Los Angeles Lakers (8-7) at Golden State Warriors (12-2)
Date: Wednesday November 23, 2016
Location: Oracle Arena, Oakland, CA
Time: 7:30pm PST
TV: CSN Bay Area, League Pass Radio: 95.7 THE GAME
Blog Buddy: Silver Screen and Roll
Fresh off a four game sweep on the road, the 12-2 Golden State Warriors are back at home and looking to give a harsh welcome to the 7-7 Los Angeles Lakers. The Warriors will certainly be on point against the team that has dealt them one of their two losses of the season; they’ve had a day of rest and are starting to show extended flashes of the dominance we all expected from them coming into the season.
It will be a tall order for the young Lakers and coach Luke Walton to get a win, coming into Oracle on the second game of a back to back and facing a Warriors team that is currently clicking. Maybe the road trip was full of “cupcake games” but no matter the opponents’ situation, it was good to see the team extend their win streak to eight games.
This is going to be a weird week, as the Warriors and Lakers will play Wednesday and Friday sandwich games around Thanksgiving for some reason. That will be three games against the Lakers in our first 16 games.
Let’s be honest: this team’s #1 ranked offense is pretty ridiculous. Sure, we have three players scoring 20 or more points (Durant 26.9, Curry 26.1, Thompson 20.4 (squeaking in)), but I want to focus on the other end of the court for this preview.
In one of the unheralded story lines of the season, Draymond Green is leading the team in basically every key category besides points, and may be our most valuable player right now. Look at his per game stat line: 9.1 rebounds, 6.9 assists, 2.2 steals, 1.7 blocks..oh, and he’s the fourth leading scorer behind the splash brothers at 10.8 points per game.
Our offense is just silly, but Draymond really is making a very solid case for defensive player of the year. As ESPN noted, he is top 10 in the league right now in blocks and steals…this could really happen for him this year!
Unfortunately, this team tends to coast across the finish line; if you look at our defense when it matters most, you can see that this team may be even better than they look right now.
The Warriors' D efficiency is 20th overall, but actually 10th when it's not garbage time. Dead last in garbage time (21 pts worse than avg).— Dean Oliver (@DeanO_Lytics) November 21, 2016
These young Lakers are playing .500 basketball under Luke Walton and currently hold the 8th seed in the West. Walton has made no secret that he is basically trying to steal everything in Steve Kerr’s book. You can see it in the way the Lakers move that ball and play unselfishly for the best shots, leading them to the 8th ranked offense.
D'Angelo Russell has missed two games with a knee injury, and appears to be a game time decision against OKC. Lakers fans are probably more than satisfied with how their season has gone so far. Even beyond the .500 record, rather than languishing in the basement of the West for years and years, it sure does look like this young core is ready to shine after the departure of the ball-dominant Kobe Byrant.
Last time out they managed to catch the Warriors flat footed, and it will be a real test for this young team to come back and face an angered Warriors squad. It’s not going to help that they are coming in on the second game of a back to back and have literally the worst bench in the NBA (Warriors bench is ranked #6 by the way).
The Warriors committed too many turnovers, got out rebounded, and just generally out hustled…It was ugly, and theWarriors lost by 20. Klay Thompson went 4 for 18 from the floor, Stephen Curry was 5 of 18, and the pair combined for a total of 23 points between them.
It wasn’t just the Warriors though; Lou Williams and Julius Randle burned us for 20 points apiece, and the athletic young Lakers team had more than one memorable power dunk all over the Warriors proverbial faces. The only reason this loss didn’t feel worse was because the Spurs creamed us by 29.
The Warriors are definitely the grudge-holding types. Lakers players would bet on the Dubs if they could for this game. The Lakers defensive rating is 26th and the Warriors offense should be able to overwhelm them, and don’t count on Curry and Thompson to be off again. These may not be the games by which we measure the Warriors championship aspirations, but each one of these steps gets us closer to finding out.
Warriors 126, Lakers 112