LeBron James leaned on his supporting cast to carry the load until he heated up in the second half and finished with 22 points, 11 assists and eight rebounds, leading the Los Angeles Lakers to a 125-120 victory over the Golden State Warriors on Saturday night.
Avery Bradley added 21 points with five 3-pointers and Anthony Davis had 27 points and 10 rebounds on a night the Warriors honored Kobe Bryant, his daughter, Gianna, and the other seven helicopter crash victims during Golden State's first home game since the deadly accident Jan. 26 in Southern California.
Andrew Wiggins scored 24 points on 8-for-12 shooting in his Warriors debut after he was traded by the Minnesota Timberwolves before Thursday's deadline in exchange for D'Angelo Russell, Jacob Evans III and Omari Spellman.
The Lakers, who had lost three of their previous five including a 121-111 defeat at home to Houston on Thursday, tried to pull away in the third against the new-look Warriors but Golden State stayed just close enough to make it interesting down the stretch.
Marquese Chriss shot 12 for 15 on the way to 26 points and grabbed nine rebounds for the Warriors, who got within 116-111 on Eric Paschall's dunk with 3:13 to play. Ky Bowman contributed 10 assists and Jordan Poole scored 19 points off the bench.
A 24-second moment of silence was held for the nine helicopter crash victims, who were honored on the outdoor video board at Chase Center. All fans received a black Bryant T-shirt with his Nos. 8 and 24 and Gianna's 2.
Nine beams of light were shone up from the court before the game in rememberance.
Warriors coach Steve Kerr admires James for saying he will carry on Bryant's legacy.
“You are talking about two of the greatest players in the history of the game. LeBron is already doing that. He was doing that most of his career,” Kerr said. “Once he established himself as one of the very best, he was carrying on the legacies of previous greats. It's how this league works. It will be very emotional tonight for all of us to honor Kobe."
"... It's amazing the sense of loss even for those of us that didn't know him very well. Everything just feels hollow. We grieve for Kobe and Gianna and the other families all involved. It's something that's not going to get any easier right away.”
Just as he was finishing up his extensive pregame stretching routine in the locker room, James toppled backward and fell to the floor. All was OK. “Breaking news ... LeBron out,” King James said with a smile after hopping right back to his feet and heading to the court to shoot.
The Warriors hung a trio of posters at the entrance to the Lakers locker room welcoming back former Golden State players JaVale McGee, DeMarcus Cousins and Quinn Cook. Kerr and McGee briefly caught up before the game near the Warriors locker room.
A photo of Cook and Cousins was also shown on the big screen late in the first quarter.
Lakers: The Lakers shot 59.1% in the first quarter, making 5 of 7 3s. They finished 14 for 29 from deep. ... The bench scored 41 points, 12 by Dwight Howard and 11 from Rajon Rondo. ... L.A. has won 14 straight on the road vs. the Western Conference and is 16-1 overall against the West away from Staples Center.
Warriors: With all the change, before the game Golden State's fifth starter was still listed as TBD — not something seen often — though Kerr had said it would be Bowman. ... Golden State signed guards Zach Norvell Jr. and Jeremy Pargo to 10-day contracts. The Warriors already had added Chriss and Bowman on Friday by converting their two-way contracts. ... Injured Splash Brother Klay Thompson celebrated his 30th birthday and waved when shown on the board in the fourth quarter. ... Golden State had won 12 of the last 13 home meetings with the Lakers and 10 of 13 overall.
Lakers: Host Phoenix on Monday.
Warriors: Host Heat on Monday, having won the last five vs. Miami at home but with two straight losses in the series overall.