Janie McCauley, Associated Press
Published Tuesday, December 25, 2018 23:13 EST
LAKLAND, Calif. – The Los Angeles Lakers lost LeBron James in the third quarter because of a bruise on the left and beat the defending double champion without him on Tuesday night, clinching 17 points, 13 rebounds and five assists for King James. before the injury in an astounding 127-101 rout of the Golden State Warriors.
James grabbed his left groin with 7: 51s in the third after slipping under the Warriors' basket as he tried a loose ball. He tried to stretch it, awkwardly walked toward the Lakers bench trying to loosen up before heading out through the tunnel alone into the locker room.
Stephen Curry made 3 consecutive shortly after James left, and the Warriors were within 78-76 at the 2:48 mark of the third – but Kyle Kuzma and the persistent Lakers stayed in every possession. Curry finished with 15 points, but home fans had seen enough before the last bell and left for the rest of Christmas.
Kuzma contributed 19 points with a nice bottom line 3, Ivica Zubac made 18 points and 11 rebounds and Rajon Rondo 15 points and 10 assists in the bench when the Lakers broke a series of 11 defeats on the Warriors floor since 118th. 115 overtime wins December 22, 2012. Los Angeles also ended a seven-game general skid in rivalry with their first win in the series since March 6, 2016.
James made it look easy at the beginning of filming Jonas Jerebko and Kevon Looney. James hit a turnaround at 4:39 in the second quarter to put the Lakers ahead 52-37 and L.A. took 65-50 at halftime.
It was James' second Christmas game at the Oracle Arena after playing here with the Cavaliers last year and losing 99-92.
Lakers coach Luke Walton – a former Warriors assistant and dear friend of Steve Kerr – had some time with his father from the Hall of Fame, Bill, before the game and a few moments to talk to Curry and share the holiday greetings in the hallway after the MVP warm-up routine twice.
Kevin Durant, playing on his left ankle, had 21 points, seven rebounds and seven assists. Andre Iguodala came off the bench and made his initial five shots and 7 of 9 in the range for the 23 points of the season, while also dealing with part of the charge defending James.
Golden State raised just 9 to 36 deep, Curry going 2 of 8 and Durant 3 to 8.
MCGEE DELAYED RING
Lakers center JaVale McGee was still sick with a respiratory infection and lost his fifth consecutive game, did not travel and missed his appointed time to receive his champion ring. This will happen on February 2, when the Lakers return to the Oracle Arena.
McGee was one of the three great men who ran in Steve Kerr's rotation on the way to a repeat title.
"I'm happy for JaVale," Kerr said. "He's more likely to play with the Lakers than with us." "We had a lot of centers that had a very important role for us in the last two years, he was fantastic and we loved having him here, I wish he was here and that we could give him his ring today, but let's do it next time. Very happy for him and his success this year. "
Lakers: Zubac killed 9-for-10. The Lakers lost three of four, so that meant a lot. … Los Angeles improved to 5-6 on the road against the Western Conference. … Tyson Chandler, who had been questioned with back spasms after he lost Sunday's game against Memphis, returned and played 16 minutes.
Warriors: Iguodala reached double digits for the fourth time this season. … Curry and Draymond Green picked up two early fouls and Green dropped with 5:36 left. He was limited to four points, five assists and five rebounds. … Golden State is 12-16 at Christmas and 6-5 at home.
Lakers: In Sacramento on Thursday.
Warriors: Host Portland on Thursday.