Warriors upset sloppy Lakers
Francis Williams isn’t the only loss Lakers now have to deal with.
Basketball’s Premier League champs don’t have their coaching staff, but First Works Warriors finally got their men, after going nine of ten from the free-throw line inside the final minute to spur Thursday’s 76-69 upset of Lumber Company Lakers at the Wildey Gym.
The result itself wasn’t shocking, considering Warriors barely lost a last-minute, five-point heartbreaker in their first-round matchup just two months ago.
But the manner in which it came was puzzling, as Lakers continually chose to send Corey McDonald and Randy Simmons to the line in a one-possession game when they still owned timeouts with more than 50 seconds left.
The baffling series of intentional fouls was just the latest cause of concern surrounding the coach-less Lakers, who played their fourth straight game without Williams and were also missing key players Ricardo Jemmott and Mark Bridgeman.
Not that Warriors would sympathize.
It was only the suspension-ravaged side’s third win since the infamous Gym brawl – the fallout of which left Warriors staring demotion in the face following sanctions to five key players.
But the Dayrells Road men got the benefit of playing an unusually cold and sloppy Lakers unit that went an even more rare 19 of 80 from the field and just six for 22 behind the arc while posting a season-low nine points in the first quarter.
However, Lakers managed to rally from an early double-digit deficit before taking their first lead on a Keefe Birkett triple (57-55) with 3:13 in the fourth quarter.
McDonald responded with a three of his own, though, before Simmons’ leak-out and free throws put Warriors back up 66-61 with 1:01 to play.
Andre Lockhart made the contest a one-possession game (67-65) quickly thereafter, only for Lakers to resort to intentionally fouling despite having a timeout with 45.7 remaining.
And both McDonald and Simmons duly made them pay, sinking nine of ten free throws the rest of the way while Lockhart scored back-to-back layups to keep the contest interesting.
McDonald finished with 14 points and 14 rebounds while Simmons scored 12 for Warriors (5-8), who moved two games ahead of Senators (3-10) in the demotion race. Lockhart had a game-high 22 points for the second-placed Lakers (11-3).
Earlier, new acquisition Zahir Motara scored 14 points off the bench, including four treys, to help Warrens (8-5) stay in fourth place following a 72-65 win over Colombian Emeralds International Senators.