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In exchange for Lakers, Warriors show why Los Angeles are not their rivals

LOS ANGELES – Warriors-Lakers would be the next big heavyweight matchup of the NBA.

With the three best players in the world, bragging about the rights, two important media markets and enough storylines to wrap up an episode of "The Wire", it was the turn of the party tent on the Christmas Day of the competition and MLK Jr. . Day. The only thing that kept Warriors-Lakers from becoming a rivalry was a competitive balance.

Golden State has contributed to the hype, but Los Angeles needs at least another year or two. In their 108-90 route from the Lakers on Thursday evening at Staples Center, the Warriors showed that they were staying in a different class, bombing a cast of spare parts, so convincing that all suspense had been eradicated at the start of the second quarter.

"It was entertaining – not perfect, but entertaining," said Steve Kerr, Warriors head coach, about the terrible start of his team.

Friday's game

Who: Cleveland (19-60) in Warriors (54-24)

When: 7.30 p.m.

TV / Radio: NBCSBA / 95.7

However, the Lakers did not necessarily try to win. Although the few players who were suitable cut a 27-point first quarter hole to halftime to 18, their leadership made sure they had little chance against Golden State.

With another week to go in the regular season, the Lakers are competing for lottery chances, choosing LeBron James (groin), Brandon Ingram (shoulder), Lonzo Ball (ankle) and Josh Hart (knee) the rest sit down from the road. Kyle Kuzma (ankle) missed his third consecutive game and left Los Angeles without his three top scorers.

Meanwhile, the only key Rotation players for Golden State were missing older statesmen Shaun Livingston (rest) and Andre Iguodala (toe). Two nights away from their 14-point win over Denver, the Warriors strengthened their hold on number 1 of the Western Conference, leaving little doubt about a blitz of 39-12, first quarter.

In those 12 minutes, Kevin Durant (11 of his 15 points) was almost outscored throughout the Lakers selection. Los Angeles, which started rookie Moritz Wagner and two-way contract player Alex Caruso, seemed annoyed by Golden State & # 39; s barrage of switches and shot 6-for-29 (20.7 percent) off the field (0-for-10 of 3-point range).

The Lakers defeated the Warriors 78-69 in the last three quarters, but it hardly mattered. In just 24 minutes, DeMarcus Cousins ​​continued to show flashes of dominance, with 21 points, 10 rebounds and two steals. Four nights after scoring 21 points against the Hornets, Quinn Cook chipped in 18 points off the bench at 8-for-13 shooting.

None of Golden State & # 39; s All-Stars had to carry a heavy offensive charge. In his first game since the news that he now wears contact lenses, Stephen Curry reduced a 3-for-14 (1-for-9 from deep) shooting night with 10 rebounds and 7 assists.

The most memorable assist came midway through the first quarter when he stopped at the top of the opponent's key and read through a behind-the-back pass to Durant, who caught it at the top of the Warriors' bow, grabbed a dribble and threw it in a dunk.

"I just tried to give KD the ball as I could," said Curry.

Golden State, which has the tiebreak against Denver, moved two games on the Nuggets with four more regular season games. Since last Friday's overtime loss in Minnesota, the Warriors have defeated Charlotte, Denver and the Lakers with a combination of 79 points.

What about the Lakers? Since their 127-101 victory over the Warriors on Christmas Day, they are 15-30, including three losses to Golden State with a combined 51 points.

The biggest question about the Lakers is whether they can unite James this summer with a big player or two.

During the second quarter of time, TV's & Durant and James caught on the sidelines with their hands in front of their mouths. Many took the social media to speculate that James Durant was trying to convince, who could become a free agent in July to join him in Los Angeles.

"Everyone wants to know what we are talking about," Durant said. "It wasn't even that serious. We were just laughing and joking, catching up. & # 39;

Connor Letourneau is a writer of the San Chronicle staff. Email: cletourneau@sfchronicle.com Twitter: @Con_Chron


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