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Down 2-1, struggling Warriors have ‘got to be more poised’

LOS ANGELES — The Golden State Warriors lost Game 3 of their Western Conference series against the Los Angeles Lakers in a matter of minutes.

After building an 11-point lead through the first quarter and a half, Golden State let it all go in the final five minutes of the second quarter. The Lakers closed the first half on a 30-8 run, and they would score nearly double the number of points the Warriors would have the rest of the game, fueling their 127-97 win on Saturday.

It’s a recipe for defeat that the Warriors have suffered multiple times through the season.

“A lot of games [this season] just slipped through in three bad minutes, six-minute stretch. Whatever that is, the whole tone of the game changes,” Warriors guard Stephen Curry said. “It’s not a good feeling when you’re trying to settle into what’s happening in real time. … Last series proved that we can figure it out and overcome something unfortunate. We got to do it again, based on what happened tonight.”

Much of what hurt the Warriors on Saturday also caused their loss in Game 1.

The Warriors let the Lakers attempt 37 free throws to their 17. They committed 19 turnovers for 27 points. They shot 13-of-44 from 3.

After coming off a blowout win of their own in Game 2, Golden State expected adjustments from Los Angeles. But it wasn’t anything the Lakers did that caused their issues. Many of them were self-inflicted.

“The game stopped when we sent them to the free throw line,” Draymond Green said.

“It’s more just connecting the game, which has been an issue for us,” Curry said. “We had things rolling in the first half. As soon as the game turned, we played right into their hands. I’m not really worried about the adjustments, more so just connecting the game.”

When the Lakers went on their run in the second quarter, Warriors coach Steve Kerr said his team lost its composure — playing into the Lakers’ hands, as Curry said.

Moses Moody got called for a flagrant foul 1 with five minutes left in the first half, resulting in two technical free throws. Two minutes later, JaMychal Green was slapped with a technical foul. Three minutes later, Draymond Green picked up his own tech. Fourteen seconds later — with two seconds left in the half — Donte DiVincenzo was called for a three-second violation, resulting in one more technical foul.

“You got to be more poised than we were,” Kerr said. “… It’s easier in a regular season to respond to a tough stretch. Everything is magnified in the playoffs. So a tough stretch can turn into a longer stretch … we let our foot off the gas and the Lakers took advantage of that.”

When asked how to keep poise and composure amid a potentially game-changing spiral, Warriors guard Klay Thompson said, “Be mentally tougher. Come together as a team rather than splinter.”

Despite being down in the series, the Warriors aren’t panicking. Two of the three games played have been decided by more than 20 points, and with two teams that play such different styles, the Warriors have faith they can assert their dominance on the Lakers once again.

“At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter if you win by 30 or lose by 30. It’s still 2-1,” Thompson said. “We have to remind ourselves that we’ve got another chance to even the series and then go home. As ugly as this was tonight, we have another opportunity on Monday. There’s no point to dwell on it … we’ve been through more adversity than a 2-1 deficit. We know how to respond.”

This story originally appeared on ESPN

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