LOS ANGELES — Throughout the season, the Golden State Warriors have made a habit of laying an egg after a big win, preferring complacency over sustained effort.
That was not the case Thursday night, as the Warriors overwhelmed the undermanned Lakers 108-90 at Staples Center in a game dominated from the opening tip.
With the win, the Warriors maintained their lead atop the Western Conference with three games to go.
Here are the biggest takeaways from Thursday’s game.
Strong Start: A good indicator to measure how much the Warriors care about a game is how they play the first quarter. On Thursday, it was evident Golden State wanted this game, holding the Lakers to just 12 points on 20.7 percent shooting from the field. When the Warriors’ offense tightened, they went to Kevin Durant, who scored 10 of his 15 points in the quarter.
This season, the Warriors have made a habit of underwhelming performances after big wins, including a 115-111 loss to the Phoenix Suns at home following a recemt home victory against Denver. Prior to Thursday’s game, coach Steve Kerr expressed hope the team would bring the necessary energy against an undermanned squad. Four hours later, his team provided it.
Boogie: Third Splash Brother? Two nights after one of his best performances of the season, DeMarcus Cousins scored a game-high 21 points, adding 10 rebounds in 24 minutes.
Boogie did most of his damage in the third quarter, scoring 11 points — including three 3-pointers — in the frame. Since his return from a torn Achilles, Cousins’ 3-point shot has been inconsistent, but it’s come on as of late. Over his last two games, he’s shooting 45 percent from beyond the arc.
This is the Cousins the Warriors hoped to have when they signed him last summer. If his play continues, the road to a title will be that much easier.
Turnovers: Perhaps Golden State’s lone blemish Thursday night was their turnover count. Despite building a big lead in the first quarter, the Warriors gave the ball away seven times in the period, finishing with 18 on the night.
While they curtailed their carelessness in the second half, best believe Kerr will let the team know about it heading into Friday’s matchup against the Cavaliers.
This post was originally posted at http://www.nbcbayarea.com/news/local/Warriors-Make-Quick-Easy-Work-of-Lakers-508151311.html.