With LeBron James out, Stephen Curry and Warriors power past Lakers

Nearly a year ago, Golden State coach Steve Kerr sat in a back room in Los Angeles before playing the Lakers and called the playoff race “a sprint to the finish.”

The possibility of avoiding the play-in tournament and the fear of slipping entirely out of the top 10 existed for Kerr’s Warriors and the Lakers then just like it does for his team and the Lakers now, the two meeting for the first game out of the All-Star break in consecutive years.

Things don’t feel quite as frantic as they did a year ago — the Lakers are not five games under .500 at the break like they were then. But make no mistake, there’s going to be a sprint, especially with the Lakers and the Warriors both eyeing the No. 6 seed from the back-end of the play-in picture.

And if this is going to be a race, the Lakers didn’t look great out of the blocks, struggling to contain Stephen Curry while taking on the Warriors without LeBron James in a 128-110 loss.

James, who missed his second straight game (with a brief cameo Sunday at the All-Star Game), is “day to day” after receiving an ankle treatment designed to keep him as healthy as possible as the Lakers make their postseason push.

The team also didn’t get Cam Reddish back, as his ramp-up process from a knee injury continues. He worked with trainers on the court during the Lakers’ Thursday morning shootaround.

The Lakers also were dealing with a handful of illnesses coming out of the All-Star break, with Austin Reaves recovering from a sickness while Anthony Davis lost his voice.

Short-handed and forced to play smaller than they would’ve liked, the Lakers didn’t put up significant resistance for long, Curry scoring 25 points in the first half, rookie Trayce Jackson-Davis dominated his minutes against the Lakers’ second unit and the Warriors managed to close better than the Lakers all game — scoring in the final 1.5 seconds of each of the first three quarters.

The Lakers were outscored by 18 at the three-point line, beaten on the glass and badly lost the bench points battle.

Davis led the Lakers with 27 points and 15 rebounds before the team pulled the plug midway through the fourth ahead of Friday’s game at home with San Antonio.

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