LOS ANGELES(AP) — It’s been almost four years since the Golden State Warriors beat the Lakers in Los Angeles. Without talented guard Stephen Curry, their chances of ending that drought could be slimmer.
A nagging ankle injury could keep one of the Warriors’ top scorers on the bench when they look to avoid a seventh consecutive road loss to the Lakers on Friday night.
Golden State (2-4) fell 101-95 at San Antonio on Wednesday, its third straight defeat. The Warriors biggest loss, however, might have come when Curry re-aggravated his sprained left ankle in the second half. The team’s third-leading scorer at 15.2 points per game, Curry had 20, shot 7 of 11 and added eight assists in 30 minutes before leaving.
“It’s been one of those things that’s been chronic with me,” the third-year guard said. “I’ve been trying to nip it in the bud, but it seems to be coming back. Hopefully it won’t last too long because it’s frustrating not to be able to be out there with my teammates.”
Though the Warriors signed diminutive veteran Nate Robinson this week to provide depth at guard, Curry’s backcourt mate Monta Ellis likely will carry the scoring load as Golden State tries to beat the Lakers (4-4) at Staples Center for the first time since a 115-111 win March 23, 2008.
The Warriors have lost six straight road games to the Lakers since then, and 31 of the last 34 meetings between these teams in Los Angeles.
Ellis had 38 points and seven assists in the loss Wednesday for Golden State, which is averaging just 90.3 points after putting up no fewer than 103.9 per contest in any of the previous five seasons.
“He was incredible and inspiring,” first-year coach Mark Jackson said of Ellis. “I’m proud of his effort and his leadership.”
Ellis has combined for 64 points in the Warriors’ last two games against the Lakers – both at home. However, he had just five while shooting 2 of 10 before leaving with a hip injury in a 117-98 loss at Los Angeles on Nov. 21, 2010, Golden State’s last visit. Ellis had averaged 25.0 points and gone 42 of 84 from the field in his previous four games there.
The Warriors will also need a solid contribution from David Lee, who posted 13 points and 10 boards against the Spurs after missing Monday’s 102-91 loss at Phoenix with food poisoning. Lee had 22 points and 17 rebounds in a 95-87 home win over Los Angeles on April 6 that snapped Golden State’s 12-game overall skid against the Lakers.
Los Angeles has won four straight at home since opening with an 88-87 loss to Chicago at Staples Center on Christmas, but will try to bounce back from Thursday’s 107-96 loss at Western Conference-leading Portland.
Kobe Bryant scored 30 points and Andrew Bynum added 21 and 12 rebounds but the Lakers went 0 for 11 from 3-point range and fell to 0-3 on the road. Los Angeles is shooting just 22.8 percent from beyond the arc this season – third-worst in the NBA.
Despite his injured wrist, Bryant has totaled 67 points in the last two games. He’s averaged 26.8 points during his career against the Warriors.
Bynum has averaged 22.3 points and 15.8 boards in four games since opening the season by serving a four-game suspension stemming from the 2011 playoffs.
“He’s been really aggressive,” teammate Pau Gasol said. “I’m glad to see him with this level of intensity and energy.”
The Lakers are trying to avoid their first losing record through nine games since 2005-06, when they opened 4-5.
Updated January 6, 2012