The Los Angeles Lakers posted one of the biggest upsets of the NBA season Sunday with an unlikely 112-95 victory over the reigning league champion Golden State Warriors.
Pre-game hype Sunday was all about Kobe Bryant`s final contest against the Warriors, but the crowd of 19,000 at Staples Center arena got more than they wished for with a rare win by the cellar-dwelling Lakers.
“This helps out our team`s growth,” Bryant said. “The learning curve comes from trusting our defense.”
Jordan Clarkson scored 25 points and D`Angelo Russell tallied 21 as the Lakers handed the Warriors only their sixth loss of the season against 55 triumphs.
The Warriors are chasing the all-time best season in NBA history, the 72-10 campaign of the Chicago Bulls in 1995-96. To match the mark, Golden State must now win 17 of the final 21 games this season.
Based on the winning percentage difference of .727 between the teams before Sunday`s game, the result is the largest upset in NBA history.
Bryant, who has been hampered by injuries of late, had 12 points on four-of-14 shooting in 24 minutes of court time.
It marked the 37-year-old Bryant`s first game back at Staples Center arena since February 2. He missed three of the last four regular season games with a sore shoulder.
“I feel terrible not being able to be out here for every single game,” said Bryant, who is retiring after the regular season. “If I can give it a go I will go out there and try.”
Asked how many of the Lakers` final 18 games that he would be able to play Bryant said, “hopefully all of them. I know it is wishful thinking.”
Stephen Curry finished with 18 points, six rebounds and four assists, but shot just one-of-10 from beyond the arc for the Warriors, who saw their seven-game win streak snapped.
“We didn`t have much energy,” Curry said. “Just one of those nights you want to avoid at all cost.”
Curry`s backcourt partner Klay Thompson scored 15 points, but missed all eight of his three-point attempts and shot seven-for-20 overall.