Warriors top Lakers on opening night
After a long offseason, the NBA finally returned to arenas across the country.
The marquee matchup of opening night Oct. 18 was the defending champion Golden State Warriors hosting Lebron James and the Los Angeles Lakers at the Chase Center in San Francisco.
The Lakers were coming off a disappointing 33-49 2021-22 season where they missed the playoffs for the first time since 2019.
The night started out as a celebration of the Warriors fourth championship in eight seasons. Warriors legends and relatives of legends from each of the past championship teams lined the court with the championship rings at half-court. The Warriors then unfurled their 2022 championship banner and raised it to the rafters.
After a short clean up, it was game on. Both teams struggled some from the field to start the game as, according to the TNT broadcast, the Warriors shot only 28% from the field in the first quarter, and the Lakers were an abysmal 2-18 on 3-point shots well into the second quarter.
The Warriors heated up quicker, however, going up as much as 14 points in the second quarter. The Lakers would fire back with a 13-7 run to head into the half down only 59-53.
The Lakers tried to take momentum back on a Lebron James dunk with 8:44 left in the third to make it 70-62 Warriors. From there, however, it would be all Golden State.
The Warriors would go on a 21-2 run over the next seven minutes. Steph Curry knocked down back-to-back 3-pointers during the run, and the Warriors suddenly held a 89-64 lead.
The Lakers would attempt to make a comeback, cutting the lead down to as much as 12, but the Warriors would still maintain and hang on for a 123-109 victory.
For the Lakers, James led the way with 31 points while shooting 12-25 from the field. Anthony Davis had an off-and-on night, finishing with 27 points. Kendrick Nunn led all bench scorers with 13 points.
Curry led all scorers with 33 points on the night in 33 minutes of play. Andrew Wiggins and Klay Thompson both followed with 18 points of their own for Golden State.
Jordan Poole led the Warriors bench with 12 points. Poole’s impressive night followed the recent announcement by the organization Oct. 16 of his multi-year contract extension. ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski later reported that the contract is worth $140 million and will keep Poole in the Bay until 2026.
Regardless, the reigning champs did not skip a beat in the Golden City as they look to further their dynasty with a fifth title in nine seasons.
Lipowski is a sports reporter for the Liberty Champion. Follow him on Twitter