Lakers beat Warriors 120-94, improve to NBA-best 9-2

Dwight Howard of the Los Angeles Lakers scores as Alec Burks of the Golden State Warriors watches during their the regular season game at the Staples Center in Los Angeles on Nov. 13, 2019. (AFP / Frederic J. Brown)
Updated 14 November 2019

Lakers beat Warriors 120-94, improve to NBA-best 9-2

  • Golden State is but a shadow of the franchise that made five straight NBA Finals appearances

LOS ANGELES: No Anthony Davis for the first time this season, no problem for the Los Angeles Lakers.
LeBron James had 23 points and 12 assists in three quarters, Kyle Kuzma and JaVale McGee dominated the middle, and the Lakers rolled past the hobbled Golden State Warriors 120-94 on Wednesday night.
Kuzma scored 22 points starting for Davis and McGee had 18 points and 17 rebounds.
“Our bigs were amazing,” James said. “They controlled the interior both offensively and defensively.”
The Lakers improved their NBA-best record to 9-2 without Davis, who was held out because of a sore right shoulder.
“If one of our stars go down, we have to pick up for him,” McGee said.
The Lakers had 31 assists in the second half of a back-to-back. Their 39 at Phoenix a night earlier was the franchise’s most since April 14, 2009. They notched 31 against defending NBA champion Toronto.
“We know we’re very good when we’re moving the ball,” said James, adding that assists totaling in the high 20s to 30s “let’s me know we’re definitely paying attention.”
James & Co. didn’t waste any time breaking out. He won the opening tip and McGee scored off his alley-oop pass. James keyed a 12-0 run with six points in the first quarter when the Lakers shot 70 percent and made five 3-pointers. Their 38 points tied a season high for points in a quarter.
Los Angeles extended its lead to 18 points in the second. The Warriors scored 11 in a row to get within seven, but the Lakers quickly restored their lead to double digits at halftime. James’ vicious one-handed dunk riled up the crowd. Their 67 points tied a season high for points in a half.
Former Laker D’Angelo Russell scored 21 points for the Warriors, who lost their fifth in a row and fell to 2-10, worst in the West.
“We’re playing hard, but we have defensive lapses and it adds up,” Russell said. “We have to figure it out. We have guys that are capable, but we have to continue to learn.”
Golden State is but a shadow of the franchise that made five straight NBA Finals appearances. Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson are injured, and Kevin Durant departed in the offseason.
“We’re getting a great effort but we’re not executing,” Warriors coach Steve Kerr said. “Right now, we’re taking our licks and we must learn from our mistakes. Our young guys are learning by getting thrown into the fire.”
Twice the Lakers led by 23 in the third, the second time on a 3-pointer by Dwight Howard. He finished with 15 points and eight rebounds.
Los Angeles extended its lead to 27 in the fourth. McGee’s one-handed reverse dunk highlighted a 14-5 opening run.
“We did a good job locking in on defense and put a lot of pressure on the paint,” Kuzma said.
James sat out the final period, but he still assisted, pulling Davis and DeMarcus Cousins out of their seats to join the team during a timeout.

TIP-INS
Warriors: Their five-game winning streak against the Lakers in LA ended. Golden State had won 10 of 11 overall in the series. ... Draymond Green had 10 points in his second game after missing five straight with a left index finger sprain.
Lakers: Davis is expected to return Friday. ... Rajon Rondo (mild right calf strain) sat out but will return for the next back-to-back on Nov. 22-23. ... They are 5-1 at home. ... Their only losses have been to the Clippers and Raptors.

BACK-TO-BACK
James has a history of being better in the second half of a back-to-back.
“We don’t have shootaround,” he said by way of explanation. “I get to sleep in.”

UP NEXT
Warriors: Host Boston on Friday, one of just two home games during a 10-game stretch that has them traveling from Houston to Minneapolis to New Orleans.
Lakers: Host Sacramento on Friday in a game that brings ex-Lakers coach Luke Walton back to Staples Center. They went 3-1 against the Kings last season.


Saudi desert gears up for Dakar Rally in January

Updated 13 December 2019

Saudi desert gears up for Dakar Rally in January

  • Taking place from January 5 to 17, the 7500-kilometer adventure will be hosted in Asia for the first time
  • The race will start in Jeddah and will end in Qiddiya, Riyadh

DUBAI: The countdown begins for the Dakar Rally Saudi Arabia in Jeddah, where hundreds of drivers from different countries are set to brave Saudi desert over 13 days.

Taking place from January 5 to 17, the 7500-kilometer adventure will be hosted in Asia for the first time. The race will start in Jeddah and will end in Qiddiya, Riyadh.

“We were really excited by the extremely beautiful landscape and the deserts were exactly what we expected with the dunes, the nice mountains and small canyons. We have some stages along the sea also, so it will be a mixed landscape, which is very interesting,” 13-time Dakar Rally winner Stéphane Peterhansel said.

The drivers will undergo 12 stages throughout the race, where they will experience different terrains and explore the Kingdom’s landscape.

It will start in Jeddah for 752 kilometer, then continues up north along the coast for nearly 900 kilometer through the Red Sea Project until it reaches the megacity Neom, where the journey reaches its highest point at an altitude of 1,400 meters amid a series of canyons and mountains.

From Neom, the racers will cruise 676 kilometers Al Ula in Dakar’s fourth stage before the sandy hills of Ha’il put the navigation skills of competitors to the test while descending south onto Riyadh.

A rest day in the capital will be followed by Dakar Saudi Arabia’s longest stage – a 741-kilometer route to the west in the center of the kingdom’s enormous desert before looping back towards Haradh in the eastern governorate of Al Ahsa.

The racers will then enter the Empty Quarter for the grand finals, where the winner will be crowned on the final podium.