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.


Milan turn to Jay-Z’s Roc Nation, Liverpool to revive glory

Updated 09 July 2020

Milan turn to Jay-Z’s Roc Nation, Liverpool to revive glory

ROME: Preparing to complete a ninth Serie A campaign without winning the Scudetto, AC Milan decided returning to the pinnacle of football required a new approach.

Jay-Z’s entertainment agency Roc Nation is at the center of it, linking up with Milan to scour the world for sponsors and use concerts and other high-profile events to attract new fans.

And who better to ask about how to end a title drought than the team that just won their league for the first time in 30 years?

“We have been talking to Liverpool,” Milan chief revenue officer Casper Stylsvig told The Associated Press, “because they’ve been through the same path as we are going through now.”

Milan are enduring their longest Serie A drought since the 1980s. Despite beating leader Juventus on Tuesday, even the top four Champions League places are out of reach in this pandemic-delayed season. It’s been seven years since Milan last competed in Europe’s elite competition.

“We’re working very hard to get back to where we should be, and from that perspective, it does help open doors when you have won seven Champions Leagues,” Stylsvig said. 

“Playing European football is top of the agenda. It is our natural habitat and somewhere we should be.”

Only Real Madrid has lifted the European Cup more often than Milan. But that seventh title was won 13 years ago, by beating Liverpool.

Now Liverpool are the lodestar for Milan, which have fallen to 21st in the Deloitte ranking of football’s moneymakers with revenue of €206.3 million  ($234 million) in the last financial year, a third of the income at the newly crowned Premier League champions.

“Four, five years ago, no one considered Liverpool and see where they are now,” Stylsvig said. “They obviously play very attractive football. They are winning, they have a fantastic manager, a fantastic team and now they are following suit from a commercial perspective. It has taken time, but their model seems to work.”

Liverpool have been run for a decade by John Henry’s Fenway Sports Group. Milan have also had American ownership for three years since the takeover by the Elliott Management hedge fund.

“We are obviously a global brand,” Stylsvig said in a telephone interview. “I’ve probably been talking too much in the Italian market in the last few years and (the coronavirus) sort of pushed us to think more global again.”

The pandemic that shut down sports produced the first public manifestation of the partnership with Roc Nation when Milan staged a live virtual fundraising concert headlined by Alicia Keys.

“I do think merging sport and entertainment could be the way of engaging new fans,” Stylsvig said. “The world has changed dramatically and we need to follow suit. Roc Nation is helping us, challenging us with that, having someone on the sideline to do that.”

The biggest audiences logging in to watch “From Milan with Love” were from China and the US.

With no games being played during the three-month Serie A shutdown — and crowds still prohibited from matches — Milan have had to find new ways of connecting with its fan base and fulfilling commercial deals.

“It’s been incredibly challenging,” Stylsvig said. “You basically have to rethink the model. So one of the first things we did was focusing much more on a digital space, creating content and trying to be engaging and trying to talk to our partners.”

Further down the line is moving into a new stadium, with plans to rebuild the San Siro it shares with Inter Milan.

“That will change the club,” Stylsvig said. “The revenues are incredibly important but also for the perception of the club.”