enough to beat those awful Warriors by more than 20 that season.

It’s amazing how much things have changed, but it’s more remarkable how well the Warriors are playing this season. They might be getting each opposing team’s “best effort” due to their 2015 championship and current winning streak, but they stomped the Nuggets in Denver (generally thought of as one of the toughest places to play) to tie the 1948-49 Washington Capitals and 1993-94 Houston Rockets. Then they put the Lakers in quit mode before the first quarter ended. And the Warriors started their record-setting night looking a little tight, missing several easy shots early.

It helped that they played a team stuck in the past, as the Lakers went 3-for-20 on threes (probably about 15 more threes than Byron Scott would’ve liked them to take), while the Warriors went a relatively average — for them — 12-for-35 from behind the arc. For Warriors fans used to the Lakers always having the upper hand, it had to be cathartic to set this record against the guys wearing purple and gold, Bryant in particular. But it was a little strange to see Bryant’s deterioration in person, and to see how his fall has led to the Lakers becoming perhaps the worst non-76ers team in the NBA. The rest of the team is terrible, but Bryant’s presence stunts the youngsters’ growth while his own play provides a sad reminder of what he and the Lakers used to represent.

Not that the anyone who rooted on those scrappy Warriors teams of years past, which gave the high-and-mighty Lakers everything they could handle whenever they stepped into Oracle, should feel anything close to remorse. These are the best days in franchise history, and running past Bryant’s basketball corpse is a part of the turnaround.

Dub Steps

— I can’t remember the last time I saw this many airballs in a game.

— Nick Young smells blood. The sooner Kobe retires, the sooner Swaggy P can start and score 20 ppg for this terrible team.

— When the ball swung around the perimeter, and Draymond Green (who was wide open from three) passed it to Andre Iguodala (who was even more open from three), and Iguodala took it in for an easy layup, it looked like both teams were playing a completely different sport.

— Jordan Clarkson has a lot to be thankful for this week. If Steph Curry would’ve hit that three after crossing Clarkson up — to the point where he ended up 30 feet away from Curry after crossing midcourt — Clarkson would’ve had to deal with that highlight being a part of every “Curry’s second MVP” montage throughout the spring and summer.

— 1995-96 Bulls through 16 games: 14-2 record, 103.38 points scored per game, 95.13 points allowed per game (+8.25 differential)

— 2015-16 Warriors through 16 games: 16-0 record, 114.31 points scored per game, 98.69 points allowed per game (+15.62 differential)

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