The Golden State Warriors were brought down to earth with a resounding bump on Sunday as the Los Angeles Lakers secured a 112-95 victory to become only the sixth team to beat them this season.
Jordan Clarkson bagged 25 points, with D’Angelo Russell adding 21 to cause one of the biggest shocks in NBA history.
The Lakers went into the game with a 12-51 record, but produced a polished performance that restricted Warriors’ star man Steph Curry to just 18 points.
Warriors are now 55-6 for the season, leaving them one game ahead of the pace set by the 1995-96 Chicago Bulls for the best regular season record in league history.
Michael Jordan’s team were 54-7 after 61 games and with a run of six home games to come the Warriors could easily stay ahead of the game as they enter the final straight.
The defeat was the Warriors first since a 32-point at Portland Trail Blazers on February 19 and head coach Steve Kerr didn’t make any excuses after the game.
“We got what we deserved,” he said. “When the ball doesn’t go in, you have to win with energy and defense and toughness and we didn’t have any of that.”
“We looked like the millennials tonight. We couldn’t focus. We weren’t ready. Zero attention span on either end.”
With Curry and Klay Thompson struggling to hit three-pointers – they were a combined 1 from 18 on the night – Warriors offensive performance ranked as one of their worst of the season.
Overall the team hit just four out of 30 three-point attempts, but Curry refused to criticize his teammates.
“I would say 24 of them were good shots that just missed – it happens,” said Curry.
“We haven’t brought our A-plus game, but we’ve found different ways to win. That’s what we’ve been most proud of this year.”
“Today could have been the same story had we made shots in the third quarter and not dug ourselves such a huge hole.”
For Lakers’ legend Kobe Bryant the game was a final chance to pit his wits against the NBA’s latest star.
“We executed the game plan very well. We paid attention to detail very well,” Bryant said. “For the young guys, it’s extremely important to see the results of it.”
“As they grow, they start trusting that more and more, they start trusting the process more and more. From that aspect, it was a big game.”
The Warriors are back in action on Monday night at home to Orlando Magic.