Kobe Bryant and the Los Angeles Lakers throttled the defending-champion Golden State Warriors 112-95 Sunday night at the Staples Center.
Bryant shot just 4-of-14, including misses on all five of his 3-point attempts and he sat the entire fourth quarter. But he was was instrumental in his 24 minutes off the floor, constantly barking advice at his young teammates from the bench.
“He’s very aggressive with his words,” said D’Angelo Russell, who finished with 21 points. “I can’t really say what he was saying, but it was very aggressive. But he got the bigs to push up and the guards to push up (defensively on pick-and-rolls) and play tougher. Kobe did his thing.”
“He led us,” Julius Randle said. “Like I said, it was important that we locked in for a full 48 minutes, because (the Warriors) are so explosive as a team. Any time (Bryant) thought there was any little slippage or whatever, he was on us.”
Jordan Clarkson led all players with 25 points, while Russell added four steals to his scoring, and Randle racked up his 27th double-double of the year (12 points, 14 rebounds).
“Kobe kept us on our toes,” Russell said. “He was coaching us the whole game from the sideline. Metta (too) — they were doing a great job of coaching us on the sideline, telling us to push it when you got it, (saying) ’Don’t wait.’ It worked.”