While the season opener in Milwaukee was a no-contest, the second game on opening night between Los Angeles Lakers and Golden State Warriors lived up to the billing and then some.
The Stephen Curry-led visiting Warriors came into STAPLES Center and pulled off an upset against the star-studded hosts.
Registering the 121-114 victory, the Warriors ensured the new-look Lakers, who were coming off a 0-6 preseason, remained winless.
Warriors' Strength in Numbers beats top-heavy Lakers
Golden State had as many as six players in double figures, half of which came off the bench.
"It feels like five or six years ago when we just have guys up and down the roster who can play," Warriors head coach Steve Kerr said postgame. "I mean, we have guys who are injured who can play. I think we're really deep."
Barring Gary Payton II, who only played seven seconds, every Warriors player that checked into the game put their name on their scoresheet. Their depth paid dividends as the bench strength played a huge role in this one with the Warriors reserves outscoring their counterparts 55-29
On the flip side, for the Lakers, LeBron James (34) and Anthony Davis (33) combined for 67 points but no other player finished in double figures.
Stephen Curry records eighth career triple-double
The Warriors were led by Stephen Curry, who didn't have the greatest shooting night by his lofty standards as he only made five of his 21 field goal attempts.
However, the former two-time MVP did a little bit of everything else as he stuffed the stat sheet in 36 minutes of action.
🔥 8th career triple-double for Steph 🔥@StephenCurry30 (21 PTS, 10 REB, 10 AST, 3 STL) powers the @warriors past LAL to open the season! #KiaTipOff21 pic.twitter.com/x9eLCmjJxQ- NBA (@NBA) October 20, 2021
This was Curry's first triple-double in over five years with the previous one coming on Jan. 22, 2016 in Indiana (39 points, 12 assists, 10 rebounds).
It's also only the second triple-double in a season opener in franchise history, and the first since Andy Phillip (21p/11r/ 10a) on Nov. 1, 1952 in the Philadelphia Warriors' OT win over the Syracuse Nationals.
Jordan Poole ignites game-changing run
Golden State turned this game around in the second half, specifically a six minute stretch when they outscored the Lakers 22-5. The turnaround began with their 7-0 run to close the third quarter, and then over the first four minutes of the fourth, they went on a 15-5 run.
Jordan Poole, who scored 16 of his 20 points in the second half, scored (7) or assisted on 12 of the Warriors' points in the 15-5 run.
Jordan Poole. Buckets.- Golden State Warriors (@warriors) October 20, 2021
📺 @NBAonTNT pic.twitter.com/DTTQb0WDqp
The Warriors rode that stretch and remained in front with some beautiful basketball. Take a look at this ball movement late in the fourth quarter.
BUCKETS. pic.twitter.com/pNHJHN6WD2- Golden State Warriors (@warriors) October 20, 2021
The bench trio of Nemanja Bjelica (15), Andre Iguodala (12) and Damion Lee (14) combined for 42 points on 14-of-24 shooting from the field.
In fact, Bjelica seemed like the game-changer in this contest as he also recorded 11 rebounds, four assists and a game-high plus-minus of +20 in just 25 minutes of action.
Rough Lakers debut for Russell Westbrook
While LeBron (11 rebounds, five assists) and AD (11 rebounds, two assists, two blocks) had note-worthy games, it was a tough Lakers debut for hometown boy Russell Westbrook.
The team's offseason acquisition played 35 minutes and only finished with eight points, five rebounds and four assists. More importantly, he turned the ball over four times and only shot 4-of-13 from the field.
Despite those unusually low numbers, Lakers head coach Frank Vogel preached patience in his postgame comment on Westbrook.
"Him more than anybody, it's going to be an adjustment period. He's coming into our culture, our system. He's the new guy. He's got to find his way."
In a game with seven lead changes and five ties, with no team leading by more than 12, Westbrook's recorded a plus-minus of -23.
It's a quick turnaround for the Warriors, who head back home to host the LA Clippers on Thursday night ET after just one day off.
On the other hand, the Lakers have two days off but it doesn't get any easier with their next opponent as they next host the reigning West champions in the Phoenix Suns on Friday night ET.
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