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Warriors vs. Lakers preview: Extracting meaning from a meaningless game

The Warriors face the Lakers tonight. Even #BeatLA won’t add much meaning to it.

NBA: New Orleans Pelicans at Golden State Warriors Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports

Harvey Araton of The Vertical wondered aloud earlier today whether it was appropriate to diminish the importance of the Golden State Warriors’ 2016-17 regular season.

...speaking of the Golden State Warriors, is it sacrilege to suggest that their star-laden box scores – at least after the realization had set in by December that Kevin Durant was no chemistry disruptor or destroyer – were not quite the marquee attraction despite the construction of the league’s best record?...They are finally about to become the story after a regular season – television eye candy notwithstanding – in which they were actually more of a sidebar.

In other words, let’s be honest: we’ve been waiting for the playoffs for a while and the L.A. Lakers are just in the way.

To extend Araton’s point, tonight’s game is like a footnote within the sidebar that even a teacher’s pet would gloss over as the school year comes to an end — nothing that happens in this game between the Warriors and Lakers really matters. The only reason it might matter is because it’s another opportunity to kick the Lakers while they’re down.

And who doesn’t like to pick on the Lakers fanbase? I love watching the Lakers lose. I would especially love it if the Warriors could beat the Lakers down while playing without key rotation players in a meaningless game.

Warriors resting players before the playoffs

In addition to Matt Barnes and Kevon Looney missing tonight’s game due to injury, Warriors coach Steve Kerr also explained his reasoning for resting Draymond Green and Andre Iguodala as reported by Anthony Slater of the Bay Area News Group.

“Andre just doesn’t make sense to play him,” Kerr said. “He’s in a good groove and could use a day off. And what I’ve found with Draymond is, if the game is meaningless, so is Draymond. Kidding. I’m kidding. But Draymond needs some stakes. He needs the competition, he needs the game to be meaningful. Last night there wasn’t enough competitive fire to bring the most out of Draymond. I’d rather give him the night off and he agrees.”

And really, I wouldn’t mind them resting more players, Adam Silver be damned.

Extracting meaning from a meaningless game

Klay Thompson will be returning for this game against the Lakers so they can extend the Toaster Era streak, which was placed on hold due to Thompson’s absence on Monday.

So maybe you can root for that, but I’ll be rooting for even Thompson to get more rest. Let the young guys try to pull out a win together against Luke Walton & Co.

Thankfully, that might actually be possible!

Will Damian Jones get extended time?

With multiple players already resting and the game ultimately meaningless, seems like there’s a good chance that we see a guy like Damian Jones get some run before he’s affixed to the bench for the playoffs.

Most of all, let’s just chillax this game. Losing to the Lakers in a meaningless game by definition has no meaning. It will not hurt some mythical momentum heading into the playoffs or signal some endemic problems with the team. Just enjoy the fact that we’re heading into the playoffs, which we’ve all been waiting for since Game 7 of last year’s NBA Finals.

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